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WA SBL Round 20: Redbacks men, Lightning women enter post-season red-hot as Wolves men miss top eight
Perth’s men and Lakeside’s women will go into the 2014 SBL finals as the hottest teams in their respective competitions after both continued to win in the final round of the season. With both sides securing a top four spot they will be poised to strike as they make a run at the title. One side who won’t be doing such things is Joondalup’s men, who failed to qualify for the playoffs after a gallant final round loss to Lakeside.
Joondalup have missed the top eight by percentage after they fell to Lakeside in a 109-98 contest. A 35-21 second term propelled the Lightning to victory and allowed them to secure fourth spot on the ladder ahead of the finals series. Brad Tinsley was superb with 33 points and 4 assists, leading his side to the important win with the help coming from Jesse Dixon (16 points) and Caleb Palkert (12 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks). Trian Illiadis worked hard for the Wolves to finish with 24 points, 6 boards and 6 assists and Rob Huntington added 18 points and 8 boards but it wasn’t enough as the visitor’s up-and-down season came to a disappointing close.
Goldfields finished the season on a high in a 109-94 win over Perry Lakes, their second in a row, as they also collected the wooden spoon. The Giants used a 37-22 second term to break away and held their lead for the second half despite being outrebounded by their opponents. Duran Blue (32 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists) was unstoppable and Adrian Majstrovich (24 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists) provided plenty of support for the home side, while Ben Purser (29 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Justin Cecil (23 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) did the damage for the Hawks as they finished the season with a loss and in tenth place.
Mandurah won a wild contest with Willetton 138-121 to get back on the winner’s list. The Magic shot the ball at 61% and used a 42-19 final term, in which they connected on 18-of-23 field goals, to run over the top of the Tigers after trailing at the last change. Taylor Mullenax (32 points, 6 rebounds) and Ben Smith (30 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks) led the offensive explosion by the home side, with Paul Hafford (27 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) also getting in on the action. The Tigers had Quinn McDowell (42 points, 8 rebounds) and John Dickson (40 points, 12 rebounds) combined for over two-thirds of their total score but the duo didn’t get the support from their teammates to avoid a third straight defeat.
Stirling shocked Rockingham 125-87 to win their fifth straight contest and head into the finals with a head of steam. The Flames had little to play for with second spot all-but a guarantee but failed to fire nonetheless as they were outrebounded (51-30) and outshot (56%-45%) as the Senators extended their lead in every quarter. Jordan Wild (25 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists) was superb, with Corey Cooperwood (24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Cody Ellis (21 points, 12 rebounds) providing plenty of help. Ryan Godfrey led the visitors with 20 points but it meant little as his side slumped to their ninth loss of the season, heading into finals in the midst of a patchy run of form.
Sharp-shooting Geraldton got past a plucky Kalamunda 110-104 in their last tune up before the all-important playoffs. The Buccs shot 54% from the field to just 38% for the Suns to grab the win as Bennie Lewis (33 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), Carter Cook (29 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) and Aaron Ralph (25 points, 6 rebounds) all enjoyed big nights. For the Suns, Adhir Mayen led the way with 30 points, 12 boards and 5 assists and Ben Smith added 26 points as the visitors came up agonisingly short, with a -10 rebounding differential culling their chances.
Mandurah headed into the post-season in good form thanks to their second win of the weekend, this time a 102-88 away win over a disappointing South West. The Magic were dominant on the boards in achieving a 57-38 advantage and went to the charity stripe 22 more times for 14 extra points. Taylor Mullenax was again dominant, collecting 26 points and 15 boards to lead his side, while Ben Smith (8 rebounds) and Trent Gorovich each added 17 points as well. Trent Worthington (18 points, 7 rebounds) was the Slammers’ best as their stars failed to fire, however the loss wasn’t costly as Joondalup’s loss left the Slammers in the top eight.
Cockburn finished their season on a high with a 109-103 upset win over East Perth, with the Cougars overturning a 12-point halftime deficit thanks to a 38-19 third term. In an even contest between the sides, it was Damien Scott’s electrifying 47-point haul which saw the Cougars claim the win, while Gavin Field’s (24 points, 12 rebounds) cameo also proved valuable for the home side. Kyle Armour led the Eagles with 25 points and 5 assists and Sunday Dech added 20 points and 9 boards but NBL pair Mathiang Muo (7 points) and Tom Jervis (8 points) were well-held. The loss left East Perth in seventh at the end of the regular season.
Perth rounded out SBL season 2014 with a dominant 128-103 win at Willetton, heading into the playoffs on the back of six straight W’s. The Redbacks eased away in every quarter on the back of a huge offensive display and a 54-34 advantage on the glass, with import duo Stanley Okoye (34 points, 13 rebounds) and Lee Roberts (33 points, 13 rebounds) in dazzling form. John Dickson led all comers with 39 points, 8 boards, 4 assists and 4 blocks for the Tigers while Quinn McDowell added 24 points and 9 boards but they did little to slow down the in-form team of the competition, who will launch an assault on the title from third place.
Lakeside sent a statement to the rest of the league with a dominant 85-56 win over fellow top-four finishers Joondalup in an ominous sign ahead of the playoffs. The Wolves were held to 30% shooting as the Lightning suffocated their opponents at one end and ran riot at the other, shooting at 48% themselves. Emily Fielding (30 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks) dominated while Krystal Stoneking (17 points, 9 rebounds) and Kari Pickens (16 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists) also enjoyed strong performances in the rout. Alex Kerr (13 points, 5 rebounds) was the best for the outclassed visitors, who will need to find another level ahead of their first-round finals matchup in a week’s time.
Willetton secured a playoffs spot with a 72-69 win over Mandurah, shutting the gate on South West regardless of the Slammers’ result. Both teams struggled from the field but the brilliance of WNBL star Melissa Marsh (24 points) saw the Tigers get home, while Ebony Antonio (17 points, 8 rebounds) was also solid. As usual, it was Casey Mihovilovich who tried to drag her side over the line, with the Magic star finishing with 26 points and 4 assists but she received little help from her teammates. The loss was the fourth straight for the faltering Magic and left them in seventh spot ahead of their final match of the season.
Rockingham thumped out-of-sorts Stirling 113-75 to hand the Senators their fourth loss in five games and put the Flames in strong form ahead of the finals. Only a 33-point final term, in which they shot 72% from the field, saved the Senators from an embarrassing offensive performance as their opponents ran riot. Samantha Whitcomb (25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) was dominant as usual while Kate Williams also added 19 points on 5-of-9 from deep in a polished shooting display. The home side was led by Taylor Wild (22 points) and Tegan Walker (21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) but had few other contributors in another poor showing at the wrong end of the season.
A dominant 22-7 second quarter saw Mandurah claim a 77-56 win over South West, handing the Slammers their fifth straight loss to end the season. The home side could only manage 26% shooting from the floor as they were taught a lesson by the hungry Magic, with Hayley Dunham (18 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists) and Casey Mihovilovich (17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals) the dominant pair. Amy Patton was strong for the Slammers, finishing with 23 points and 13 boards, but her teammates could only muster a further 33 points between them as a promising season came to a pitiful end.
Cockburn claimed fifth seeding for the finals with a 74-44 thrashing of East Perth, leaving the Eagles with a 2-20 season record and 16 straight losses to end the season. A slow start saw the quarter time scores locked at 9 apiece but from there on it was all about the Cougars, with an 18-8 final term putting the exclamation point on the win. Chelsea Evans led all scorers with 16 points in 19 minutes on court as both sides emptied their benches early, while for the Eagles only Jodee Sontay (12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals) reached double digits.
A 25-11 final term run by Perth wasn’t enough to claim a shock win over Willetton, with the Tigers holding on for a 76-69 victory to continue their winning ways ahead of the finals. Toni Edmonson netted 18 points in 23 minutes for the home side, while Lisa Walbutton added 15 points, 9 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals in a strong all-round display. The gallant Redbacks got plenty from Gabby O’Sullivan (19 points, 7 rebounds) and Jessica Jakens (16 points, 8 rebounds) but fell to their 20th defeat of the season as they again struggled to find a consistent third scoring option.
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