The Perth Redbacks remain unstoppable at Belmont Oasis during the West Coast Classic with two impressive and empathic wins against the South West Slammers in Round 5 on Saturday night.
The Redbacks opened up their double-header for Round 5 in the West Coast Classic in the best possible way against two Slammers teams who had thrown everything into their home games on Friday night.
Both the Slammers men and women had played impressive games at Eaton Recreation Centre on Friday night against Lakeside Lightning opponents they might not have been expected to get overly close to.
But in the end, Lakeside’s women were only able to beat South West 77-58 in a competitive contest and then the Slammers men delivered a stunning comeback and looked to have done enough to win the game, before the Lightning snatched a 62-61 victory.
What that meant was that the Redbacks couldn’t afford to take the Slammers lightly at Belmont Oasis on Saturday night with both Perth teams needing to continue to win to stay in the finals race in the West Coast Classic.
The evening’s action began with the women’s contest and after scores were tied at 2-2, the Redbacks took over beginning with a triple from Bri Bailey. She added another soon after to make it 12-2 after four minutes.
Former Redback Bianca Donovan did hit a triple of her own to try and steady the Slammers, but Maddie Allen then scored inside out of a timeout and then heading towards quarter-time Ella Thornton-Elliott drained a triple to put the home team up 17.
Chanah Crugnale made it 19 and the Redbacks went on to lead 35-10 by the end of the first.
Brooke Malone opened the second period knocking down a three and then after Ebony Bilcich scored for the Slammers, the Redbacks went on a 19-0 run to see them lead 57-12 before a steadying bucket for the visitors from Zara Black.
However, the Redbacks responded with the last six points of the quarter to put up 29 to four for the period to lead 64-14 by half-time.
From there, the Redbacks cruised to the victory with another 24 points to 11 in the third quarter, and 23 to nine in the fourth to end up winning 111-34 and to improve to 5-2 on the season.
That now sets up a tantalising match up on Sunday for the Redbacks women at Warwick Stadium against a Warwick Senators team holding a 3-1 record after beating the Cockburn Cougars on Friday night.
There was plenty to like from the performance of the Redbacks with the coaching job done by Michelle Fletcher for the game.
Shenae Hartree ended up top-scoring with 16 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals while Jess Jakens had another 15 points, four boards and three assists while only playing 19 minutes.
Bri Bailey put up 14 points as well with Ella Thornton-Elliott contributing 14 points, five rebounds and three steals, Brooke Malone 14 points and nine boards, and Maddie Allen 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a stunning triple-double racked up in under 21 minutes.
Chanah Crugnale also scored nine points, three rebounds and two steals for the Redbacks, Denielle Lipscombe seven points, eight rebounds and four assists, Brooke Rebel six points and five boards, Nakia Bowen two points, two rebounds and two assists, Mckayhla Pomare two points and two assists, and Sarah Allen one point, two rebounds and a steal.
The Slammers men then had every right to arrive at Belmont Oasis on Saturday night expecting a strong showing after going ever so close to pulling off what would have been a significant upset on their home floor against Lakeside the night before.
But the Redbacks were fresh and waiting for their first game of the weekend and knowing they can’t afford a slip up if they want to stay in the finals race, and to try and break into the top four.
The Slammers, though, started encouragingly and led on a couple of occasions early thanks to five quick Brody England points and then a bucket from Alastair Ishigami-Sims, and another inside from Mitch Keller.
The Redbacks answered with the next six points, though, and then the last six of the opening quarter to be up 29-19 by quarter-time.
Perth certainly never reached top gear, but still managed to stretch its lead by half-time to 15 points.
Coach CJ Jackson would have wanted more, though, against the young and understandably weary Slammers, and he got that in the third quarter with the Redbacks piling on 31 points to 14.
The Redbacks would end up scoring 11 straight points and lead by as much as 40 in the second half before settling on the 93-55 victory to improve to 6-2 on the season ahead of what could be a season-defining match with the Warwick Senators at Warwick Stadium on Sunday.
Perth did well to limit the Redbacks to shooting 2/23 from three-point land on the night while only sending them to the foul line seven times and forcing them into seven turnovers.
Marshall Nelson top-scored for the Redbacks with 18 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists while Caleb White finished with 17 points and three steals, and Ezra Nikora 11 points.
Derek Igbenoba added 11 points and six rebounds too for the Redbacks in just nine minutes while Tevin Jackson had 10 points, seven boards, three assists and three steals, Ethan Vlahov eight points and Kyden Edman six to go with four rebounds.
Bang Majok also had four points, Matt Giorgi three points and an assist, and Michael Riley three rebounds, three assists and a big block.