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WA SBL Round 16: Eagles men, Suns women looking dangerous as men’s playoff picture remains blurry
A single win separates fourth from ninth in the men’s SBL standings after sixteen rounds, leaving plenty to the imagination with just a month of the regular season remaining. Meanwhile, East Perth’s men and Kalamunda’s women continue to look like genuine title threats from outside the top four as they continued their red-hot form, with the Eagles in particular thrashing second-placed Rockingham in an ominous warning for the rest of the league.
Lakeside shrugged off a determined Perry Lakes to hold on for a 98-96 win to kick off round sixteen. Despite shooting at just 35% from the field and attempting a whopping 48 three-pointers, a 54-42 advantage in the rebound count allowed the home side to sneak over the line. Caleb Palkert netted 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead his side, while Jarrad Prue gave the Lightning plenty of second chances with 28 boards, including 14 at the offensive end. Ben Purser (30 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and Justin Cecil (27 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists) did all they could for the Hawks but fell agonisingly short, leaving them outside the eight by two wins and unlikely to challenge for a finals berth.
South West fought back from a 15-point quarter-time deficit to record a miraculous 101-100 victory over Cockburn and bump themselves back into the top eight in the process. Despite giving up 37 points in a horror first term, the Slammers chipped away over the remaining 36 minutes before finishing ahead by the barest of margins at the final buzzer. Markus Monroe (34 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals) was emphatic while Clive Weeden (24 points, 12 rebounds) and Trent Worthington (21 points, 6 rebounds) provided plenty of support. Gavin Field was superb for the Cougars, finishing with 30 points, 11 boards and 5 blocks despite his side letting the game, and perhaps their finals chances, slip away from them.
The close calls continued with Stirling edging out Joondalup 96-95 in another body blow to the Wolves’ finals aspirations, with the defeat temporarily leaving them in ninth place. A dour 17-11 final term by the visitors wasn’t enough to grab the win as strong performances from Corey Cooperwood (21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), Cody Ellis (19 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers) and Jordan Wild (15 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists) proved too much to overcome. For the Wolves, Seb Salinas (24 points, 6 rebounds) and Ephrem Davis (20 points, 12 rebounds) led their side in yet another disappointing defeat, leaving their bid to reach the finals in the balance with a month to play.
Geraldton snuck past Goldfields in an unconvincing 95-91 victory to extend their lead at the top of the table. A 23-16 final term fight back from the home side wasn’t enough to finish over the top of the Giants, with a 55-43 rebounding advantage and superior shooting from the field helping the Buccs grab the win. Aaron Ralph finished with 26 points and 7 boards, while fine performances from Jerrah Young (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Matt Wunderberg (11 points, 19 rebounds) counteracted the massive night from Goldfields’ import duo in Adrian Majstrovich (36 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals) and Duran Blue (26 points, 10 assists).The improving Giants remain last with a 3-18 record while the Buccaneers are now three wins clear on top of the table.
Perth Redbacks grabbed an important 102-95 win over Kalamunda to hold onto fourth spot for another week. The victory was set up on the back of a 32-19 first quarter by the home side and they were never fully challenged despite the Suns chipping away throughout the rest of the contest. Stanley Okoye (26 points, 19 rebounds) was superb and Joel Wagner (25 points, 4 assists, 6-7 FG, 13-15 FT) was efficient as they led the Redbacks, overcoming the spread of the Suns’ scoring. Ben Smith led the visitors with 20 points, 7 boards and 6 assists, while Louis Timms (11 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Adhir Mayen (6 rebounds) each added 18 points. Perth moved to a 12-9 record with the win, sitting tied with fast-finishing Mandurah for the final spot in the top four.
South West put themselves well in contention for a top four berth and consolidated their spot in the top eight in the process with a 119-98 win over Willetton. Another slow start saw the Slammers fall behind by 13 points at quarter time before scoring 103 points in the next three quarters, including a 41-20 third term, to blow their opponents away. Markus Monroe (33 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists) and Clive Weeden (28 points, 21 rebounds, 11-15 FG) were fantastic and the dominant forces on the court, while Quinn McDowell (27 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists) played very much a lone hand in defeat for the Tigers which all-but ended their finals assault.
Joondalup grabbed a huge 120-91 win over Lakeside to reboot their season and cling to eighth spot. The much-needed scalp was won in a 61-39 second half and came on the back of 56% shooting from the field and from deep, compared to just 38% and 26% respectively for the Lightning. Seb Salinas (37 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) was dominant while Trian Illiadis added 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting to provide the help. For the disappointing Lightning it was the usual suspects in Brad Tinsley (24 points, 7 assists), Caleb Palkert (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Jarrad Prue (14 points, 24 rebounds) at the offensive end, however it was at the defensive end where their side broke down significantly.
Mandurah thumped Stirling 112-81 to win their fourth straight and keep the heat on fourth-placed Perth. The Magic was dominant across the court, holding their opponents under 20 points in three of the four quarters and completely dominating the glass with a 59-40 advantage. A balanced attack saw Paul Hafford (24 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals), Rhett Della Maddalena (24 points, 8 rebounds) and Taylor Mullenax (23 points, 7 rebounds) all get off the leash and lead their side to victory, while the disappointing Senators had only Cory Cooperwood (19 points) and Cody Ellis (15 points) reach double figures. The visitors fell to an 11-10 season record and fell back to ninth but remain level with Joondalup for the final playoffs spot.
A 31-16 third quarter and a 53-38 rebound tally saw red-hot East Perth completely outclass second-placed Rockingham in a 112-95 victory. 30 points, 15 boards, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots from NBL big man Tom Jervis proved the difference between the sides, with the Australia squad member putting together his best game of the season to date. NBL teammate Mathiang Mao (22 points, 9 rebounds) also delivered his best game to date since returning from a serious knee injury and Kyle Armour added 19 points and collected 10 boards as the Flames had no answer to the Eagles’ star power. Cooper Land (8 rebounds) and Ryan Godfrey (4 rebounds, 4 assists) each netted 22 points for the Flames as they slipped three wins behind Geraldton for top spot and kept the door open for Lakeside in third.
Lakeside thrashed Perry Lakes to open the round with a 95-52 victory that further consolidated second spot in the standings for the Lightning and left the Hawks a game outside of the finals with a 5-12 record. The home side was out to a 54-18 lead at halftime and 83-33 at three-quarter time in a show of their dominance as the Hawks could only manage 25% shooting from the field and 1-of-9 from deep. Kari Pickens (19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) played just 20 minutes to lead her side as no Lightning player clocked more than 22 minutes for the contest, while no Hawk could net more than 8 points in a disappointing performance.
A 28-10 third quarter saw Cockburn get past South West 89-70 and all-but sew up a finals berth as a result. The Slammers failed to register an assist in their third term capitulation and were ultimately beaten 28-14 in that category, which was reflected in the huge gulf in shooting percentage between the sides (55% to 38%). The Cougars had plenty of contributors in the win, with Emma Pass (21 points, 8 rebounds), Marita Payne (19 points, 14 rebounds) and Sam Richards (19 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists) all getting amongst it. In contrast, Amy Patton played a lone hand for the Slammers with a brilliant performance, netting 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting, grabbing 6 boards and getting 4 steals.
Joondalup came from behind at three-quarter time to deny Stirling an important win with an 83-81 result which saw them keep ahead of the chasing pack for a top four berth. The Senators looked like they would secure a strong win throughout the match but instead are now vulnerable in fourth to the red-hot Kalamunda in fifth. Ellyce Ironmonger (18 points, 10 rebounds) led six players in double figures for the Wolves, while Emma Berryman (23 points, 5-6 3PT) and Hannah Throns (21 points, 4 rebounds, 8-8 FT) were superb for the home side but couldn’t drag their side over the line.
In-form Kalamunda brushed aside Perth with a strong 98-65 away victory to claim their sixth straight win and move to the verge of the top four. A 47-24 smashing on the glass was the biggest difference between the sides, with Alison Schwagmeyer (8 rebounds, 4 steals) and Jennie Rintala (10 rebounds) each finishing with 22 points in the win. Gabby O’Sullivan continued her good form for the winless Redbacks with 18 points and 5 boards, while Jessica Jakens added 15 points and 4 boards as their side sunk to an eighteenth straight defeat.
Willetton kept their bold finals ambitions alive with a 76-48 thrashing of South West, with the win leaving the Tigers just one win behind the eighth-placed Slammers with a month of action left. The visitors dominated the match and capped it with a 28-10 final term to take the chocolates on the back of 40% shooting to just 24% for the Slammers and a 52-32 advantage on the boards. Ebony Antonio finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds for Willetton, leading five players in double digits, while Lauren Jeffers (17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) was the Slammers’ best.
Lakeside relied on their stars to carry them to a 78-64 win over Joondalup in a top-four battle, with the contest much closer than the final score line suggests. Kari Pickens (23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) and Courtney Byrnes (18 points, 8 rebounds) led their side to the win despite just four players accounting for 73 of their 78 total team points. In stark contrast, Shani Amos led her side’s sheet with just 13 points in a balanced attack that couldn’t quite get over the line against a team the Wolves will likely face in the finals.
Stirling recovered from a slow start to record an impressive 84-74 away win at Mandurah and hold onto fourth place for another week in the process. Despite trailing by eight at the first break the visitors worked into the contest and put the foot down after halftime to run away with the victory. Amber Land (19 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists), Tegan Walker (17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Taylor Wild (16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) did most of the damage for the Senators, while Hayley Dunham netted 25 points and collected 7 boards for the Magic as Casey Mihovilovich was well-held. The win leaves the Senators with an 11-6 record in fourth ahead of the streaking Kalamunda (12-7) and Mandurah (11-7) in a tight battle for the top four.
Rockingham handed East Perth their thirteenth straight defeat with a 100-74 victory over the Eagles to round out the weekend. The Flames eased to the win and had the match wrapped up by three-quarter time on the back of 51% shooting. Darcee Garbin (24 points, 6 rebounds) and Samantha Whitcomb (23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) were the best for the Flames, while the Eagles, who were plagued by 28 turnovers, got a team-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 6 boards from Brienna Nolan as the benches were emptied early.
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