Stars deliver big on massive night of action (Week 1 Saturday night SBL wrap)
IT WAS a massive night of SBL action on Saturday and it included Deanna Smith piling on 38 points for the Cockburn Cougars while there was a triple-double, a 30-rebound performance and a 40-point game as just some of the starring performances in the five men's matches.
The women's matches on Saturday saw the Cockburn Cougars beat the Lakeside Lightning 91-73 at Lakeside Recreation Centre, the Rockingham Flames defeat the East Perth Eagles 95-64 at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre and the Stirling Senators beat the Perth Redbacks 62-44 at Curtin University Stadium.
There were then also five SBL matches with the Willetton Tigers thrashing the Goldfields Giants 114-76 at Willetton Basketball Stadium, the South West Slammers downing the Geraldton Buccaneers 118-12 at Eaton Recreation Centre and the Lakeside Lightning defeating the Cockburn Cougars 100-91 at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
The Rockingham Flames beat the defending champion East Perth Eagles in a thriller 85-81 at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre, and the Stirling Senators won a tough battle with the Perth Redbacks 84-72 at Curtin University Stadium.
The Cougars' women might have lost Marita Payne, Sam Richards and Emma Pass coming into the 2015 season, but playing-coach Deanna Smith showed on Saturday night that she will be doing everything in her power to try and cover their production.
Not only did she coach the Cougars to an 18-point win over a Lightning team who played off in last year's grand final, but put together a remarkable game herself with 38 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals while shooting 11-of-18 from the field, and 5-of-8 from three-point territory.
Taryn Priestly added 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Cockburn with Chelsea Evans scoring 11 points and dishing out four assists while Nicole Pitcher finished with 10 points and four boards.
Ashleigh Grant did all she could to keep the Lightning close to the Cougars and finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds with Courtney Byrnes adding 19 points, four boards and four assists, and Christian Shelter 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lightning men got their season off to a winning start at home on Saturday night with a nine-point win over the Cougars.
Jarrad Prue might have come off the bench for Lakeside, but the star veteran didn’t fail to deliver a remarkable performance with eight points, 26 rebounds, three steals and two assists in 37 minutes of court time.
Brad Jackson also provided 12 points and seven assists off the bench but as for Lakeside's starters, there was plenty of production there too with Luke Thomas contributing 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Jordan Swing added 23 points, five rebounds and four assists with Corey Martin ending up with 13 points, five boards and four assists, and Jesse Dixon 12 points.
Gavin Field will have to carry a large burden with the Cougars following a host of departures in the off-season, and he didn’t fail to deliver his best on Saturday night with 34 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.
However, he didn’t get enough support with only Najee Lane joining him scoring in double-figures with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Slammers and Buccaneers both opened their seasons with a terrific, high-scoring battle on Saturday night with the home team South West ending up prevailing by six points after trailing by seven at half-time.
The Slammers piled on 42 points to 24 in a remarkable third quarter and then survived 36 points from the Buccs in the final period to record the win.
Playing-coach Ty Harrelson led the way for the Slammers with 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists in his first SBL match since receiving his SBL citizenship.
Clive Weeden is also now a local player as well and he finished with 21 points, five rebounds and three assists while new imports Brian Voelkel (14 points, 21 rebounds, 11 assists) and Tre Nichols (21 points, five assists, three boards) also provide plenty of punch.
Jordan Hickert provided 12 points off the bench with Trent Worthington also added nine points.
Bennie Lewis had a huge game for the Buccaneers with 43 points and five rebounds while shooting 15-of-26 from the floor.
Quincy Hankins-Cole added 20 points and six rebounds with Carter Cook contributing 19 points and seven boards, and the returning Daniel Thomas 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Willetton got its 2015 season under new coach Alan Black off to an emphatic start with a 38-point win at home over the Giants on Saturday night.
It was the new signings that Black has made that made all the impact for the Tigers as well with Kyle Armour leading the way with 22 points, eight assists, four steals and four rebounds while shooting 8-of-16 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point territory.
Damien Scott had a good debut with Willetton scoring 21 points to go with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals while Corey Easley contributed 18 points off the bench.
Ephrem Davis also had 15 points, 15 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals with Hayden Noordhoek contributing 10 points and five boards from the bench.
It was a tough season-opener for the Giants despite22 points and six rebounds from Jacob Holmen, and 18 points from Jay Bowie.
The Senators then also opened their 2015 season on a winning note beating the Redbacks at Curtin by 12 points.
Cody Ellis showed that he is ready to take the SBL by storm this season fresh off his first full year in the NBL with the Sydney Kings, and he had 34 points, 17 rebounds, three steals and two assists in the win for Stirling.
Austin Bruton offered good support with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists with Kyle Lindbergh also adding 13 points and eight boards.
New import Ray Turner did all he could for the Redbacks in a simply remarkable performance to finish with 32 points and 30 rebounds.
Fellow import Marshall Brown finished with 13 points and eight boards but no other Redbacks players scored in double-figures despite Joel Wagner playing well with five points, seven rebounds and six assists.
SATURDAY WOMEN'S SBL MATCHES
Lakeside Lightning 73 lost to Cockburn Cougars 91
East Perth Eagles 64 lost to Rockingham Flames 95
Perth Redbacks 44 lost to Stirling Senators 62
SATURDAY MEN'S SBL MATCHES
Willetton Tigers 114 defeated Goldfields Giants 76
South West Slammers 118 defeated Geraldton Buccaneers 112
Lakeside Lightning 100 defeated Cockburn Cougars 91
East Perth Eagles 81 lost to Rockingham Flames 85
Perth Redbacks 72 lost to Stirling Senators 84
Article by Chris Pike
Photo by Mick Cronin