WA SBL Round 1: Redbacks women endure nightmare start as top sides make statements

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Round 1 of the SBL season saw plenty of big performances across both leagues as state-league basketball resumed in Western Australia for 2014. There were plenty of statements from the top sides while Perth suffered two losses of a combined 84 points to capture attention for all the wrong reasons.


SBL Men

Perth Redbacks and Rockingham Flames opened the men’s 2014 SBL competition by playing out a thriller, with the home side getting over the line 96-93. Redbacks new import Stan Okoye (30 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists) lived up to the pre-season hype while Jarrad Prior (21 points, 5-10 3PT) hit from the outside and Jesse Wagner (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) also chimed in. Cooper Land (30 points, 13 rebounds) was huge for the Flames while Thomas Remmerswaal (25 points, 4 rebounds) also provided plenty in a losing side.

2013 SBL champions Lakeside Lightning started off 2014 with an away win over East Perth Eagles, with the visitors winning 101-88. Lightning were led by Caleb Palkert (23 points, 9 rebounds) while Brad Jackson added 23 points and Jarrad Prue (11 points, 31 rebounds, 4 blocks), fresh from his NBL debut with Perth over the summer, was at his enormous best on the boards. Nikola Donlagic (18 points) led the scoring for the Eagles, while Kyle Armour finished with 17 points and 7 assists.

Cockburn Cougars started off their 2014 campaign with an impressive 123-84 rout of Kalamunda Eastern Suns. Gavin Field (28 points, 16 rebounds, 13-17 FG) and Damien Scott (28 points, 15 rebounds) were enormous for the home side, with Alex Prince also chiming in with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Adhar Mayen had 16 points and 8 rebounds in defeat for the Suns, while Mike Krumel (15 points) was the only other player to reach double digits on the scoresheet.

A 78-point first half blitz has propelled South West Slammers to a resounding 127-88 win over Goldfields Giants to kick off their season in style. Player-coach Ty Harrelson (31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) led the way for South West but had plenty of support in Clive Weedon (30 points, 8 rebounds) and Jonathon Todd Hendley (20 points, 8 rebounds) in the rout. The Giants simply couldn’t contain the red-hot Slammers on defence but managed to get six players into double figures at the offensive end, with Kyle Keirnan (14 points, 4 assists) heading the pack.

Rockingham Flames bounced back from their narrow first night defeat with a come-from-behind win over Geraldton Buccaneers. The home side used a 27-18 third term to overturn a halftime deficit in the 100-93 victory, with Cooper Land leading the way once again with 33 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists. Thomas Remmerswaal (25 points, 6 rebounds) was also on hand to guide his side to victory, while Taylor Land (16 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) fell just short of a triple-double. Aaron Ralph (27 points, 10 rebounds), Bennie Lewis (27 points, 6 rebounds) and Carter Cook (25 points, 7 rebounds) did all the damage for the visitors but failed to get the support they needed.

Stirling Senators used a 35-21 third term to rally against Perth Redbacks, with the home side eventually holding on for a 102-95 win. Cory Cooperwood was the star for the victors, with his 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting coming with 11 rebounds and 7 assists in a big all-round performance. Josh Throns (25 points, 9 rebounds) also made a solid contribution despite shooting just 9-of-28 from the floor. Stan Okoye was again the Redbacks’ best, backing up his strong start to the season 24 hours earlier with 28 points and 6 rebounds in defeat.

2013 SBL runners-up Joondalup Wolves stormed home in the final quarter to start their 2014 campaign with a win, downing Willetton Tigers 107-88 despite a monster night from John Dickson. Trian Illiadis led the visiting side with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Robert Huntington chimed in with 21 points and Sebestian Salinas added 18 points and 10 assists. Dickson was far and away the Tigers best in defeat, netting a whopping 41 points on 15-of-25 shooting to go with 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

East Perth flew out of the blocks with a 35-22 first quarter en route to a big win over Goldfields, rebounding from their loss to Lakeside earlier in the weekend. The home side’s 118-93 victory was set-up by a wonderful triple-double performance from Kyle Armour (22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists), while Sunday Dech had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists to also have a big influence on the result as six Eagles hit double figures. The Giants were outclassed despite 26 points and 18 rebounds from Tommy Hammon, with only Duran Blue (23 points, 7 rebounds) joining him in double digits as the visitors slumped to their second straight 20+ defeat.

Geraldton bounced back from their first-up loss with a high-scoring 123-106 win over Kalamunda to claim their first win for 2014 and condemn the Eastern Suns to a 0-2 start. 77 points across the middle two quarters propelled the Buccaneers to victory and only a 30-17 final term saved Kalamunda from further embarrassment. Bennie Lewis was the undoubted star of the show with 41 points, including 7-of-12 from deep, as the visitors shot at just under 60% from the field in an offensive exhibition. The Suns managed just 33% from the floor while attempting 33 more shots than their opponents, including a whopping 60 three-pointers, and simply couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Adhar Mayen (24 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists) and Louis Timms (22 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks) did their best in a losing effort.

Perry Lakes Hawks and Mandurah Magic played out an entertaining match to round out the weekend, with the visiting Magic getting home 129-119. Led by monster performances from Daniel Thomas (38 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 12-19 FG) and Taylor Mullenax (34 points, 7 rebounds), the victors got more from their best players as both teams had four teams hit the 20-point mark in the match. Robert Cassir led the way for the Hawks with 28 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists while Corey Easley (27 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) and Ben Purser (21 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals) both enjoyed very good all-round games.


SBL Women

Perth Redbacks have been blown away by a very strong Rockingham Flames outfit to open the 2014 SBL season, with the visitors running away with a 94-50 win. The Flames, who were bundled out of the finals last season in the semi-finals, were led by a huge night from Samantha Whitcomb (29 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, 8-12 FG), while Darcee Garbin (18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) was also prominent as the Flames used a 32-9 third term to put the match away for good after holding a 17-point halftime lead. The home side got 16 points from Jessica Jakens, but with no other players reaching double figures were simply no match for Rockingham.

Lakeside Lightning has eased to a 71-49 win over East Perth Eagles, with the visitors extending their lead at every change in a solid first-up performance. The Lightning was led by Kari Pickens (18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) and Jess Van Schie (10 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists), while Clare Thomson-Boston (23 points, 10-15 FG) played a lone hand for the outclassed Eagles, who are coming off a wooden spoon in 2013 after winning just once in 22 games.

Cockburn Cougars made a winning start to season 2014 with a 72-62 win over Kalamunda Eastern Suns. Samantha Richards led the way with 22 points and 6 assists in the win, as Marita Payne (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Emma Pass (16 points, 11 rebounds) enjoyed solid double-doubles. Jennie Rintala was the Suns’ best with 22 points and 6 rebounds, with only Jessie Edwards (10 points) making it to double digits with her in a disappointing offensive performance from Kalamunda.

Stirling Senators ensured Perth would finish round one on a very miserable note with a 92-52 hammering of the Redbacks to follow up the visitor’s 94-50 loss on opening night. Tegan Walker (17 points, 8 rebounds) led a balanced Senators attack which dismantled the hapless Redbacks, with the home side shooting at 49% to just 33% and registering 28 assists to 12. Jessica Jakens was the Redbacks’ best with 18 points and 9 rebounds as her side opened the season with consecutive 40-point thrashings in the space of 24 hours.

2013 champions Joondalup Wolves held off Willetton Tigers in a tough contest, with the visitors coming away with a 64-56 win. After an open and high-scoring first term the match became a slog, with neither side managing to score more than 9 points in the third term. The Wolves connected on just 1-of-18 long range attempts but secured the win on the back of 16 points and 11 rebounds from Ellyce Ironmonger. WNBL pair Antonia Edmonson (17 points) and Lisa Walbutton (15 points, 13 rebounds) were the Tigers’ best but didn’t receive enough support to get over the line.

Mandurah Magic rounded out the first weekend of season 2014 with a 75-58 win over Perry Lakes Hawks. The Magic were in control all game and survived a brief Hawks revival in the second half to start the season in impressive fashion, with 350-gamer Casey Mihovilovich (23 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals) celebrating in style to star for the victors. Jessie Clayton led the way with 15 points for the home side, who failed to find a response to Mihovilovich’s huge performance.

For full results, ladders and reports head to www.sbl.asn.au or click here.