Lakeside knocked out as Hawks fly into Grand Final

The Perry Lakes Hawks have claimed its men’s SBL Semi Final series 2-1 against the Lakeside Lightning with a 84-71 victory in game three played at the Lakeside Recreation Centre on Saturday night.

The Hawks will face Wanneroo Wolves in Saturday’s Grand Final after taking the deciding game, which ended Lakeside’s hopes of making amends for last year’s loss to Willetton in the title decider.

A fairly competitive and close contest beckoned for three quarters until Ben Purser was let loose in the last five minutes and sunk the boot into the home side’s 2011 Championship aspirations.

Purser nailed two free throws, and with assistance from Joe-Alan Tupaea, pushed the margin into doubles figures with just over three minutes remaining.

Despite the heroics of veteran Steven Butler and Ryan Sofoulis, the 13-point deficit proved to be too much for the home side to reel in late in the game.

Anthony Lee top scored with 21 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, while Purser finished with 19 points for the fourth placed Hawks who prevailed in the absence of Lakeside’s injured star Luke Payne.

Payne was injured midway through game two and the 24-hour recovery time between games proved nowhere near enough.

Joining Lee and Purser amongst the best players for the Hawks was Tupaea (18 points, 5 assists) and Jesse Dixon (13 points, 12 rebounds).

For Lakeside in defeat, they were led by Chris Sofoulis who scored 12 of his 19 point-haul from long range at 67%, Butler (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Jarrad Prue with 20 rebounds.

Speaking after the game, Hawks coach Dion Dagostino said: “The (fourth place) finish on the ladder has never really bothered us, once finals are around then anything can happen which did happen.”

“We beat Wanneroo once, they beat us once, so it will be a good game. Two very different teams up and down the court so we will have to think about that.”

Though disappointed to bow out in the semi finals, Lightning coach Andy Stewart said: “Having lost Payne, Amour and a couple of other injury concerns we knew we were pushing up hill but look we came out and fought like crazy and Perry Lakes were just too good.”

“They hit the shots when it mattered and we didn’t and that was obviously a very pleasing result for them and they played well they deserved it.”

Chris and Ryan Sofoulis ensured the home side made a great start with an 8-2 run inside the opening four minutes. Dixon, Lee and Tupaea though responded at the other end to keep the Hawks in the game.

The Hawks were able to fight back and led by four points (27-23) at the first break, while a competitive second quarter saw the scores tied away 46-all at the half time interval with Lee (14 points) and Chris Sofoulis (18 points) dominated the leading scorers lists for their respective teams.

Both Lee and Sofoulis were held well by their respective opponents in the third quarter, with Butler forced to step up for the Lightning and match the all-round efforts of Josh Garlepp.

A nail biting finish loomed as the buzzer for three quarter time sounded with Perry Lakes up by one point, 60-59, but the Hawks took control in the final period.

Article by Adam McBride at Lakeside Recreation Centre
Photo by Travis Hayto (Outerbounds Photography)

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