Round 3 of the SBL Wheelchair League East Perth spread their wings as they tame the Cougars at the Nest, whilst the Joondalup Wheelpack put the league on notice before the series heads north.
JOONDALUP 86 – MANDURAH 59
After having mixed results in Round 2, both these teams headed to Mirrabooka on Thursday night, looking to challenge for top spot on the ladder. Joondalup coming off a surprising loss against Cockburn the week before, were again without Amber Merritt who was battling an injury after returning from Australian duty.
Mandurah had put on a shooting clinic the week before, but the combination of Shaun Norris and Michael Hartnett were quick to show that they weren’t there to mess around.
Joondalup taking a strong lead into the half-time break, with Shaun Norris teasing a little of what he can produce, whilst Mandurah were finding it difficult to get their easy looks to fall.
After the main break though, it was lights out from there. Norris finished the game with a monster 56 points and although Taishar Ovens and Michael Hartnett split 4 points between them, you would have been silly to ignore the immense screening clinic they put on to get Norris into positions.
WOLVES: Norris 56, Ovens, 2, Hartnett 2
MAGIC: Pike 27, Radovich 14, Turner 10
EAST PERTH 71 – COCKBURN 65
Heading home to the Eagles Nest and still searching for their first win of the season, the young Eagles were going up against the Cougars who appeared too quick for their opponents in the first 2 rounds.
The game saw 5 of the players who won the Junior National Championships with WA, in April- Thomas McHugh, Mary Friday and Joel Herbert (East Perth) as well as Andrew Dewberry and Ben Moncrieff (Cockburn).
Calming the group from the start, Jake Kavanagh kept his team in check offensively as they applied some aggressive defensive pressure. Herbert and Friday working in transition to free up their shooters, whilst the 2 WSBL players did the honours for their team as the trio of Dewberry, Morich and Moncrieff battled back for Cockburn.
By the end of the 3rd, East Perth had weathered the barrage and kept an 8 point buffer with Friday knocking down 10 points and Herbert doing his job from the line. The Cougars kept on attacking though, bringing the game back to 2 with just over 2 minutes to play. The final minutes though lived up to the show East Perth had put on for the round. Williamson knocking down a long 2 from the 45 with 1:54 to go to take it to 67-63, before 2 successive steals in the last minute by Morich, gave Cockburn a chance to take back the lead, but they just couldn’t find a way to convert near the death.
EAGLES: McHugh 23, Kavanagh 18, Williamson 16
COUGARS: Dewberry 23, Morich 18, Moncrieff 18, Muir 6, Huggett 4
This week we head out to Joondalup as the Wolfpack (Wheelpack) host their first round. Our thanks to Cameron Britt and the Wolves for being a part of this league. The Wolves have a strong history with wheelchair basketball, as some former Wolves coaches have also worked across the Australian wheelchair programs.