Week 3 Saturday night Men's SBL results
RAY Turner and Jacob Holmen returned to lead the Goldfields Giants and Willetton Tigers respectively to big wins while Alex Loughton signed off from the Perth Redbacks victorious on a monster night in the Men's SBL on Saturday.
Week 3 of the Men's SBL competition began on Friday night with the Lakeside Lightning winning a tight one over the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and the Perry Lakes Hawks storming home to beat the defending champion Cockburn Cougars 97-90.
It was then a huge night with six matches starting with the Willetton Tigers beating the Geraldton Buccaneers 95-83 at Active West Stadium and the Goldfields Giants defeating the Mandurah Magic 100-69 at Neils Hansen Basketball Stadium.
The East Perth Eagles defeated the South West Slammers 86-75, the Joondalup Wolves beat the Rockingham Flames 92-62 at Joondalup Basketball Stadium, the Cockburn Cougars downed the Stirling Senators 84-68 at Warwick Stadium and the Perth Redbacks prevailed over the Kalamunda Eastern Suns 103-86 at Ray Owen Sports Centre.
The Buccs and Tigers were two semi finalists from last year setting up a fascinating contest in Geraldton last year. The Buccaneers had started the season impressively with three wins while the Tigers were looking to bounce back from a loss at home to the Cougars last Friday.
The Tigers started well on the road and despite a strong Buccs comeback in the third quarter, they pulled away for the 12-point road win to hand the Buccaneers their first defeat of 2017.
There had been talk that former MVP Ray Turner would be out several more weeks for Willetton with his knee injury, but he made the trip for Saturday night and starred on debut for the Tigers.
He finished with 32 points and 20 rebounds in a performance reminiscent of what he delivered for the Redbacks back in 2015 when he was the league's MVP.
Offsetting the return of Turner was the absence of Jay Bowie, but Kyle Armour stepped up for 23 points and six rebounds while Nic Cody added 14 points and four boards, Damien Scott 11 points and four assists, and Lachie Evans nine points.
Dwayne Benjamin had another good game for the Buccs finishing with 26 points and five rebounds with Mo Barrow contributing 20 points and seven boards.
Aaron Ralph also had 16 points for the Buccaneers and Matthew Hancock nine points.
The Giants opened their account for 2017 under new coach Lou Causer. They set up the win over the also winless Magic with 33 points to 16 in the first quarter and were never seriously threatened going on to win by 31.
Jacob Holmen's return inspired Goldfields to the win as he finished with 37 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Fellow import JB Pillard added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Giants while Luke Pike contributed 11 points and six boards and Nathan Burrow 10 points and four rebounds.
Taylor Mullenax again top-scored for Mandurah with 18 points and seven rebounds with new import guard Will McNeill having 11 points, five steals and three assists on debut.
The Eagles continued their strong start to the season and kept the Slammers winless with an 11-point win at Eaton Recreation Centre even without Mason Bragg.
Drew Williamson showed he is far from a spent force in the SBL starring for the Eagles with 30 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals on shooting 12-of-22 from the floor and 3-of-6 from downtown.
Kevin Davis played his second game for East Perth and had 14 points with playing coach Joe-Alan Tupaea adding 10 points and four rebounds and Dennis Tawhiti nine points and seven boards.
The Slammers are still without Brian Voelkel who has yet to receive the all clear to return.
Michael Lay still had 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals, Tre Nichols 21 points, nine boards and seven assists, Teny Puot 10 points, Chris Douglas nine points and 11 rebounds, Clive Weeden eight points and six boards, and Travis Durnin six points and four rebounds.
But it's the all-round game and hustle of Voelkel that they are missing.
The Cougars would have been left flat after losing the previous night at home to the Hawks after holding a big lead, but they responded well beating the Senators at Warwick Stadium by 16 points after leading 50-33 at half-time.
Jalen Billups top-scored for Cockburn with 20 points and 10 rebounds but he had plenty of help with Lochlan Cummings finishing with 17 points, Gavin Field 16 points, nine boards and seven assists, Seva Chan 13 points and six assists, and Rhett Della 12 points.
Stirling was without point guard Corban Wroe and still without their yet to be signed import replacement for Kyle Lindbergh. They struggled as a result despite 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Rhys Vague.
Cody Ellis also had 12 points and four rebounds for the Senators and Ash Litterick 12 points and six boards.
The Wolves proved too strong for the young Flames at Joondalup Basketball Stadium including holding them to five third quarter points on the way to the 30-point victory.
The Wolfpack remained unbeaten this season with the result led by 20 points from Trian Iliadis who also had five assists and four rebounds.
Richard Ross added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Joondalup, Seb Salinas 13 points and seven boards, Wade Guerin 12 points and Rob Huntington nine points and six rebounds.
Ryan Godfrey top-scored for Rockingham with 15 points and six assists with Donovan Jack contributing 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jarryd Griffin 10 points and eight boards.
Then at Ray Owen Sports Centre, the Redbacks remained undefeated this season after four games with Alex Loughton in the line-up beating the Eastern Suns by 17 points.
The game started ominously with it taking just four seconds for Shawn Redhage to take the ball from the tip-off, score an easy lay-up and convert the three-point play.
The Redbacks threatened to hammer the Suns in the first half and the danger signs were there at half-time with them leading by 25 points.
Perth never took the foot off the gas in the second half either, but the young Kalamunda line-up fought valiantly and outscored the Redbacks 51-43 after half-time to cut the final losing margin to 17.
Redhage again top-scored for the Redbacks with 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Ben Smith hit three triples for 14 points with Joel Wagner also hitting three from downtown for 11 points and nine assists.
Young gun Kyle Bowen added 12 points and 10 rebounds also for Perth.
Loughton finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in what will be his last game with the Redbacks after what was a successful stint.
Straight after the game he headed off for a family holiday to Japan before he will return to Cairns. He has enjoyed the experience back in Perth and the SBL over the past month.
"It was a good mental break for myself to just really change it up and it was a really positive experience," Loughton said.
"It was all about keeping active during the off-season and it fit the bill as a fill-in role before Michael Vigor gets in town. But it was also about helping the club implement some culture values and I think a lot of the guys responded and we had a lot of positivity out of it. It was a successful trip."
Courtney Belger top-scored for the Eastern Suns with 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Tim Squire added 13 points and four rebounds for Kalamunda, Ryan Blanchett 12 points and seven boards, Brighton Pass eight points, Jake Correia eight points and Nathan Drown seven.
Eastern Suns coach Michael Clarke was proud of the fight shown by his group in the second half.
"I really liked the second half and that was the make or break for me. If we drop our heads and roll over like perhaps teams of the past have done, that's just not acceptable for us now," Clarke said.
"I'm always pleasantly relieved when I see our guys go out there and continue to fight and claw back against a team that is pretty good. We have to take it seriously that we never give up for ourselves, for our supporters and for our kids around here. That's a fundamental tenant of what we're about."
FRIDAY NIGHT ROUND 3 MEN'S SBL RESULTS
Lakeside Lightning 92 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 87
Cockburn Cougars 90 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 97
SATURDAY NIGHT ROUND 3 MEN'S SBL RESULTS
Geraldton Buccaneers 83 lost to Willetton Tigers 95
Goldfields Giants 100 defeated Mandurah Magic 69
South West Slammers 75 lost to East Perth Eagles 86
Joondalup Wolves 92 defeated Rockingham Flames 62
Stirling Senators 68 lost to Cockburn Cougars 84
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 86 lost to Perth Redbacks 103
Photo by Vikki Hile