THINGS are heating up in the West Coast Classic and Round 4 in the women’s competition saw two statement wins for the Rockingham Flames while the Joondalup Wolves kept on winning and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns capped a tough weekend for Lakeside.
We are now four rounds down in the West Coast Classic and with each team playing just 11 matches given they play one another once apiece across nine weeks so the race for a top four finals position is rising all the time.
The Round 4 action saw the Rockingham Flames win twice and the Joondalup Wolves to remain the only two remaining undefeated sides with the Lakeside Lightning losing twice and all of a sudden slip to seventh in the standings as a result.
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Perth Redbacks and Perry Lakes Hawks were other teams to win impressively and keep themselves right in the finals race.
Round 4 got underway on Friday night with the Cockburn Cougars beating the East Perth Eagles 66-47 while the Rockingham Flames defeated the Lakeside Lightning 72-54 and the Perth Redbacks prevailed 77-66 against the Willetton Tigers.
Then on Saturday, the Perry Lakes Hawks defeated the South West Slammers 88-52, the Joondalup Wolves downed the Mandurah Magic 80-36, the Rockingham Flames beat the East Perth Eagles 87-70 and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns won over the Lakeside Lightning 58-51.
After four rounds in the West Coast Classic, the Joondalup Wolves (5-0) and Rockingham Flames (4-0) are out on top undefeated to be ahead of the Kalamunda Eastern Suns (3-1) and Warwick Senators (2-1) who currently make up the top four.
Then there is the Perry Lakes Hawks (4-2), Perth Redbacks (4-2), Lakeside Lightning (3-2), Mandurah Magic (2-4), Willetton Tigers (1-4), Cockburn Cougars (1-4), East Perth Eagles (1-5) and South West Slammers (0-5).
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – WOMEN’S ROUND 4
EAST PERTH EAGLES 47 lost to COCKBURN COUGARS 66
The Cockburn Cougars were still hunting their first West Coast Classic win when they travelled to Herb Graham Recreation Centre on Friday night, but they soon changed that with a strong win over the East Perth Eagles.
The Eagles were feeling full of confidence too coming off their first win of the West Coast Classic against the South West Slammers during which Bree Fisher put up 30 points and hit seven triples on her way to being named SBL Shootaround’s Wandering Distillery Player of the Week.
So back on their home floor and East Perth would have liked their chances of a second victory on Friday night against the winless Cougars, and they started in good fashion too to be up 14-10 by quarter-time.
But the Cougars were able to turn things around and over the second and third quarters play their best basketball of the West Coast Classic so far.
Over that 20-minute stretch, Cockburn was able to put up 43 points while holding East Perth to just 20.
It was a stunning run by the Cougars as they scored 20 consecutive points at one stage to end up leading by as much as 24 and then going on to score the 66-47 victory.
Jodee Sontay enjoyed the night against her former club and was instrumental in the win for the Cougars with 12 points, six steals, five assists and two rebounds.
Emma Burke added 10 points and six rebounds for Cockburn, Haylee De Sousa nine points, 11 boards and seven assists, Kirsty Pitcher nine points and two rebounds, Nicole Pitcher eight points and four steals, Tia Morgan seven points and six boards, and Tahlia Fejo seven points and four assists.
Bree Fisher again top-scored for East Perth with 11 points and eight rebounds while again nailing 3/4 from three-point territory.
Eryn Fisher also had a double-double made up of 10 points and 11 rebounds with Jade Gowland contributing seven points and five boards, and Shannon Street six points and five rebounds.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 54 lost to ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 72
The Rockingham Flames haven’t lost a game for a long time and when Tayah Burrows continues to show she’s ready to run the show at WNBL level even before turning 19, there’s plenty for young coach Keegan Crawford to like.
The Flames women remain undefeated in the West Coast Classic after beating the Lakeside Lightning 75-54 at Lakeside Recreation Centre on Friday night on the back of the work running the point by Burrows, and a dominant finish to the contest.
Burrows did play a key role last year in the Flames winning the SBL championship but she was from at her peak coming off a broken arm and bout of glandular fever which had stunted her development for a time.
But now that she has had a good run of health so far in 2020, she has started the West Coast Classic in stunning form as the starting point guard on the Flames and that has come on the back of her signing to be part of the full roster with the Perth Lynx in the WNBL for the 2020/21 campaign.
While she received good help from Christina Boag, Ariana Hetherington and Paris Duffield and then the band of young, inexperienced players, ultimately it was Burrows the difference and she is still yet to even turn 19 years of age.
She finished the night with 26 points, six assists and five rebounds while just playing at another level. Her poise, skill and execution is remarkable to watch, and her aggression to get to the rack on the back of a lightning quick first step was a delight. She hit 12/13 from the foul line.
It was always set to be a tremendous game on Friday night between the Lightning and Flames with the last two SBL championship winners yet to taste defeat in the West Coast Classic.
The Flames led 5-2 early after a Tayah Burrows three-point play but Ash Isenbarger soon took over and gave the Lightning the 13-9 edge by quarter-time.
Lakeside’s lead then grew to 17-9 to start the second quarter and then the lead was nine when Ellyce Ironmonger knocked down a three.
The Lightning went into half-time still leading 34-28 and then the home team responded to Rockingham briefly taking the lead to be up five late in the third period thanks to Courtney Mansfield, and to still lead by one at three quarter-time.
It was then all Rockingham in the fourth quarter and it was at the defensive end they picked things up. Time after time the Flames defender was a step ahead of their Lightning opponent, got into position and while bowled over, earned an offensive foul.
That frustrated the Lightning and they ended up having no answers with the Flames outstanding to improve to 3-0 for the West Coast Classic with 25 points to six for the quarter, and to win 75-54.
On top of the performance of Burrows for the Flames, Paris Duffield had 12 points, four rebounds and three steals, Christina Boag 12 points and six boards, and Ariana Hetherington 10 points, eight boards, three assists and two steals.
But then it’s the young brigade that Crawford is especially excited about with Ashlyn Lee finishing with four points, Chloe Napolitano three, Zahli-Rose Jolly three and Sarah McGowan two to go with five rebounds.
There is still a lot to like with what Lakeside is doing under first-year coach Steve Bezant despite the way the game panned out in the fourth quarter on Friday night.
Ellyce Ironmonger finished with 13 points and six rebounds, Ash Isenbarger 12 points, 14 rebounds and three assists, Courtney Mansfield 11 points, four boards and two assists, Abbie Ironmonger seven points, four assists and four rebounds, and Jae Flynn five points, three boards and three assists.
PERTH REDBACKS 77 defeated WILLETTON TIGERS 66
The West Coast Classic evening on Friday at Belmont Oasis began with the women’s contest and it was the visiting Tigers that made the stronger start after the Redbacks did manage the first six points of the match.
Willetton dominated the rest of the opening quarter from there outscoring Perth 22 points to eight the rest of the first period to go into quarter-time leading 22-14.
Maddie Allen then scored six quick points for the Redbacks to open the second quarter and when Briana Bailey knocked down a three-pointer, scores were all tied.
By half-time, the Redbacks had worked their way to a 34-32 advantage and then it was a dominant third period with the home team piling on 28 points and holding the Tigers to just 13 which proved to be the difference ultimately in the game.
The Redbacks would go on a 13-0 run and lead by as many as 20 points before then withstanding a charge from the Tigers to prevail 77-66 in the finish and stay right in the West Coast Classic finals race.
The Redbacks made getting and going inside a focus which saw them end up outscoring the Tigers inside the paint while also getting to the foul line on 29 occasions where they were able to convert 23.
Jess Jakens continued her sensational form with another 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Redbacks on 4/5 shooting from the floor and 9/10 from the foul line.
Maddie Allen was outstanding as well flirting with a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
Briana Bailey continued her emergence as point guard with 13 points, two rebounds and two assists with Chanah Crugnale scoring 10 points for the Redbacks and Sarah Allen nine.
Brooke Malone added four points and four rebounds, Brooke Rebel four points, Ella Thornton-Elliott three points and Shenae Hartree two to go with three rebounds. Denielle Lipscombe might not have scored but she contributed seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Emma Gandini finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists for Willetton while Taryn Priestly contributed 11 points and three assists, Imogen Ayliffe nine points and six rebounds, Emily Counsel seven points and three boards, and Abbie Martin seven points and two rebounds.
SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 52 lost to PERRY LAKES HAWKS 88
The Perry Lakes Hawks hit the road without coach Deanna Black but with Nat Burton leading the way they were too strong for the remarkably young and small South West Slammers.
The Lady Hawks arrived at Eaton Recreation Centre with their regular head coach taking the weekend off as she juggles pregnancy, coaching and working in a hectic schedule, but her team didn’t let her down.
With Blair Kearsley taking on the head coaching role, the Hawks put the result beyond doubt against the Slammers pretty early and were already up 23-6 by quarter-time.
The Slammers limited the damage in the second quarter but the Hawks still went into half-time leading 40-20.
Perry Lakes put their foot on the gas again in the third quarter amassing 23 points and limiting South West to just 11. The Hawks would end up scoring 15 consecutive points and the final winning margin of 36 points was the largest lead of the contest as they won 88-52.
While the Hawks didn’t hit the three-ball as they would have hoped going 3/15 and left points at the line going 17/28, they dominated the boards with 54 rebounds to 40 while scoring 46 points in the paint to 24 and holding the Slammers to 4/16 shooting from three and to 29 turnovers.
The Slammers didn’t help their own cause either by missing 13 of their 23 free-throw attempts.
Sarah Donovan had another strong game for the Lady Hawks with 13 rebounds, seven rebounds and five steals with Nat Burton adding 12 points, 13 boards and four assists, and Madeleine Dennis 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Bella Green also had 12 points and three rebounds, Millie McCarthy 11 points and two steals, Nikita Martin eight points, six rebounds and four assists, Kate Williams eight points and Annika Renkema seven points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists.
Catherine Waycott again impressed for the Slammers with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals with Courtney Bayliss adding 11 points and six rebounds, and Anita Reca 10 points and five assists despite 12 turnovers.
MANDURAH MAGIC 36 lost to JOONDALUP WOLVES 80
Unfortunately the gap in size, experience and depth between some clubs in the West Coast Classic is showing out at times and one of those occasions was between the Joondalup Wolves and Mandurah Magic.
The Magic were hoping to have Casey Mihovilovich, Carly Boag, Emma Klasztorny and two imports for the SBL season in 2020, but suddenly none of those are available for the West Coast Classic and that makes them remarkably small and young.
While Kelly Bailey, Rachel Halleen and Kasey Miegel are fighting hard to keep them competitive against the odds, when you come up against a stacked line-up like the Lady Wolfpack it becomes a challenge too far.
With Kayla Steindl and Amber Land up front, Nes’eya Williams and Isabelle Miotti sharing the three spot and a back court including Shani Caldwell, Georgia Denehey and Chelsea Belcher, and that’s not even including Alix Hayward or Mikayla Pirini who wasn’t there on Saturday, that’s a Wolves team that would be capable contending for an SBL championship let alone the West Coast Classic.
So it didn’t take long for the Wolves to put their foot down on Saturday night at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
By quarter-time, Joondalup was leading Mandurah 18-8 and by half-time that had become 38-17, and by three quarter-time 58-35. There was no let up with the Wolves putting up another 22 points to 12 in the fourth quarter to end up winning 80-36.
At one stage, the Lady Wolfpack scored 12 straight points and led by as much as 49 points before setting line on the 44-point triumph.
They were on fire from deep hitting 12/22 from three-point land while remarkably they only took six free throws for the whole game despite 51 rebounds to 39, and 34 points in the paint to six.
Kayla Steindl finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocked shots for the Wolves while Nes’eya Williams added 15 points, five assists, two boards and two steals.
Chelsea Belcher also had 13 points for Joondalup while hitting 4/7 from three-point land with Isabelle Miotti contributing 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Georgia Denehey 10 points, four boards and four steals.
Angelina Dimasi top-scored for the Magic with 10 points and four rebounds while Olivia Bassett-Scarfe contributed six points and five boards, Rachel Halleen six points and five rebounds, and Jaide Britton six points and three boards.
ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 87 defeated EAST PERTH EAGLES 70
The Rockingham Flames continued their momentum from Friday night to deliver a hot first quarter at home to the East Perth Eagles on Saturday which was enough to set up the eventual 17-point victory.
The Flames were fresh off a big finish to beat the Lakeside Lightning in a battle of undefeated teams on Friday night, and they continued right where they left off on Saturday at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
After outscoring Lakeside 25 points to six in the fourth quarter on Friday, the Flames then delivered 26 points to 13 in the first quarter at home to East Perth on Saturday.
It was a tremendous opening act from the Flames who put up 13 consecutive points and would lead by as much as 24 points before the Eagles even knew what hit them.
To the credit of East Perth, they did steady and for the rest of the night it was an even contest, but the Eagles just could never close that gap and the Flames would go on to win 87-70 and remain undefeated after four games in the West Coast Classic.
Christina Boag was outstanding for the Flames to lead the way on the night with 21 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and four assists on the back of shooting 9/12 from the floor.
Tayah Burrows backed up her stunning game against Lakeside with the 18-year-old point guard delivering another 19 points, five rebounds four assists and two steals including going 3/3 from three-point land and 6/6 from the foul line.
Paris Duffield put up another 16 points, three rebounds and two steals too for Rockingham with Chloe Napolitano contributing nine points and three assists, and Ariana Hetherington eight points, five boards and three assists.
Gemma Dix top-scored for the Eagles with 13 points including hitting 3/5 from three-point territory.
Emerson Taylor added 12 points and two rebounds for East Perth while Shannon Street had seven points and five assists, and Eryn Fisher seven points and five rebounds.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 58 defeated LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 51
Kalamunda and Lakeside were both attempting to bounce back from their first losses in the West Coast Classic on Saturday night, but it was the Eastern Suns who got what they wanted with the seven-point win.
Kalamunda had won its opening three matches before losing to the Joondalup Wolves last Friday night at HBF Arena while Lakeside had also won its opening three matches before losing at home to the Rockingham Flames on Friday night.
That set the stage for a fascinating match up between two teams who have put themselves in the hunt for a top four finish in this West Coast Classic.
It was the Lightning ready to bounce back strongly from their loss to the Flames opening up a 20-10 advantage by quarter-time, but things underwent a dramatic change in the second period.
The Eastern Suns were able to shut the Lightning down and keep them just to four points for the entire quarter while scoring 20 themselves and that saw them head into half-time leading 30-24.
But Lakeside turned things back around in the third quarter and it was only a one-point lead for Kalamunda heading into the fourth.
However, in front of their home fans and with Jessie Edwards and Jewel Williams proving the difference, the Eastern Suns finished the better to score the 58-51 win and improve to 3-1 on the season while the Lightning slipped to 3-2.
Remarkably both teams struggled the exact same with the three ball going 4/26 apiece at 15 per cent and even though the Lightning won the rebound count 49 to 38, they did have 22 turnovers, missed 14 of their 29 free throws and left plenty of points out on the floor.
Jessie Edwards showed what a valuable addition she will be for the Perth Lynx in the WNBL this upcoming season after she put the Eastern Suns on her back with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Jewel Williams added 16 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals too for the Suns with Denae Civich contributing five points and six boards, and Lizel Buckley five points, four rebounds and two assists.
Ash Isenbarger continued her impressive West Coast Classic for the Lightning with another 19 points and eight rebounds. Mia Jacobs added nine points and four boards, and Kyrah Daniels eight points and nine rebounds.