The Perth Redbacks remain undefeated at Belmont Oasis during the West Coast Classic with the women’s and men’s teams recording victories against the East Perth Eagles on Friday night.
While the results have been mixed for both Redbacks teams away from home, they are now four-from-four at Belmont Oasis following Friday night’s results against the Eagles.
It got underway with the women’s contest and with the Redbacks scoring 20 of the game’s 23 points, they cruised to the 81-48 victory with 17-year-old teen sensation Brooke Malone the star with 23 points and hitting 4/7 from three-point territory.
Then in the men’s encounter, the Redbacks had to fight hard to overcome a determined young Eagles but with Caleb White putting up 42 points, they prevailed 95-78.
The Redbacks women have had a remarkably up and down start to the 2020 West Coast Classic suffering 36 and 20-point losses to the Joondalup Wolves and Perry Lakes Hawks while now having recording wins by 33, 17 and 33 points over Mandurah, Cockburn and East Perth.
They hold a 3-2 record now with their first three rounds of the West Coast Classic done and dusted to see them still staying touch for a finals position which will only be made up of the top four teams, but coach Craig Allen knows more consistency is what’s needed.
“It’s interesting with the scores and I think part of it is the nature of this competition, as in there’s a lot of young kids playing etc,” Allen said after the game.
“For us in particular that inconsistency comes from young players stepping up into the group and trying to work out their role, and seeing how to play in a bit more of a structured environment than they are used to.
“I think that can count for a lot of our inconsistencies I think and probably the gaps between our performances in games. It’s about 100 per cent focus 100 per cent of the time, and that’s not what is happening.”
East Perth was looking to be more competitive on Friday night after putting up just 31 points in a 52-point loss to Mandurah last Saturday night, but helping those hopes was the return of Bree and Eryn Fisher for the Eagles.
It didn’t make an immediate difference, though, even though East Perth scored the first two points of the game thanks to Eryn Fisher. Jaide Gowland did hit a free-throw soon after but from there the Redbacks took control.
The home team scored the last 13 points straight in the first quarter to lead 20-3 by quarter-time before Fiona Madden stopped the run by scoring for East Perth to start the second period.
From there the Eagles did put up a good fight the rest of the way and the Redbacks were only gradually able to extend their lead throughout the evening.
The Redbacks’ lead was as much as 35 points before setting at 33 by the final buzzer and to their credit the Eagles would have been able to take something from the last three quarters of the game.
As for the Redbacks, it was recently turned 17-year-old teen sensation Brooke Malone who had a night out. She produced a stunning performance showing how bright her future is finishing with 23 points and six rebounds on 7/11 shooting from the floor and 4/7 from three-point territory.
Reigning Wandering Distillery SBL Shootaround Player of the Week Jess Jakens had another 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Redbacks too.
Sarah Allen added nine points too for Perth, Denielle Lipscombe eight points, nine rebounds and three assists, Briana Bailey seven points and three boards, Shenae Hartree seven points and three assists, and Maddie Allen four points to go with 11 rebounds and four assists.
Afterwards, the Redbacks coach was happy to win but knows there’s lot of improvement still needed from his group.
“You are always happy to win, there’s no doubt about, but going away from that game there is still a lot for us to work on which is the easiest way to say it,” Allen said.
“There’s a lot of things that we are looking for that we probably didn’t deliver in that game, we didn’t execute particularly well out of offensive sets and we didn’t create well for each other to be honest.
“There’s a few things that we want to be known for as a group that we probably didn’t execute that well in that game.”
The Redbacks men’s rollercoaster ride so far in the West Coast Classic continued at Belmont Oasis on Friday night as they beat the gutsy and exciting Eagles 95-78 largely on the back of running away with it in the third quarter with Caleb White unstoppable.
The win saw the Redbacks bounce back from last Saturday night’s 28-point loss to Perry Lakes which came 24 hours a 36-point win over the Cockburn Cougars. And that was after in Round 1, the Redbacks lost to the Joondalup Wolves by 18 points and then beat Mandurah by 11.
The longer the game unfolded, the more White proved the difference between the two teams but it wasn’t until the third quarter when the Redbacks were able to gap the Eagles.
Perth did lead by 28-20 at quarter-time with White draining a three on the buzzer but East Perth wasn’t going anywhere and by half-time the difference between the two teams was just four points.
Not only did the Redbacks catch fire offensively in the third quarter, they also locked down better on the Eagles to keep them to just the 13 points to set up the eventual win.
The Redbacks did go on to lead by as much as 22 points before ending up winning 95-78.
While happy enough to win against an East Perth team that continues to fight bravely and in many ways battle above their weight division, Jackson was frustrated with the first half performance before liking more of what he saw in the second half.
“In the second half I did see more of what I wanted to see,” Jackson said.
“In the first half I thought we gave up too much and our defence probably wasn’t as hard as I anticipated being against a young and energetic team.
“I thought they were taking it to us in the first half and I didn’t think we responded the way we could have responded with our defensive structure. But in the second half they got it.”
It was a standout game from Caleb White as he delivered the 42 points on another efficient shooting night going 14/20 from the field and 9/12 from deep.
“He is capable of putting up those type of numbers consistently and the thing that we want to try to do is that we want to make those points as easy as we can, and I think that a lot of those points came pretty easy off of the captain penetrating,” Jackson said.
“He got a lot of assists from a lot of different angles so I think it was pretty good. Caleb is picking his spots too so we kind of know where his spots are and he is doing a really good job at getting to those spots, and being ready to catch and shoot or to drive.
“He is pretty good when he drives too and he is pretty good inside, and he knows how to attack the rim as well as he does shoot.”
Having Joel Wagner running things for the Redbacks remains their biggest strength with the SBL’s all-time assists leader dishing out another eight dimes on Friday night.
Marshall Nelson also put up 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, and Tevin Jackson 12 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Looking back to last Saturday night, CJ Jackson was far from happy with the eventual 28-point loss to Perry Lakes on the back of 36-point hammering of Cockburn they dished out the night before on their home court.
While there might have been explanations for how well the Hawks played against the Redbacks including Joel Wagner and Zac Gattorna missing, and Marshall Nelson hampered by foul trouble, Jackson still came away disappointed.
“I think we got overenthusiastic about that game,” he said.
“I don’t think we had the leadership which was required and it was playing against a lot of the kids that you coached so they kind of know my structures because they had played under me.
“That meant they kind of knew where to go and what to do, and I think we just got outplayed last week which was kind of disappointing to me.”
It might be a remarkably different Geraldton Buccaneers team now that the Redbacks face on Saturday night back at Belmont Oasis from the side that won last year’s championship, including the loss of Liam Hunt last week to a devastating knee injury.
But Jackson is fully aware that if the Redbacks are to make it a double-win weekend that they need to tighten things up defensively.
“I think we really do need to tighten up our defence a little bit more,” Jackson said.
“I thought that even though we played a younger team from East Perth, they had a couple of guys who lit us up and we need to really look at tightening up those loose ends so that we don’t have a guy on the other team hitting 50 on us.
“That’s what we need to do now coming up against the Buccs because they have some players capable of doing that if we allow them to.”