THE Willetton Tigers and Lakeside Lightning missed chances to enter the top four of the West Coast Classic in Round 7 while the Warwick Senators twice flexed their muscles and the Perth Redbacks took another step towards a finals a berth.
There is now just two rounds of the West Coast Classic regular season remaining before the top four teams take part in the finals weekend and that’s putting extra significance onto every game as the battle intensifies.
Willetton looked on track to enhance their finals credentials when leading Warwick by 12 midway through the third quarter on Friday night, but they couldn’t close the deal and now their finals hopes have taken a big hit.
Lakeside’s top four prospects took a dive too with a surprise loss to East Perth on Friday even though they bounced back 24 hours later while the Goldfields Giants made it four straight to stay just alive, the Joondalup Wolves bounced back to stay in fourth and the Perth Redbacks moved up to third.
Round 7 in the West Coast Classic got underway on Friday night with the Cockburn Cougars defeating the South West Slammers 95-63 with the East Perth Eagles winning a heartstopper 100-98 against the Lakeside Lightning, and the Warwick Senators downing the Willetton Tigers 105-92.
Then on Saturday night, the action got underway with the Perry Lakes Hawks beating the Geraldton Buccaneers 114-77 highlighted by a brilliant debut with 18 points and four threes from Keegan Phillips.
The Warwick Senators also beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 109-69, the Joondalup Wolves defeated the East Perth Eagles 87-54, the Lakeside Lightning bounced back to beat the Mandurah Magic 99-77, and the Perth Redbacks prevailed 112-96 against the Rockingham Flames.
The Goldfields Giants kept their winning form going as well, winning their first road game of the West Coast Classic beating the South West Slammers 79-73.
Then on Sunday, the Goldfields Giants also downed the Mandurah Magic 98-84 and the Rockingham Flames were too good for the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 96-90.
So with two rounds of the West Coast Classic remaining, the Warwick Senators (9-1) sit clear on top with the Perry Lakes Hawks (9-2), Perth Redbacks (8-3) and Joondalup Wolves (7-3) rounding out the top four.
The Lakeside Lightning (7-3) sit just outside in front of the Willetton Tigers (6-4), Goldfields Giants (6-4), Rockingham Flames (6-5), Cockburn Cougars (4-6), Geraldton Buccaneers (3-7), East Perth Eagles (3-8), Kalamunda Eastern Suns (2-9), South West Slammers (2-9) and Mandurah Magic (1-9).
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WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN’S ROUND 7
COCKBURN COUGARS 95 defeated SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 63
The Cockburn Cougars regained the services of superstar Gavin Field and he led them to a 95-63 win against the South West Slammers on Friday night.
The Cougars might have still been without Luke Travers, but they had their three championship winning stars Gavin Field, Jaarod Holmes and Seva Chan all together, and that was enough for them to score a big win over the Slammers at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Cockburn started well on their home floor with 18 points to 10 in the first quarter and then stretching their lead with 22 more points to 18 in the second to head into the half-time break leading 40-28.
Both teams turned up the scoring punch in the third quarter but it was the Cougars extending their lead further with 29 points to 19, and then with another 26 points to 16 in the fourth period it set up the eventual 95-63 victory.
Gavin Field ended up being the major difference between the two teams with the 250-game Cougars great delivering 28 points, nine rebounds, eight steals and six assists on the back of hitting 7/11 from three-point territory.
Kye Chamberlain also had 14 points and six rebounds for Cockburn while Jaarod Holmes contributed 11 points, five boards and four assists, Hayden Bell seven points and four rebounds, and Jacob Polglase seven points and four boards.
Mitch Keller has been one of the great shining lights for the Slammers during the West Coast Classic and he put up another 20 points, five rebounds and two steals on 9/11 shooting against the Cougars.
Brody England also produced 14 points and five rebounds, Leigh Rickwood-Pitt eight points and six boards, and Ashley Ishigami-Sims six points, three steals and two rebounds.
EAST PERTH EAGLES 100 defeated LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 98
The East Perth Eagles have been involved in some of the most exciting matches of the West Coast Classic and that trend continued on Friday night when they hosted the Lakeside Lightning.
It has been a vastly improved yet youthful Eagles team that has turned out for the West Coast Classic, and they have taken part in thriller after thriller so far.
East Perth opened up the West Coast Classic with a stunning comeback win over the Eastern Suns before losing a tight one to Geraldton and again losing narrowly to the Magic a week later.
East Perth then went on to lose a high-scoring close battle with the Hawks last week so they have been used to close contests and Friday night at Herb Graham Recreation Centre against the Lightning was no different.
Little separated the two teams the entire game with Lakeside leading by a point at the end of the first quarter and the Lightning then extend their advantage narrow to end up leading 46-40 by half-time.
East Perth was able to turn things around in the third quarter scoring 26 points to 18 from Lakeside to turn into the fourth term leading 66-64.
The lead then changed throughout the fourth quarter but a pair of triples for East Perth from Shaquille Maharaj helped the home team stay up by five with six minutes remaining.
Neither team then scored for two minutes until Michael Odingo hit from downtown for Lakeside to make it a two-point game.
Yet another triple from Maharaj saw the Eagles up five again, though, with three minutes on the clock before Isaac Grida and Ben Lee brought Lakeside back within one. Lee then hit two free-throws to give the Lightning a one-point lead but Jason Conway responded in kind for East Perth at the line.
Kieran Berry hit one at the stripe to extend East Perth’s lead to two and Ryan Woodbury extended it to four before Byron Pearson drained one from deep for Lakeside.
Isenbarger would go on to hit 1/2 from the free-throw line to tie scores and he missed a potential game-winning three as did Nic Filpo for East Perth as the game went to overtime.
Isenbarger opened the extra period hitting a three for the Lightning and he then made a layup to put his team up five. Thwaites and Joel Offereins answered for East Perth to bring them back within one before Kieran Berry put them up by a point.
Berry hit two free-throws to extend the lead to three and then after Isenbarger again knocked one down from the land of plenty, Berry did the same to keep East Perth up three.
Berry drained two more free-throws and then despite a Nick Palleschi three just before the buzzer, East Perth won 100-98 to put a dent in Lakeside’s finals aspirations.
Shaquille Maharaj delivered a terrific performance for East Perth with 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals on 9/16 shooting from the field and 5/11 from beyond the arc.
Kieran Berry finished with 19 points, seven assists and four rebounds while Chuatweath Reath produced 13 points and three steals, Logan Thwaites 12 points and eight boards, Ryan Woodbury 10 points and six rebounds, and Jason Conway nine points, six boards, four assists and two steals.
Jack Isenbarger put up 26 points for Lakeside on going 6/16 from three-point territory on a night where the Lightning jacked up 61 threes. They did make 20 of them so shot at a good enough percentage but they only took 32 shots in the arc where they made 13.
Ben Lee made his first appearance of the West Coast Classic to shoot 6/8 from long-range for 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Nick Palleschi added 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, and Byron Pearson 11 points, four boards, three assists and two steals.
WILLETTON TIGERS 92 lost to WARWICK SENATORS 105
Damien Scott was putting on a clinic and appeared on track to enshrine the Willetton Tigers as the hottest team in the West Coast Classic, but the Warwick Senators turned things around in stunning fashion to score an eighth win in-a-row.
With both teams in such good form and the Senators trying to maintain top spot with an eighth straight win and the Tigers attempting to win a fifth in-a-row to break into the top four, it was a hotly anticipated contest.
It attracted a star-studded crowd too headlined by Perth Wildcats superstar Bryce Cotton with Rhys Vague, Jacob Chance, Vince Kelley, Adrian Majstrovich, Austin Bruton, Alan Black and Deanna Black among those spotted on the evening at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
They were treated to a tremendous contest too with Damien Scott driving hard to the basket on the first two possessions for Willetton and drawing two fouls on Corban Wroe in his first game back from a hamstring injury for Warwick.
Scott then lifted the Tigers to a 6-2 opening to the game but it was Andrew Black’s triple heading towards quarter-time that saw Willetton work their way on top again. Scott then converted an and-one to help Willetton lead by two after one.
Wroe returned to start the second quarter and immediately scored for the Senators before turning the ball over and then finding Caleb Davis for a triple before another turnover, then another foul and returning to the bench for the rest of the half in a brief yet eventful return.
Davis nailed another three to give the Senators a five-point lead and then he responded to a triple from Black with yet another from downtown to keep the visitors up five midway through the second term.
Cody Ellis hit another from deep to stretch the Senators lead to eight but Black brought it back three soon after and then put the Tigers in front with a jumper.
From there the Tigers were up one by half-time with it all to play for.
Scott and Ellis traded three-pointers to open the second half for their teams before a 10-0 Willetton run put the home team up nine. That became 10 with a three-point play from Scott as he charged hard at the basket and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk was called for the block.
Then on the subsequent possession Scott grabbed an errant pass, dished off to Lewis Thomas for the wide open dunk and the Tigers had all the moment and a 12-point lead.
Senators coach Mike Ellis didn’t call a timeout, instead trusted his group to get themselves out of trouble and they did starting with a brilliant flick pass from Cody Ellis to Justin King straight after that slam from Thomas.
Ellis then drained a triple himself and King did similarly soon after and in the blink of an eye it was a one-point game, and the Senators head weathered the storm and went into three quarter-time leading by five.
The Senators then continued on with it in the fourth quarter with Wroe nailing two threes in no time to make it a double-digit lead for the visitors.
They retained control from there to win 105-92 and remain in top spot while Willetton’s finals aspirations took a hit despite once again the amount of encouraging signs they continue to show.
It might not have been the compete 40-minute performance from the Senators that Ellis was after, but his team did end the night getting some big number games from some of his star players.
Cody Ellis was brilliant for the Senators with 25 points, eight steals, six assists and four rebounds while shooting 10/19 from the floor and 5/12 from three-point land.
Justin King added 23 points, eight rebounds and eight assists too for Warwick while connecting on 3/5 from three-point range with Caleb Davis putting up 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists while also going 5/12 from downtown.
Corban Wroe was limited to 20 minutes on his return from a hamstring injury thanks to foul trouble but still contributed 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Wani Swaka Lo Buluk also had eight points and six assists, and Ash Litterick seven points and four rebounds for Warwick.
Despite the loss, there was a lot to like from what Willetton delivered and the way coach Stephen Black has pulled this group together to be playing during the West Coast Classic.
Damien Scott was brilliant again with 34 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists on shooting 13/20 from the field for the game.
Lewis Thomas added 12 points and nine rebounds for Willetton, Andrew Black 15 points, eight assists and six boards, Hayden Noordhoek 10 points and four rebounds, and Connor Mincherton eight points and four assists.
GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 77 lost to PERRY LAKES HAWKS 114
It’s never easy to go up to Geraldton to knock off the Buccaneers but the deep Perry Lakes Hawks had seven players score in double-figures on the way to an eventual 37-point road victory.
The Buccs had found some good form in recent weeks at Active West Stadium with wins against the Magic and Cougars, but the Hawks arrived in Geraldton on a mission on Saturday to move closer to locking in a top two position in the West Coast Classic.
Perry Lakes made an impressive start putting up 26 points in the first quarter to already hold a 15-point lead by quarter-time.
The Hawks continued that on the rest of the night too and scored 33 points in the second quarter to head into the half-time break leading 59-40.
Perry Lakes produced another 24 points to 18 in the third term, and then 31 to 19 in the fourth to end up winning 114-77 and improve to a 9-2 record with games against Kalamunda and Cockburn to finish.
Not only did Perry Lakes finish with seven players scoring in double-figures, but they had 10 players score at least four points and all 12 players hit the court for at least seven minutes on the night.
And it was a debutant who top-scored with Keegan Phillips delivering a standout performance with 18 points, three rebounds, three assists and two seals including going 4/5 from downtown.
Ryan Smith added 18 points on 4/7 from deep too with Cooper Hamilton finishing with 17 points on 3/6 from downtown.
Ben Purser also had 13 points and nine assists, Matthew Leary 12 points, four rebounds and three assists, Mitch Clarke 11 points and five assists, and Harry Imison 10 points.
Aaron Ralph continued his terrific West Coast Classic for the Buccs with another 24 points and four rebounds while hitting 5/11 from three-point land.
Brayden Inger also put up 16 points, six rebounds and five assists, Xavier Shaw 13 points and Johny Narkle 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
WARWICK SENATORS 109 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 69
The Warwick Senators continue to firm as the favourites to take out the West Coast Classic after another 40-point victory against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns on Saturday night.
The Senators were feeling good from their strong finish on Friday night to beat the Tigers at Willetton, and kept that going at Warwick Stadium on Saturday against the Eastern Suns.
While Corban Wroe and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk didn’t suit up for the Senators after sharing the point guard duties the previous night, Warwick went big in the starting line-up and it worked as they had opened up a 28-23 advantage by quarter-time.
The Senators then put their foot down in the second quarter with 30 points to 14 from Kalamunda to open up a match-winning advantage of 58-37 by the half-time break.
There was no let up from the Senators either as they piled on another 32 points to 15 in the fourth quarter to come away with the 109-69 win and improve to an 9-1 record in the West Coast Classic to have won nine games straight and sit in top spot with two rounds to go.
The 40-point win for the Senators was largely on the back of how dominant they were in winning the possession game. For the night, they took 32 more shots than the Eastern Suns and that was on the back of collecting 13 extra rebounds and forcing their opponents into 28 turnovers.
While the Senators did go 9/24 from three-point territory, it was inside where they dominated with 66 points in the paint to just 20 from the Suns.
Justin King ended up top-scoring for Warwick with 24 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals while Caleb Davis finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Ethan Elliott continued his stunning progression as a recently turned 16-year-old with another 15 points and seven rebounds including going 3/4 from three-point territory.
Cody Ellis also had 11 points and nine assists for the Senators, Jay Thwaites 10 points, four rebounds and four steals, Ash Litterick 10 points, three boards, two assists and two blocks, Jarrod Hodge seven points and Tom Witts seven points and three rebounds.
Carl Aylett put up 13 points including 3/4 shooting from beyond the arc for Kalamunda while Cooper Lowe contributed 13 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Brendan Dinardo 11 points, three steals, three assists and two boards.
JOONDALUP WOLVES 87 defeated EAST PERTH EAGLES 54
The Joondalup Wolves maintained their place in the top four of the West Coast Classic with an 87-54 victory against the East Perth Eagles at HBF Arena on Saturday night.
The Wolfpack needed to bounce back from a loss in Rockingham to the Flames the previous night and having lost three of their previous five matches having won the opening four in the West Coast Classic.
But getting over the Eagles wasn’t going to be an easy task with East Perth off the high of beating the Lightning in overtime the previous night.
However, on their home floor at HBF Arena the Wolves got on top early and never let with the defensive effort of 449-game dual championship winning great Seb Salinas on the emerging Shaquille Maharaj instrumental in the eventual 43-point win.
The Wolves were up by six at quarter-time and then turned on some inspired basketball in the second quarter with 32 points to 14 to head into the change rooms at half-time leading 49-25.
It was a tired East Perth team from the night before and a hungry and fresh Wolves who were playing their first game since losing to Rockingham the previous Saturday night.
The Wolfpack finished off the job outscoring East Perth 38 points to 29 again in the second half to end up winning 87-54 to improve to 7-3 record in the West Coast Classic and to now return to the top four with two rounds remaining.
Lochlan Cummings finished with 17 points and four assists for Joondalup while Reece Maxwell also delivered 17 points, five boards, two assists and two steals while hitting all three of his three-point attempts.
Rob Huntington added 14 points and six rebounds and Seb Salinas eight points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals to go with his defence while limited Shaquille Maharaj to five points on 2/7 shooting.
Kieran Berry top-scored for the Eagles with 11 points and three rebounds with Jason Conway contributing 10 points and five boards, and Nic Filpo eight points and three rebounds.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 99 defeated MANDURAH MAGIC 77
The Lakeside Lightning did well to put behind them Friday night’s heart stopping loss to the East Perth Eagles by beating the Mandurah Magic 99-77 on their home floor on Saturday.
The Lightning would have been feeling stunned after their overtime loss to East Perth on Friday night, but they returned to Lakeside Recreation Centre on Saturday night and delivered an impressive showing to keep them right in the finals hunt.
The Lightning regained the services of Jay Bowie for the game against the Magic while still missing Andrew Ferguson, Corey Shervill and Rowan Mackenzie with Josh Davey sitting it out as well.
But Lakeside with last night’s result still blaring in their ears came out on fire to start the game and put up 33 points to blow the Magic away early on.
The Magic did well to stem the tide over the next two quarters but Lakeside then finished off the job with 25 points to 10 in the fourth quarter to end up winning 99-77 and to improve to 7-3 in the West Coast Classic to be knocking on the door again of the top four.
Lakeside once again jacked up 49 three-point attempts and hit 18 of them to go at 36 per cent with Michael Vigor hitting 5/10 from beyond the arc, Ben Lee 4/8, Jack Isenbarger 4/14 and Jay Bowie 3/7.
Vigor finished the night with 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Lightning while Isenbarger added 22 points and eight assists, Lee 18 points and three rebounds, and Bowie 17 points, six boards and five assists.
Josh Hunt put up 21 points and four rebounds for Mandurah while Aaron Kearing contributed 14 points and nine boards, Tom Atkinson 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Riley Parker nine points and five assists.
ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 96 lost to PERTH REDBACKS 112
The Perth Redbacks maintained their hot form in the West Coast Classic and took another step towards locking in a finals berth by beating the Rockingham Flames on the road on Saturday evening.
The Flames and Redbacks both came into the game at Mike Barnett Sports Complex knowing they needed a win to stay in the finals hunt in the West Coast Classic setting the stage for a dynamic contest given the talent involved.
Rockingham had kept itself an outside chance of reaching the top four with the upset win the previous week against the Joondalup Wolves on the back of 45 points from Jackson Hussey.
But the Redbacks were in hot form too having won five of the last six matches with the production and athleticism of Marshall Nelson, Tevin Jackson and Caleb White thriving under the leadership and poise of SBL all-time assists leader Joel Wagner.
Knowing they needed to keep winning to hold on to their place in the top four, the Redbacks made a terrific start on the road and put up 35 points to 22 in the first quarter which would prove to be a match-winning advantage.
Try as they might the rest of the way, the Flames could never quite close the gap with the Redbacks still leading by 23 points at half-time, 22 at three quarter-time and going on to win the game 112-96.
The result improves the Redbacks to an 8-3 record on the season in the West Coast Classic to sit in third position with road games against the Goldfields Giants and Lakeside Lightning to go.
Marshall Nelson’s match up with the back court of the Flames with Jackson Hussey and Ryan Godfrey was always going to be fascinating, and he delivered big time for the Redbacks with 32 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Tevin Jackson also went ever so close to a triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, four steals and two blocked shots while Dennis Tawhiti finished with 10 points, three boards and two steals.
Joel Wagner also had nine points and seven assists, Caleb White nine points and four rebounds, and Neema Kazemi nine points.
There were plenty more contributors for the Redbacks too on the night with Ezra Nikora adding six points, Jordan Herbert four points, Ethan Vlahov four points and four rebounds, Michael Riley three points and four boards, Kyden Edman two points and Dylan Vilardi two points and two rebounds.
Jackson Hussey still had another 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Flames on 6/10 shooting and 10/12 from the free-throw line.
Justin Beard put up 18 points and three rebounds for Rockingham, Travis Durnin 17 points, Callum Beard 10 points and 12 boards, Brendan Redhead 10 points and Ryan Godfrey nine points and three rebounds.
SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 73 lost to GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 79
The Goldfields Giants scored their first road win of the West Coast Classic to keep their hot form going but they weren’t handed anything in a title battle with the South West Slammers.
The Giants had put themselves in the finals race in the West Coast Classic thanks to some imposing form at home in Kalgoorlie where they have beaten the Suns, Flames, Wolves and Lightning, but they had to win some road games and that started on Saturday night.
The Giants made the trip down to Eaton Recreation Centre searching for their first away win and it was never going to be easy against a Slammers team who had beaten the Eastern Suns on the road only seven days earlier.
Goldfields did start impressively with 28 points to 20 in the first quarter, but the Slammers responded with 21 points to 13 of their own in the second term for scores to be all square by half-time.
The Slammers then took a one-point edge into three quarter-time and then stretched their lead to five early in the fourth with a triple to Leigh Rickwood-Pitt.
A couple of free-throws to Rhys Barrett and the Slammers soon led by six and still by four with five minutes remaining after Mitch Keller scored inside.
But the Giants simply had too much to play for and Damon Ballantyne and Mayo Malek hit big shots to tie scores up with just over three minutes on the clock.
Majier Garang then hit from deep to give Goldfields the lead and then his Twin Towers partner Malek also nailed a three to put them up five, and from there the Giants held on for the crucial 79-73 win away from home.
Mayo Malek delivered 28 points and six rebounds for Goldfields on 12/19 shooting with Majier Garang adding 14 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocked shots.
Damon Ballantyne added 17 points and five rebounds with Riley Duncan also producing nine points and two steals, and Jerome Reid four points, five boards and four assists.
Mitch Keller was admirable again for the Slammers with 19 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals while Rhys Barrett had 14 points and two assists, Leigh Rickwood-Pitt nine points and three steals, and Ashley Ishigami-Sims eight points and three steals.
MANDURAH MAGIC 84 lost to GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 98
The Goldfields Giants and Mandurah Magic both had a short turnaround from the night before to play at midday on Sunday, and it was the visitors from Kalgoorlie that kept their winning form going.
The Magic had lost at Lakeside to the Lightning the previous evening while the Giants were coming off their first road victory of the West Coast Classic against the Slammers.
Goldfields knew on arrival at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre that they just had to keep winning to be any chance of still playing finals so they could afford no slip up against the Magic.
And the Giants again started impressively with 29 points to 20 in the first quarter. They extended their edge in the second term as well and went into the half-time interval leading 52-38.
Goldfields didn’t let up in the second half either and went on to win the game 98-84 to improve their record to 6-4 with two more home games remaining against the Redbacks and Eagles in Kalgoorlie.
Should the Giants win those two remaining matches they might still be able to end up in the top four and take part in the finals action in the West Coast Classic.
Damon Ballantyne was impressive again as point guard for the Giants with 21 points and eight rebounds while Majier Garang delivered another 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Jerome Reid put up 16 points to go with nine assists and eight rebounds while Riley Duncan ended up with 15 points and four assists, and Mayo Malek 13 points, three assists and two blocked shots.
Josh Hunt was brilliant for the Magic with 28 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals while Tom Atkinson produced another 18 points, 13 boards, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Riley Parker added 15 points and seven assists for Mandurah, and Aaron Kearing 14 points and five rebounds.
KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 90 lost to ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 96
Jackson Hussey continued his MVP level form in the West Coast Classic and got strong support from Ryan Godfrey and Travis Durnin as the Rockingham Flames bounced back from a disappointing Saturday night loss to beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns on Sunday.
Finals might be all but out of the equation for both teams with Rockingham having lost the previous night to the Perth Redbacks while Kalamunda had so far been able to win two of 10 matches including a loss the night before away to the Warwick Senators.
That didn’t stop it from being an entertaining and good quality contest, though, which even included some drama beyond the court with the officials twice stopping the game to eject spectators from the building.
On their home floor though, the Suns got off to a roaring start with three-pointers to Carl Aylett and Corey Easley. Ryan Blanchett then also landed from deep and it was an early 9-4 lead for the home team.
The three-point party continued for Kalamunda with another one from Nathan Drown to keep them up by four midway through the opening period. But Rockingham superstar back court was warming up with Ryan Godfrey hitting a triple and Jackson Hussey taking it to the rack to give the Flames a lead.
Josh Mills and then Godfrey connected on threes before quarter-time to keep Rockingham narrowly in front and then scores were level after one when a half-court prayer for Kalamunda from Cooper Lowe was waved away.
Brendan Dinardo and Travis Vogel traded three-pointers to start the second quarter but the Flames were working their way to a controlling position when Dylan Gilbert and Godfrey also connected from beyond the arc.
Godfrey hit yet another from three-point land to put Rockingham up eight and then Hussey made it a 10-point game which remained at an eight-point advantage for the visitors by half-time.
Rockingham maintained the edge through the third quarter and were still up 75-66 heading into the fourth.
Vogel put Rockingham up 11 to start the fourth quarter but Kalamunda showed signs of life with the next five points started by an Aylett three ball. Travis Durnin responded with a strong finish before Hussey knocked one down from deep and the Flames were up 11.
Hussey then finished the job with two more buckets for Rockingham and the lead was out to 15 before the Flames went on to score the 96-90 victory with late threes from Drown (two) and Aylett bringing that scorer closer by the end.
The Eastern Suns had a brilliant three-point shooting afternoon going 19/36 from beyond the arc with Nathan Drown going 5/7, Carl Aylett 4/8, Corey Easley 4/8, Brendan Dinardo 3/5 and Spencer Alone 2/2.
But it still wasn’t enough for them to overcome the Flames who were led by stunning showings from their gun trio of Jackson Hussey, Ryan Godfrey and Travis Durnin.
Hussey continues to make a strong claim to be MVP of the West Coast Classic with another 36 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals on 12/20 shooting from the floor, 2/3 from three-point land and 10/10 from the charity stripe.
Godfrey had a hot hand knocking down 6/9 from three-point territory for 20 points, three steals and two assists while Durnin put up 16 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and a block.
Luke Roberts added seven points and five assists for the Flames, Josh Mills six points and three assists, and Dylan Gilbert six points and a steal.
It might have been a loss for Kalamunda but it was a game where they did so much right in a lot of areas, especially on the offensive side of things.
Ryan Blanchett finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists, Nathan Drown 15 points and three assists, Carl Aylett 14 points and seven assists, and Brendan Dinardo 14 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Corey Easley also finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, Cooper Lowe 10 points, seven boards and four assists, and Spencer Alone six points and an assist.