THE Warwick Senators remain the hottest team in the Men’s West Coast Classic to remain clear in top spot while the Perry Lakes Hawks and Perth Redbacks consolidated their spots while split weekends leave the Joondalup Wolves and Lakeside Lightning precariously placed.
Round 8 in the West Coast Classic was just the second last round now in the competition meaning that the stakes of every match featuring a team still in the finals went up a notch.
There was some pivotal double-header weekends for contending teams as well and that saw the Warwick Senators win twice more to now be on an 11-game winning streak to be clear on top of the standings.
The Joondalup Wolves and Lakeside Lightning then also had double-headers but split their results to leave the Wolfpack clinging to fourth and the Lightning just on the outside in fifth spot.
The Perry Lakes Hawks and Perth Redbacks also won their lone matches in Round 8 to hold onto their places in the top four while the Willetton Tigers stayed alive with a critical win in Kalgoorlie against the Goldfields Giants.
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Round 8 in the West Coast Classic got underway on Friday night with the Rockingham Flames defeating the Mandurah Magic 119-54 and the Perry Lakes Hawks defeating the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 95-75.
The Warwick Senators also defeated the East Perth Eagles 103-74 and the Lakeside Lightning prevailed on the road 83-62 against the Joondalup Wolves.
Then on Saturday afternoon, the action continued with the Willetton Tigers defeating the Geraldton Buccaneers at Active West Stadium.
The Perth Redbacks also won on the road 75-61 against the Goldfields Giants with the Cockburn Cougars beating the Mandurah Magic 75-63 and the Joondalup Wolves defeating the South West Slammers 79-67.
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So with one round of the West Coast Classic remaining, the Warwick Senators (11-1) are clear on top of the table with the Perry Lakes Hawks (10-2), Perth Redbacks (9-3) and Joondalup Wolves (8-4) rounding out the top four.
The Lakeside Lightning (8-4) are just outside ahead of the Willetton Tigers (7-4), Rockingham Flames (7-5), Goldfields Giants (6-5), Cockburn Cougars (5-6), Geraldton Buccaneers (3-8), East Perth Eagles (3-9), Kalamunda Eastern Suns (2-10), South West Slammers (2-10) and Mandurah Magic (1-11).
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN’S ROUND 8
MANDURAH MAGIC 54 lost to ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 119
The Rockingham Flames kept whatever hopes there is of reaching the West Coast Classic finals still a live with an emphatic win over the Mandurah Magic on Friday night.
Rockingham will still need a lot of things to fall their way to take part in the finals of the West Coast Classic, but all they can do is keep on winning and that’s what they did at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Friday night.
The Flames came out on fire scoring the game’s opening 10 points on the way to a 14-2 start and that set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Rockingham went on to lead 30-16 by quarter-time before they put up another 33 points in the second quarter to just 11 from Mandurah to head into the half-time interval leading 63-27.
It was more of the same in the second half with the Flames continuing to dominate outscoring the Magic 56 points to 27 to end up winning 119-54.
The 65-point victory improves the Flames to a 7-5 record in the West Coast Classic with a game remaining against the Warwick Senators. Should they win that, they could still play finals depending on percentage and if other final round results fall their way.
It was a tremendous all-round performance from the Flames with Ryan Godfrey on fire shooting 9/11 from three-point territory on the way to 27 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
Travis Durnin added 20 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals while Brendan Redhead had the best night of his young career with 18 points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds.
Callum Beard also had 14 points and seven rebounds for Rockingham, Jackson Hussey 12 points and seven assists, and Justin Beard 10 points and six boards.
It was a tough night at home for the Magic with Aaron Kearing ending the game with 16 points and five rebounds, and Connor Richards 11 points and two boards.
PERRY LAKES HAWKS 95 defeated KALAMUNDA EASTERN SUNS 75
The depth of the Perry Lakes Hawks was again on show as they maintained a top two position in the West Coast Classic with a 20-point win over the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Perry Lakes played host to Kalamunda and needed to win to maintain their hold on a top two position to further close in on a home semi-final, but the Eastern Suns are a dangerous opponent and that was on display to open the contest.
The Hawks did score first courtesy of Ben Purser, but then Kalamunda got on a role starting with a Dyson Lowe basket. Brendan Dinardo then knocked down a triple and Carl Aylett hit the next four points and suddenly the Eastern Suns led 9-2 to stun the home side.
As you would expect from a team on track to finish in one of the top two positions in the West Coast Classic, the Hawks responded and by quarter-time had turned it around enough to lead the Suns 17-16.
Perry Lakes was then able to extend that advantage with 25 points to 20 during the second term and that was enough to see them lead 42-36 by the half-time interval.
The Hawks then made sure of the win with a monster third quarter made up of 34 points to 18 and they went on to score the 95-75 victory to improve to a 10-2 record and now they just have to beat Cockburn in their final game to guarantee a top two spot and a home semi-final.
Once again it was the depth of Perry Lakes and the number of contributors they had which was their great strength with Matthew Leary leading the way with 16 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots.
Ben Purser produced another 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals while Ryan Smith had 14 points and six boards, Austin Kisselev 11 points and six rebounds, Cooper Hamilton 10 points and three boards, and Rob Cassir 10 points and three steals.
Carl Aylett finished with 20 points and two assists for Kalamunda with 3/6 shooting from three-point land while Ryan Blanchett contributed 12 points and eight rebounds, Corey Easley 11 points, nine boards, six assists and three blocked shots.
EAST PERTH EAGLES 74 lost to WARWICK SENATORS 103
The Warwick Senators remain the hottest team in the West Coast Classic even minus some key players after a big road win against the East Perth Eagles to open Round 8 on Friday night.
East Perth has proven dangerous opposition throughout the West Coast Classic causing some upsets especially against the Lakeside Lightning while pushing Geraldton, Mandurah and Perry Lakes in games which could have easily gone their way.
So that meant the Senators would have to be on their game on Friday night at Herb Graham Recreation Centre to keep their winning streak going, and maintain top position in the West Coast Classic.
The Senators were then without Wani Swaka Lo Buluk, Jay Thwaites, Cody Ellis and Tom Witts for the game to add an extra level of intrigue before Ash Litterick also went down injury early in the piece.
But there just seems to be no stopping right now and by quarter-time they had opened up a seven-point advantage having scored 28 points.
They produced another 20 points to 13 in the second term to head into the half-time break leading 48-34.
There was no let up from the Senators from there either and they outscored the Eagles another 55 points to 40 in the second half to go on and score the 103-74 victory to maintain top spot in the West Coast Classic.
There were still a host of standout performers from the Senators but perhaps none stood out more than the efforts of 16-year-old point guard Ethan Elliott who played over 34 minutes for 13 points and 10 assists.
Then there was Ngor Manyang who stood up for 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists while Caleb Davis contributed 24 points, 10 boards and six steals, and Justin King 24 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Shaquille Maharaj top-scored once more for East Perth with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals with Kieran Berry contributing 12 points and eight assists, Joel Offereins 10 points and six rebounds, and Logan Thwaites 10 points and four boards.
JOONDALUP WOLVES 62 lost to LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 83
The Lakeside Lightning continued to push the pace and jack up the three-ball on Friday night on the way to what could be a critical 83-62 victory against the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena.
While Joondalup did well to withstand the 15 three-point attempt onslaught from the Lightning in the opening term, Lakeside proved too good the rest of the way and could well be a result that decides which of the two teams plays finals in the West Coast Classic.
With so little separating them coming into the game and with percentage to determine who makes it should teams finish on the same record in this competition, it wasn’t just the win for the Lightning but the fact that they won by 21 points in the finish that will prove crucial.
The win improves the Lightning to an 8-3 record now in the West Coast Classic to move into the top four at the expense of Joondalup.
The Wolves now need to back up on Saturday night and beat the South West Slammers at Eaton Recreation Centre before finishing at home to the Willetton Tigers next Saturday.
But things don’t get any easier for Lakeside on Saturday night at home to the league-leading Warwick Senators before then finishing things off next Saturday night at home as well to the currently third placed Perth Redbacks.
It was only fitting that Lakeside’s first score was a three to Jay Bowie. He hit another soon after and when Ben Lee hit the floor and nailed another, the lightning were up 11-4 which quickly became 13-4 when Nick Palleschi finished the fast break.
But with Reece Maxwell and Lochlan Cummings leading the way, the Wolves did well to work back into the contest and scores were all locked together by quarter-time.
A pair of threes from Jack Isenbarger early in the second term helped the Lightning open up a handy lead, though, and when Bowie hit his fourth of the half, suddenly Lakeside was up by eight.
That became 13 when Michael Vigor hit another from downtown and then Bowie kept it at 12 with his fifth three-point bomb of the half with Lakeside leading 48-36.
The Lightning then continued to pull away in the third quarter with another 22 points to 13 to go on and win 83-62 to not only get the crucial victory but also get a big percentage boost at the same time.
Lakeside ended up shooting 14/45 from three-point territory at 31 per cent but it was the rest of the game that was behind the final result.
The Lightning ended up with 20 more rebounds for the game and that was behind them getting up 20 more shots despite getting to the foul line on 10 fewer occasions.
Jay Bowie finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Lightning on 9/24 shooting from the field and 6/16 from three-point land.
Jack Isenbarger also had 21 points, six rebounds and three assists with 5/9 from beyond the arc while Michael Vigor put up 12 points and four assists the night before celebrating his 30th birthday.
Josh Davey was instrumental in the second shots for Lakeside with 13 rebounds of which seven were offensive while Nick Palleschi was tremendous all-round with five points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Reece Maxwell top-scored for Joondalup with 15 points and three assists with Lochlan Cummings contributing 12 points and six rebounds.
Trian Iliadis finished with eight points and three rebounds, Rob Huntington seven points and four boards, and Archie Hall six points and seven rebounds.
GERALDTON BUCCANEERS 71 lost to WILLETTON TIGERS 77
The Willetton Tigers kept themselves in the finals hunt in the West Coast Classic with a Saturday afternoon road win against the Geraldton Buccaneers.
It was a rare Saturday afternoon game at Active West Stadium between the Buccs and Tigers with Geraldton looking to win in front of their home fans and Willetton needing the win to keep their finals prospects alive.
The Tigers were able to make the fast start on the road as well and delivered a dominant first quarter to lead the Buccs 29-17 by quarter-time.
Geraldton then turned things around in the second period and held Willetton just to nine points and scoring 19 themselves to make it a close contest by half-time with the Tigers up 38-37.
The Buccs then led narrowly heading into the final quarter but the Tigers just had too much to play for with their finals aspirations on the line and they did enough for the 77-71 victory in the end.
It was a dominant showing on the glass from Geraldton who pulled in 56 rebounds to 37 from Willetton but ultimately 21 turnovers from the Buccs and then the Tigers getting to the foul line 22 times to 11 proved to be two of the biggest differences as it panned out.
Damien Scott again top-scored for the Tigers while hitting 5/9 from three-point territory on his way to 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Lewis Thomas also had 12 points and eight rebounds for Willetton with Connor Mincherton contributing nine points and four boards, Dylan Hampson nine points and four rebounds, and Hayden Noordhoek eight points and four boards.
Aaron Ralph delivered another standout performance for the Buccaneers while remaining stranded on 399 SBL games. He had another 26 points, nine rebounds and three assists on hitting 4/9 from downtown.
Brayden Inger was outstanding too for the Buccs with 24 points and five rebounds while Mat Wundenberg pulled in 18 rebounds.
Johny Narkle had a terrific all-round performance too made up of 16 points, nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
SOUTH WEST SLAMMERS 67 lost to JOONDALUP WOLVES 79
The Joondalup Wolves bounced back from the disappointment of Friday night’s loss to retain fourth position with one round to go with a win on the road over the South West Slammers on Saturday.
The Wolfpack struggled on their home floor the previous night losing to the Lakeside Lightning by 21 points and then for the trip to Eaton Recreation Centre with Rob Huntington joining Ben Ironmonger and Lee Roberts out of the line-up.
But the finals prospects were virtually on the line for the Wolfpack as they made the trip south and the Slammers weren’t in the mood to hand them anything as they tried to claim another scalp before the West Coast Classic wrapped up.
Considering the Slammers had gone so close to stunning the Lightning on their home floor just weeks earlier, then an upset wasn’t out of the question.
So the Wolves had to pull out a strong performance and they started just the way they needed to with a 30-point first quarter to head into quarter-time already leading by 13 points.
Joondalup still led 47-33 by half-time but South West was playing its last home game of the West Coast Classic and produced a special third quarter which included scoring 14 consecutive points at one stage.
That cut the Wolves lead to 62-58 by three quarter-time and the visitors had to respond, and to their credit they did to end up beating the Slammers 79-67 and to retain fourth position for now but still needing to beat the Willetton Tigers in their final game this Saturday night at HBF Arena.
Lochlan Cummings came up big time for the Wolves on the night with 26 points, six rebounds and four assists while shooting 4/9 from three-point range and despite nine turnovers.
Matthew Teale produced 14 points and four rebounds for Joondalup, Reece Maxwell 13 points, four boards and three steals, Archie Hall 10 points and seven rebounds, and Seb Salinas eight points and nine boards.
Mitch Keller had a monster performance for the Slammers with 23 points and 16 rebounds while Brode England added 19 points, three rebounds and two steals.
LAKESIDE LIGHTNING 70 lost to WARWICK SENATORS 97
The Lakeside Lightning did plenty right on Friday night but couldn’t back it up on Saturday on their home floor as the West Coast Classic-leading Warwick Senators again flexed their muscles.
Lakeside looked impressive to beat the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena on Friday night by 21 points but they couldn’t back it up 24 hours later at Lakeside Recreation Centre against the Senators.
It was pretty much the same line-up for Lakeside too with only the swapping of big men Andrew Ferguson coming in for Michael Vigor, but the Senators right now are just an unstoppable machine.
Warwick was still without Ash Litterick who got hurt the night before in a big win over East Perth with Cody Ellis still out but the backcourt was significantly strengthened with the returns of Corban Wroe and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk, and it showed.
The Senators got off to a flying start with 24 points to 12 in the first quarter and then put up another 32 to 17 in the second, and all of a sudden by half-time the game was all but over as a contest with Warwick leading Lakeside 56-29.
To hold such a dynamic-scoring team like Lakeside to 29 points in a half says it all about how well the Senators are playing right now at both ends of the floor as they ended up cruising to the 97-70 victory to retain top spot.
The Senators will finish top with a win at home against the Rockingham Flames this Saturday night while Lakeside must beat the Perth Redbacks at home if they want to play finals.
Caleb Davis delivered another 23 points, three rebounds and three assists for Warwick while Justin King produced 18 points, 10 boards and four assists.
Isaac Campion was another young gun to come up huge with 13 points while Wani Swaka Lo Buluk contributed 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, Ngor Manyang 12 points and nine boards, and Corban Wroe nine points and eight assists.
Kaidyn Malseed top-scored for the Lightning with 21 points while Andrew Ferguson produced 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.
COCKBURN COUGARS 75 defeated MANDURAH MAGIC 63
The Cockburn Cougars continued to impress on Saturday night at home to the Mandurah Magic coming away with a hard fought 12-point victory.
The Cougars might be out of the finals race in the West Coast Classic but they have been playing much better than their record suggests and they have delivered strong showings despite losing against the Flames, Wolves and Eastern Suns.
The Magic started off with some encouraging performances too but have fallen away a little in more recent times while they needed to head to Wally Hagan Stadium to bounce back from losing to the Flames the previous night on their own home floor by 65 points.
Mandurah did need to show something coming off that disappointing performance at home and they started well against Cockburn with 22 points to 14 in the first quarter to be up by eight at quarter-time.
The Cougars took over the game gradually from there, though, and by half-time had closed their deficit to five points by half-time.
Cockburn took over the lead in the third quarter and that saw the Cougars up 52-50 by three quarter-time before they finished the job in the last term with 23 points to 13 to claim the 75-63 victory against the Magic.
Gavin Field ultimately was the difference between the two teams and finished with 23 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots for the Cougars.
Seva Chan added 11 points and seven assists for Cockburn, Hayden Bell nine points and eight rebounds, Jaarod Holmes seven points and seven boards, and Nathan Pond six points and six rebounds.
Jake Cannell finished with 11 points for Mandurah while Josh Hunt delivered 14 points and nine rebounds, and Aaron Kearing 10 points, three boards and three blocks.
GOLDFIELDS GIANTS 61 lost to PERTH REDBACKS 75
It was virtually a must-win affair in Kalgoorlie for both teams on Saturday night and in the end it was the Perth Redbacks who scored the pivotal 75-61 victory over the Goldfields Giants.
There was so much at stake for both the Giants and Redbacks coming into Saturday night’s clash at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium with both still in the finals hunt in the West Coast Classic.
Goldfields came into the game on the back of a four-game winning streak to be 6-4 and needing to keep winning to try close in on a top four spot.
The Redbacks, meanwhile, headed to Kalgoorlie already on a two-game winning streak but knowing they still needed to win their remaining two contests away from home if they wanted to take part in the finals weekend.
Making things trickier for the Redbacks was the absence of Joel Wagner, Michael Riley, Ezra Nikora and Dennis Tawhiti for the trip as well against a Goldfields team yet to lose on their home floor during the West Coast Classic.
The Redbacks made the first break early on and went up 11-6 when Caleb White hit a three-pointer before Marshall Nelson made a jumper and Lachlan Bertram nailed a triple as that became 16-6.
White then hit another from downtown to make it 19-8 and Bertram hit a second three-point bomb too as the Redbacks went into quarter-time leading 28-16.
Bang Majok nailed a three also for Perth to start the second quarter before Nelson was able to stretch the lead out to 14 points. Majok and Nelson combined to stretch that advantage out to 18 before Ethan Vlahov made it 20.
Ronan Coppin earned the start in the absence of Joel Wagner and then stretched the Redbacks lead to 22 points before Riley Duncan hit a three-pointer for the Giants heading towards half-time.
But the Redbacks still led 54-32 by the main break and while the Giants closed the gap throughout the second half, they could never get closer than six points during the final stanza.
The Redbacks went on to win 75-61 and to move up into third position in the standings at 9-3 and now all they have to do is beat Lakeside on the road on Saturday night and they are guaranteed of a finals position.
As for the Giants, for all the excitement they have brought to the West Coast Classic, they are out of the finals hunt at 6-5 with a game to go at home against the East Perth Eagles to finish things off.
The Redbacks also had to score the win without Tevin Jackson who wasn’t seen after quarter-time.
Marshall Nelson was brilliant for the Redbacks with 28 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals while Caleb White added 21 points, two boards, two assists and two steals.
Lachlan Bertram delivered 10 points as well while Bang Majok scored five points.
Mayo Malek led the way once more for the Giants with 23 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists with Jerome Reid contributing 11 points and five boards, Fletcher Klasztorny six points and three rebounds, Damon Ballantyne six points, seven boards and six assists, Riley Duncan six points and six rebounds, and Majier Garang six points and 10 boards.