WA SBL Round 18: Lighting men eye top two as Redbacks women snap 18-game winless run

Lakeside’s men continued their push up the ladder with a victory over second-placed Rockingham which left them just a win behind the Flames in the battle for second place, while Perth’s women finally broke their 2014 SBL season duck in a brilliant victory over finals contenders South West, setting the Slammers back considerably in their bid to play finals.

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SBL Men

Joondalup opened the weekend with a comfortable 124-86 win over Kalamunda that saw them slip back into the top eight. After going into half time with a six-point advantage, the Wolves blew the Suns away with a 34-14 third term before going on with it in the final twelve minutes. A 51-35 smashing on the glass and 54% shooting from the floor were the catalysts, with Seb Salinas (19 points, 11 rebounds) regaining form and Trian Illiadis (18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) putting in a strong showing as six Wolves reached double digits. Ben Smith topped the scoring for the Suns with 21 points, 4 boards and 4 assists and Louis Timms added 20 points and 6 boards but the pair combined for 11 turnovers as their side suffered another defeat.

Lakeside reminded the league of the threat they pose to the title with a 105-98 defeat of Rockingham, helping the Lightning to move within a win of their second-placed opponents as a result. An 11-point half time lead for the home side proved enough as both sides struggled as the game wound down, combining for 19 turnovers and 12-of-43 shooting in the scrappy final term. Brad Tinsley (30 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 steals) filled the stat sheet despite committing 9 turnovers and shooting just 11-of-25 from the floor, while Jarrad Prue added 10 points and 26 boards to go with 5 blocks in a typically brilliant display. Tom Remmerswaal (20 points) and Trevor Moore (16 points, 11 rebounds) led the Flames, who were without Cooper Land in the loss.

Stirling put Willetton’s season well-and-truly to bed with a 119-104 win over the Tigers on the back of a strong offensive display. The Senators shot the ball at 62% in the first half and 58% for the match as they blew their opponents away, tallying 97 points to three-quarter time. Cody Ellis (29 points, 4 assists, 11-14 FG) and Jordan Wild (27 points, 20 rebounds, 11-14 FG) were superb as the Tigers failed to find an answer to the star duo inside and out. Quinn McDowell (31 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists) was a standout in defeat for the Tigers, while John Dickson added 21 points and 8 boards. The in-form Senators remain sixth and just half a game outside of the top four with two rounds to play.

East Perth held off a fast-finishing Geraldton to claim another big scalp and continue their charge into the finals with a 101-96 away win over the Buccaneers. The Eagles led by 16 at the final break after a stellar 37-25 third term before surviving a vicious Buccs fight back in the final twelve minutes to record another important W despite the absence of star Australia and NBL big man Tom Jervis. Fellow NBL-listed duo Kyle Armour (5 rebounds, 8 assists) and Mathiang Muo (4 rebounds, 3 steals) each netted 25 points to cover for the loss of their star centre, while for the home side it was Bennie Lewis (37 points, 5 rebounds) who tried to drag his side over the line, with Carter Cook (23 points, 6 rebounds) and Mark Wunderberg (7 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists) also contributing strongly despite the defeat.

Willetton rebounded from their loss to the Senators with a 110-107 win over Goldfields, using a 34-20 second term to set up the result before steadying in the final term as the Giants challenged. Despite both sides being out of the finals race they put on an entertaining and free-flowing contest, with both teams hovering just below the 50% shooting mark. John Dickson was superb with 33 points on 15-of-24 shooting, 17 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks in a monster display of all-round brilliance, while Quinn McDowell (25 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists) and Jacob Reed (21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) also enjoying strong games. It was all about Adrian Majstrovich for the Giants, with the star netting 41 points, collecting 12 boards and dishing 4 assists as he played all 48 minutes. Russell Hurst also netted 22 points and added 13 boards and 3 assists despite his side going down for their seventh straight defeat.

Perth eased to a 111-81 win over South West to hold onto fourth spot for at least another week, with the Redbacks showing their class to win every quarter as they took apart the Slammers. Stanley Okoye (25 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals), Joel Wagner (20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and Lee Roberts (17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists) led the way for the home side despite each seeing a reduction in minutes in the blowout win. The Slammers were never really in the contest after half time but got good service out of Trent Worthington (21 points, 5 rebounds) and Markus Monroe (17 points, 7 rebounds). The visitors fell out of the top eight following the loss but remain on the same record as eighth-placed Joondalup.

The Wolves leapfrogged the Slammers with their hard fought 120-113 overtime win over Mandurah, which completed a perfect weekend for a side who has been sliding down the ladder for the best part of two months. The home side went cold in the extra period, managing just 2-of-9 shooting for seven points as the Wolves left the gym with the win despite being outrebounded 56-40 over the course of the night. Seb Salinas clocked 51 minutes but made every second count as he tallied 37 points, 7 boards and 8 assists in a big showing, while Trian Illiadis (22 points) and Ephrem Davis (20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) also put in plenty of effort to get their side over the line. The Magic were led by Taylor Mullenax (27 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks) and Ben Smith (26 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists) but couldn’t capitilise as the fell to a 13-10 record to sit seventh.

Cockburn’s season continued to spiral out of control as they fell to Perry Lakes 103-82 on the back of a 57-37 first half by the visitors. The Cougars lost their fifth straight game as they could only manage 34% shooting for the contest in another disappointing performance for the once-finals contenders. Justin Cecil (28 points, 4 rebounds) and Ben Purser (25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) led the way for the Hawks, who themselves are all-but out of contention for the post-season but looked a class above in this contest. Gavin Field (18 points, 8 rebounds) topped the score sheet for the Cougars as they fell to 9-15 on the season after sitting on the fringe of the top eight just a month ago.

Kalamunda thumped Goldfields 98-75 to confirm the destination of the 2014 wooden spoon and hand the Giants their eighth loss in a row. A dominant 60-29 first half ended the contest before the Giants saved some face with a better second half. The rebound count (49-34), assist tally (30-17) and turnover count (20-12) were all in favour of the Eastern Suns in the rout, despite the home side only attempting six foul shots for the entire match. Louis Timms tore the visitors apart, netting 42 points on 19-of-28 shooting to go with 14 rebounds and 5 blocks to be the dominant player on the court, while Adhir Mayen (18 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) was also strong. Adrian Majstrovich completed a strong weekend with 28 points and 9 boards as teammate Duran Blue (3 points, 9 assists, 1-8 FG) finished the weekend with 4-of-23 shooting over the two losses.


SBL Women

Joondalup ran over the top of Kalamunda to snatch a 62-59 win over the Suns courtesy of a 10-3 final term. The visitors could manage just 1-of-15 shooting in a horror final quarter as their lead evaporated, with the Wolves recovering from a 31-19 first term deficit to claim the win. Alex Kerr led the Wolves home with 21 points and 10 boards, while Nikita-Lee Martin added 11 points, 11 boards and 6 assists in a strong all-round game. Alison Schwagmeyer was superb for the Suns in defeat, collecting 21 points, 15 boards and 5 assists. The loss leaves the Suns in fourth, three wins behind the third-placed Wolves with only two weeks of the season remaining.

Lakeside signalled their title intentions with an 80-71 win over Rockingham to move within a win of top place in the process. The Lightning kept a seven-game winning streak alive despite only managing six points on 1-of-16 shooting in the final term, with a 53-36 first half ensuring the contest was done and dusted. Kari Pickens continued her rich vein of form with 26 points, 8 boards and 4 assists to lead her side to a W, while Darcee Garbin was the best for the Flames with 21 points and 17 boards in what was a possible grand final preview. The Flames committed 25 turnovers to just 13 to give their opponents far too many opportunities throughout the contest.

Stirling defeated Willetton 81-73 to leave the Tigers dangling in eighth place ahead of South West. The Senators kept the heat on fourth-placed Kalamunda with the win, which was set up by a 23-11 second term. Taylor Wild was the star for the home side, netting 26 points, collecting 7 boards and dishing 7 assists to go with 3 steals and 9-of-15 shooting from the floor. Emma Berryman added 15 points for the Senators, while for the Tigers it was Mikayla Pirini netted 14 points to lead four players in double digits despite the loss. The visitors now sit just half a game ahead of South West for the final playoffs spot but have two games in hand over their rivals.

Perth finally broke their 2014 duck with an 88-78 win over South West, setting the Slammers way back in their quest for a finals berth in the process. The Redbacks snapped an eighteen-game losing streak and got their first win of the season thanks to a much-improved effort at the offensive end, taking a 16-point lead into the main break and holding firm from there. Gabby O’Sullivan netted 32 points and grabbed 10 boards in a dominant display while Jessica Jakens added 17 points and 11 boards to lead their side to a momentous victory. Amy Patton (25 points, 14 rebounds) led the Slammers despite shooting just 8-of-27 from the field, while Lauren Jeffers (19 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals) committed 11 turnovers as the visitors fell to a disastrous loss and will now need plenty to go right if they are to sneak into the top eight.

Mandurah lost their third straight game in an 81-66 defeat at the hands of Joondalup. The Wolves came home with a 24-14 final term to grab the win, holding the Magic to just 6-of-25 shooting in that time and shooting at 56% themselves. Nikita-Lee Martin (23 points, 4 assists, 9-13 FG) and Ellyce Ironmonger (20 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks) led the visitors to victory as they consolidated third spot with a 2-0 weekend. For the home side, star Casey Mihovilovich (31 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) again led the way but got little support from her teammates as her side slipped to sixth on the ladder with an 11-9 record, with the Magic now unlikely to push for a top four finish.

Cockburn smashed Perry Lakes 73-49 to cement their spot in the finals series and remain within striking distance of a top four berth with two weeks to go in the regular season. After an even first term the home side exploded with a 48-16 run in the middle two quarters to kill off the contest, before their opponents saved some face in the final term. A 41-28 advantage on the boards was decisive as Emma Pass (11 rebounds, 5 assists) and WNBL star Deanna Smith (7 rebounds) each netted 24 points, with the latter playing her second game of the season. Megan McKay (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) and Anna Kovats (13 points, 5 rebounds) led the Hawks despite limited minutes.

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