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WA SBL Round 10: Flames, Buccs men move clear as Redbacks women find promising form
Rockingham and Geraldton are now in what seems to be a two horse race for the minor premiership after both sides continued their winning ways in round ten SBL action, while in the women’s competition it was the winless Perth Redbacks who pushed undefeated Rockingham all the way to show some much-needed improvement.
Perth kicked off round ten action with a 95-84 win over Cockburn in a hotly contested matchup. Despite both sides managing to connect on just 11 field goals each in the final 24 minutes, the Redbacks built a 13-point lead at the final change thanks to a 17-10 third term to get the win on the back of another master class from MVP-contender Stanley Okoye (42 points, 10 rebounds, 15-25 FG). Dennis Tawhiti chimed in with 16 points and 6 boards for the home side as well, while the Cougars got 20 points and 13 boards from Gavin Field in the loss.
Lakeside bounced back from a slow start to finish all over the top of Mandurah in a 118-100 victory. A 59-38 rebound count was the catalyst as the Lightning generated 100 field goal attempts, including a whopping 41 bombs from deep. Brad Tinsley (36 points, 6 assists, 12-17 FG) and Brad Jackson (31 points, 4 rebounds, 6-13 3PT) led the home side, with Jarrad Prue adding 8 points and 31 boards in a typically hard-working performance. Taylor Mullenax had 25 points to lead the Magic in defeat, while Ben Smith added 21 points and 8 boards.
A 26-15 final term saw Joondalup snatch a dramatic 106-103 win away to Perry Lakes, sending the Hawks tumbling out of the top eight in the process. In a tight contest throughout, the Wolves’ late push and the all-round brilliance of Seb Salinas (39 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 11-12 FT) proved the difference at the final buzzer. The Hawks were led by Justin Cecil (28 points, 6 rebounds) and a strong showing from Corey Easley (25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) but simply couldn’t go with the reigning champs down the stretch.
The Wolves were brought back down the earth just 24 hours later in a 125-101 defeat, at home, to second-placed Geraldton. The Buccaneers won their third straight game and consolidated a top two spot, extending their gap over the third-placed Wolves. The visitors reached 30 points in every quarter and were impossible to contain throughout, with the home side coincidently unable to reach 30 points in any term. Odartey Blankson (31 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 12-19 FG) and Bennie Lewis (24 points) were the leaders again for the victors but got plenty of help from sharp-shooter Aaron Ralph (22 points, 6 rebounds, 9-12 FG, 4-6 3PT). Seb Salinas finished off a strong weekend with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists for the Wolves.
Bottom feeders Goldfields and Kalamunda went head-to-head in a high-scoring contest, with the visiting Suns claiming a 119-112 victory. A 43-point third term put the Suns in a strong position and they would not be denied as Luke Nevill (34 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists), Ben Smith (30 points, 8-14 3PT) and Louis Timms (24 points, 12 rebounds) all got amongst it. Duran Blue was extraordinary for the Giants, finishing with 31 points, 9 boards and 12 assists to be one rebound shy of a triple-double; however it was in vain as the Giants lost their sixth straight game.
East Perth stunned the in-form South West Slammers on their home court with a 97-68 win. South West shot at just 33% and failed to record a single steal on the night to slump to their first loss in five matches, with Kyle Armour (19 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists) firing and Sunday Dech (17 points, 9 rebounds) providing the help in a strong win for the Eagles despite NBL star Tom Jervis (5 points, 5 rebounds) being well-held. Ty Harrelson led the Slammers with 23 points, 9 boards and 4 helpers in a disappointing night for the home side.
Mandurah bounced back to the winner’s circle with a 98-86 win over Perry Lakes Hawks, who fell to a 0-2 record for the weekend and lost their third straight contest. A strong start paced the Magic, with Taylor Mullenax (28 points, 16 rebounds), Paul Hafford (28 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and Ben Smith (27 points, 11 rebounds) combining for 83 of their side’s 96 points in a mammoth effort. Justin Cecil netted 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished 4 assists in a strong display for the Hawks, while Corey Easley (23 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 blocks) finished off a strong weekend.
Stirling’s dominant second half display saw them rocket to a 111-93 away victory over Willetton. The Senators finished with a 63-39 effort after half time to erase a six-point deficit and storm to the win, with the visitors controlling the glass with a 30-18 advantage in that period. Five players finished with 18 points or more in a strong showing, with Austin Bruton (24 points, 7 assists), Corey Cooperwood (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Jordan Wild (17 points, 22 rebounds) the pick of the bunch. Quinn McDowell continued his fine form with 35 points and 11 boards for the Tigers, while John Dickson added 25 points and pulled in 14 boards as the home side fell to a disappointing loss.
Rockingham wore down a resilient Perth over four quarters to record a 117-103 win and maintain their standing on top of the ladder. American Cooper Land exploded for 46 points and 15 rebounds in a blistering display, with his efficient 15-of-21 shooting effort, including four three-point bombs, the highlight. Taylor Land chimed in with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists to help back up his brother’s big night, while for the Redbacks it was Jarrad Prior (26 points) and Stanley Okoye (23 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists) leading the way.
Geraldton finished off the weekend with a 118-97 away victory over Cockburn, with the high-flying Buccs too much to handle for the Cougars, who fell to twelfth spot in the standings with a 4-9 record. The visitors extended their gap over third placed Joondalup to two wins as a result of the victory whilst also keeping pace with the top-of-the-table Flames.
A poor middle two quarters, which yield just five made field goals and 20 points, consigned Perth to their twelfth straight loss thanks to a 71-53 defeat at the hands of Cockburn. A superior shooting percentage (43% to 28%) and a lopsided assist count (22-5) were the catalysts behind the win for the Cougars, with Emma Pass (21 points, 6 rebounds) and Marita Payne (18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks) leading their side to victory despite the early game loss of Sam Richards (4 points in 6 minutes). Only Jessica Jakens reached double figures for the winless Redbacks, with the star netting 20 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in a typical performance.
A slow start did little to stop Lakeside from recording a devastating 86-61 win over the red-hot Mandurah Magic, with the Lightning sending a statement to the rest of the league and jumping the Magic into second place in the process. It was all one way after an 18-12 first quarter in favour of the visiting Magic, with the Lightning using a balanced attack to get the job done. Courtney Byrnes (20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Kari Pickens (15 points, 12 rebounds) led the way despite the latter shooting at just 26% from the field, while for the Magic only Hailey Dunham (20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks) getting off the leash as Casey Mihovilovich (7 points, 1 rebound, 2-12 FG) was well-held.
Joondalup used a 25-12 first term to ease to an 83-63 away victory over Perry Lakes despite a much better effort from the Hawks after quarter time. Shani Amos (15 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) led a balanced Wolves attack as the benches were emptied in the second half, while for the Hawks it was Lucy Stewart who was the standout with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Joondalup improved to 7-3 and bounced back to the winner’s circle as a result of the win, consolidating a top four spot for the time being.
South West accounted for East Perth with a 60-47 win in a bottom-four battle, with a 13-5 final term by the Slammers sealing the Eagle’s fate. Amanda Patton was unstoppable for the victors, pouring in 31 points, 14 rebounds and 6 steals in a dazzling display, while Lauren Jeffers (17 points, 4 assists, 11-12 FT) chipped in despite connecting on just 3-of-17 shots from the floor. Brienna Nolan and Stephanie Jones each added 12 points for the Eagles, with the latter kept under control as she shot at just 33% from the field and committed 7 turnovers.
Mandurah bounced back from a disappointing loss with an 87-67 rout of Perry Lakes, ensuring the Hawks would finish round ten winless and holding onto eight spot by a thread. The Magic were solid for four quarters and won the rebound count 47-36 as they outworked their opponents, with Hailey Dunham (7 rebounds) and Gemma Thomas (8 rebounds) each dropping 20 points to lead their side. Casey Mihovilovich, who endured a horror night 24 hours earlier, replied with a triple-double in an emphatic display to finish with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Anna Kovats netted 13 points to lead the outclassed Hawks, while Rosie Tobin finished with 12 points and 9 boards.
Stirling held on for a tense 64-55 win over Willetton despite managing just 4 points on 1-of-15 field goal shooting in the second term. A 26-13 opening quarter lead was erased as the Tigers flew back to take the lead by halftime, before the Senators recovered in the second half to record the win. Tegan Walker led all comers with 15 points, while Taylor Bestry and Taylor Wild (8 rebounds) each finished with 14 points for the visitors. Despite missing Melissa Marsh, fellow WNBL stars Toni Edmonson (15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks) and Lisa Walbutton (10 points, 19 rebounds) ensured the Tigers were in the contest but ultimately ran out of steam down the stretch.
First-placed Rockingham faced bottom-placed Perth in the most lopsided matchup on paper in recent history; however the winless Redbacks pushed the undefeated Flames in a competitive 78-61 loss. It took a 21-10 third term to break the resolve of the plucky visitors, who won the rebound count and only lost the remaining three quarters by a combined six points. 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting from Rockingham import Stephanie Whitcomb was ultimately too much to overcome for the Redbacks as the Flames moved to a 12-0 record, while Perth’s Gabby O’Sullivan (19 points, 5 rebounds) stepped up in defeat to finally provide Jessica Jakens (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Alix Hayward (14 points, 7 rebounds, 7-7 FG) with the help they have needed.
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