THE Perry Lakes Hawks and Joondalup Wolves flexed their muscles in dominant and impressive fashion in the West Coast Classic semi finals on Friday night to set up a tantalising Grand Final match up 24 hours later.
After an exciting and ultra-competitive nine rounds of action in the West Coast Classic for 2020 in place of the usual SBL season, the finals weekend got underway on Friday night with the two semi-final match ups.
The winners would advance to the Grand Final on Saturday night and while only a week earlier the Warwick Senators and Rockingham Flames found themselves battling over second position and home court advantage, they were no match for their opponents on semi-final night.
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As it turned out, the Joondalup Wolves proved too big, too deep and ultimately too good for a Rockingham Flames team minus Christina Boag and Ariana Hetherington. The Lady Wolfpack went on to prevail 101-48 at HBF Arena.
The other semi-final took place at Warwick Stadium and the Perry Lakes Hawks delivered an outstanding performance at both ends of the floor.
Their bigs led by Nat Burton were outstanding, their backcourt delivered led by six triples from Kate Williams and they were brilliant in hounding reigning SBL MVP Stacey Barr into a tough night.
That all led to a 95-70 victory for the Perry Lakes Hawks against the Warwick Senators.
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The semi-final results now set the stage for a mouth-watering West Coast Classic Grand Final match up between the Joondalup Wolves and Perry Lakes Hawks at Bendat Basketball Centre with tip-off at 7pm.
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WARWICK SENATORS 70 lost to PERRY LAKES HAWKS 95
It looked a genuine toss of the coin with Warwick hosting Perry Lakes with a Grand Final spot on the line at Warwick Stadium, but ultimately the Hawks were too big, too experienced and too deep for the Senators to end up winning 95-70.
The Senators qualified for the finals in the West Coast Classic in second position with a 10-1 record to earn home court advantage for the semi-final against a Hawks team who ended up third at 8-3.
Coming off playing in last year’s SBL Grand Final, Warwick was tremendous during the West Coast Classic led by experienced trio Stacey Barr, Tayla Hepburn and Nicole Jorre De St Jorre alongside youngsters Chloe Forster, Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard and Jayda Clark.
The Hawks ran a little deeper with their trio of bigs Nat Burton, Madi Dennis and Sarah Donovan outstanding while Nikita Martin and Annika Renkema split the three spot, and the backcourt of Morgan Ballantyne, Kate Williams and Millie McCarthy had stood firm.
So the stage was set for a tremendous semi-final battle but it was Perry Lakes on fire at both ends of the floor right from the outset.
With their defence outstanding anchored inside by Burton and then a smooth-running offence up the other end finding good looks for the bigs with mid-range shots as the guards were able to either step back and shoot or get to the rack, the Lady Hawks soon blew the game wide open.
When Burton converted a three-point play, the Hawks were up early 12-5 and by the end of the first quarter they were leading 24-13.
Kate Williams opened the second quarter with a three ball to set up a 7-0 run that saw their lead grow to 16.
Another 7-0 run for Perry Lakes that included another Williams triple saw Perry Lakes up by 21 and that was soon 22 when Williams knocked down a third three-point bomb in as many minutes for the visitors.
Williams wasn’t done with yet and the left-hander coming back from a knee reconstruction connected on a fourth from deep in less than four minutes and Perry Lakes was in control 44-19.
Burton again scored inside on the back of a brilliant pass from Nikita Martin and the margin was out to 27, and then by half-time the Hawks were leading the Senators by 30 points.
Perry Lakes’ lead grew to as much as 36 points then in the third quarter and even though Warwick kept on fighting and showed a brief glimpse of a fightback with their own 11-0 run, they never seriously threatened.
The Lady Hawks would cruise to the 95-70 win and book in a Grand Final spot in the West Coast Classic.
Perry Lakes ended the night collecting 58 rebounds to 43 from Warwick while shooting 46 per cent from the field and 52 per cent with 9/17 from three-point range. They had 42 points in the paint as well and 47 bench points to five.
It was an off night at the worst time for the Senators as they shot just 31 per cent from the floor and 3/24 from three-point land at 12 per cent.
The trio of bigs at Perry Lakes were once again outstanding at both ends of the floor. Nat Burton finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks with Madi Dennis contributing 14 points, eight boards and three assists, and Sarah Donovan 11 points and eight boards.
The backcourt was then outstanding with Kate Williams delivering 22 points and five rebounds on 6/9 shooting from three-point territory.
The energy of Millie McCarthy was infectious and she produced 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds with Annika Renkema adding 10 points, four boards and three assists.
Nikita Martin also had four points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals as she now prepares to play a Grand Final against her former club.
It won’t be a night to remember for the Senators but it’s a West Coast Classic as a whole they should be proud of.
Stacey Barr still put up 24 points in the end while Nicole Jorre De St Jorre added 15 points and 12 assists, Tayla Hepburn 14 points and eight rebounds, Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard seven points and seven boards, Chloe Forster five points and three rebounds, and Jayda Clark five points and five boards.
Perry Lakes coach Deanna Black couldn’t have been prouder of the performance of her team and with how everyone she put out on the floor found a way to contribute.
“I was really proud of our girls tonight. I thought we were very disciplined in the execution of our scout on both ends of the court. I think it really paid off for us and I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity of playing in a Grand Final tomorrow night,” Black said.
“I think that’s what this competition has really provided is the opportunity for those girls to play, and build that confidence and you can see they are playing with more and more confidence each week.
“Millie especially being a Hawks junior has been in our program for a few years, and to see her take the opportunity and really cement her spot has been fantastic and well supported by the leadership group.
“I’m really impressed with our leaders and we’ve done a lot of work with them on managing the team on the court, leading and I think they have been exceptional. Then obviously that gives those younger girls the confidence to do what they do. We have a really great solid team.”
The performance of Kate Williams to knock down the six triples in a cut-throat semi-final was a performance that Black was especially excited by.
“That’s what Kate is very capable of doing too,” Black said.
“People forget that this is her first season back after a knee reconstruction so she has got better and better, and that comes with a little bit of fitness as well and confidence coming back from doing your knee.
“It was a great game for her and it was great to see her lift with that confidence and hopefully we see more of that into the future.”
JOONDALUP WOLVES 101 defeated ROCKINGHAM FLAMES 48
The Joondalup Wolves were battling for top two positions the entire West Coast Classic with the Rockingham Flames and that was in fact the one team to beat them, but it was a different story in the semi-final at HBF Arena on Friday night.
The Lady Wolfpack ended up finishing on top after nine rounds of the West Coast Classic with a 10-1 record and a huge percentage, but right up until last week the Flames were still a chance of finishing in a top two position as well.
And going back a few weeks in Rockingham, the Flames put together a tremendous performance to hand the Wolves their only defeat of the West Coast Classic.
But it was a different scenario for the semi-final clash on Friday night at HBF Arena and quite simply the Flames just weren’t the same team in terms of their personnel without two of their best and most important, and experienced players Ariana Hetherington and Christina Boag.
It made a significant difference in a big loss to the Senators last Saturday night it was a similar case at the expense of the Wolves on Friday night with a Grand Final berth on the line.
It didn’t take long for Joondalup to asset its dominance over the small and young Rockingham line-up racing to a 12-2 lead, and really from there it was just a procession for the home team.
The Wolves continued to extend their lead all night to lead by 17 by quarter-time, 22 by half-time, 37 by three quarter-time and with 19 points to three in the fourth quarter, they would end up winning by 53, 101-48.
That now sets up the Wolves to take on the Perry Lakes Hawks in the West Coast Classic Grand Final on Saturday night at Bendat Basketball Centre.
There was a lot to be impressed about in the performance from the Wolves to book in their Grand Final spot as they dominated inside with 55 rebounds to 28 to go with 46 points in the paint to 26.
They also forced Rockingham into 32 turnovers from which they scored 24 points along with 22 second chance points from 24 offensive boards.
Kayla Steindl continued her hot form for the Wolfpack finishing with another remarkably efficient 18 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes on 7/12 shooting.
Mikayla Pirini added 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Lady Wolfpack, Chelsea Belcher 13 points, Laniesha Paddon 13 points and three rebounds, Georgia Denehey 12 points and five assists, Nes’eya Williams eight points and six rebounds, and Amber Land six points and 13 boards.
It was tough going understandably for the Flames but Perth Lynx WNBL point guard Tayah Burrows still had 15 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Pania Davis contributed eight points and eight rebounds as well and Ashlyn Lee six points.