THE final round of National Basketball League (NBL1) West was completed over the weekend with Perry Lakes Hawks taking out top spot on the ladder for the men’s competition, while Willetton Tigers reigned supreme in the women’s.
The top four contest between Lakeside Lightning and Willetton Tigers went down to the wire with the Lightning just getting over the line by a mere two points (97-95). It was a gruelling encounter between the two sides with neither side willing to take a backwards step, previewing what is going to be an exciting finals campaign.
The Lightning got off to a blistering start pouring on 35 points to 28, signalling their intent from the opening quarter. Rowan Mackenzie was determined to make his presence felt with his playmaking skills and ability to convert while teammate Jack Isenbarger also chimed in throughout the term. Holding a handy seven-point lead at quarter time, the lead blew out to as much as 12 points midway through the term before things started to tighten up with the Tigers upping the ante in defence while keeping things ticking over in attack.
Despite mounting somewhat of a comeback in the second term, Lakeside Lightning managed to remain cool, calm and collected. It took just under a minute for Isenbarger to add to the Lightning’s total pushing it back out to 10 points with the home side determined to keep their foot on the pedal. Willetton continued to make a run at them, but the Lightning seemed to have an answer for just about everything heading into three quarter time up by 11 points. But the Tigers dug deep and showcased why they are a top four side, coming out guns blazing in the final term to create some chaos. With momentum swinging their way and a real desire for the contest the Tigers piled on both the offensive and defensive pressure but fell agonisingly short.
It is no surprise that Isenbarger led the way with his 34 points including six triples from nine attempts. He did not stop there though as he managed two assists and two steals in the win. Kyle Armour was the next most proficient with ball in hand registering 20 points albeit at a lowly 36 per cent. He also managed six assists and a steal in his 35 minutes of court time. Mackenzie also chimed in with a handy 18 points, two assists and two steals, while Tom Parkinson also got busy producing 14 points and nine rebounds just falling short of a double-double.
For the Tigers it was Damien Scott that topped the leaderboard with his 26 points, shooting at 50 per cent from the field. He also managed four rebounds and four assists, while Connor Mincherton was hot on his heels with 25 points and seven rebounds all of which were defensive in the narrow loss. Thomas Gerovich made his presence felt in his 20 minutes on court registering 12 points and seven rebounds, as teammate Michael Vigor also produced 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Willetton Tigers (103) defeated Geraldton Buccaneers (42)
Perth Redbacks (70) defeated by Cockburn Cougars (96)
Perry Lakes Hawks (97) defeated Warwick Senators (88)
East Perth Eagles (81) defeated Eastern Suns (55)
Mandurah Magic (93) defeated Lakeside Lightning (74)
Rockingham Flames (96) defeated Joondalup Wolves (85)
Perth Redbacks (94) defeated Goldfields Giants (79)
Lakeside Lightning (97) defeated Willetton Tigers (95)
Joondalup Wolves (94) defeated by Geraldton Buccaneers (100)
Cockburn Cougars (101) defeated South West Slammers (59)
Joondalup secured a narrow eight-point over Rockingham Flames with both sides competing har throughout the contest. It was relatively even from the opening term with the only outlier the third, where the Wolves pulled away and ultimately set up the win.
The Flames made the first move with Christina Boag hitting the scoreboard before the Wolves kicked into gear. They started to control the flow of the game in attack but each time they created some breathing room Rockingham found a way to level the scores. There was only one point the difference at quarter time and that tit for tat style continued into the second quarter with both sides refusing to make life easy for one another.
The third quarter, otherwise known as the premiership quarter was where the real magic happened with the Wolves asserting their dominance, pouring on a whopping 21 points while keeping the Flames to just nine. Neseya Parker-Williams came to life throughout the term with her hustle and drive to the basket as Joondalup opened up a 13-point lead. Rockingham fought back in the final term outscoring the Wolves 24 to 18 but they left their run too late.
Alexandra Ciabattoni was in fine form for the Flames sinking a game high 22 points along with eight rebounds eight of which were defensive. Tayah Burrows was not far off the pace with her 20 points in 39 minutes as Boag chimed in with 15 points and a whopping 14 rebounds, plus six steals showcasing her impact up both ends of the court.
Kayla Steindl was the real game changer for the Wolves producing a game-high 26 points at 50 per cent from the field. She also accumulated 11 rebounds and four assists in the win. Georgia Denehey was also active with her 16 points and three rebounds as Amber Land made her presence known sinking 10 points, five rebounds and one steal in the win. Parker-Williams also had a solid outing recording nine points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Perth Redbacks (77) defeated Cockburn Cougars (65)
Perry Lakes Hawks (87) defeated by Warwick Senators (92)
East Perth Eagles (61) defeated by Eastern Suns (72)
Mandurah Magic (82) defeated Lakeside Lightning (64)
Rockingham Flames (69) defeated Joondalup Wolves (77)
Cockburn Cougars (88) defeated South West Slammers (55)
Photo credit: Erin Tuckey