It has been a longer than expected wait for the Redbacks to get to play at home this season with the last two weeks postponed in the league thanks to NBL1 West, but the time finally arrived on Saturday night at Belmont Oasis up against the arch-rival Perry Lakes Hawks.
The evening got underway with the men’s contest up first and unfortunately for the Redbacks men, it was the Perry Lakes Hawks who backed up their strong start to the season in the opening round with another road victory on Saturday night, this time beating Perth by 45 points.
Perry Lakes opened its NBL1 West season back in Round 1 with a road win in Kalgoorlie against the Goldfields Giants while the Redbacks were looking to bounce back from a tough first up performance away to the Warwick Senators.
But it was the Hawks who shot out of the blocks quickly despite the Redbacks being at home at Belmont Oasis for the first-ever time for an NBL1 West match up.
Perry Lakes led 27 points to 15 by quarter-time and didn’t let up the rest of the way, in fact only putting their foot down more and more as the evening unfolded eventually running out 96-51 victors on the night.
If anything summed up the gap between the two teams the most it was the three-point shooting. Perry Lakes caught fire from deep going at 16/37 on the night at 43 per cent while Perth managed to hit just 2/24 at eight per cent.
For the Redbacks it was great to see new recruit Louis Timms up and going early in the season. For the second game in a row he top-scored with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals.
The league’s all-time assists leader Joel Wagner played his first game of the season as well for 12 points, four rebounds and two assists with Zac Gattorna adding nine points, five boards, two assists and two steals.
Lachlan Bertram added seven points and eight rebounds for the Redbacks and Tevin Jackson four points, four boards and three assists.
It was then time for the Women’s contest on Saturday night and it was Perry Lakes with a thrilling four-point win on the road to the Redbacks.
The Lady Hawks had the bye in the opening round of the season with their men playing in Kalgoorlie as they came up against a Redbacks team who debuted three weeks ago, beating the Warwick Senators on the road.
Megan McKay gave Perry Lakes the fast start as she hit her team’s first seven points before fellow WNBL big Nat Burton joined in on the fun.
Sarah Donovan then gave the Hawks a 17-8 edge but Sarah Allen and then Makailah Dyer kept the Redbacks close by quarter-time to cut Perry Lakes’ lead to 22-18 after one.
The Hawks were again able to pull away to a nine-point lead early in the second quarter before Jess Jakens steadied the Redbacks with a bucket on the back of a Dyer steal.
However, Perry Lakes triples from Maddie Dennis and Morgan Ballantyne saw the lead grow to 14 points again heading towards half-time before a Dyer three-point play steadied the ship for the home team.
Allen and Dyer then knocked down three balls, and Dyer connected on two free throws and suddenly it was just a four-point game again with the Hawks ending up going into half-time up 44-37.
Dyer then nailed another three to give the Redbacks the perfect start to the second half but the presence of Burton and McKay inside for Perry Lakes was proving dominant as they again took their team out to a lead in double-figures.
This time it was Raya Thompson and Jakens who got the Redbacks back in touch but Perry Lakes still led by seven at three-quarter-time thanks to a late three from Dennis.
Another triple from Dennis started the fourth period too to put Perry Lakes back up 10 but the Redbacks once again made a game of it thanks to a 7-0 run courtesy of Jakens and Dyer.
It was a three-point game with five minutes to go but McKay put the Hawks back up five and then Dennis stretched it back to seven although the Redbacks would make one last run.
Thompson hit a bucket to bring the margin back to two with two minutes on the clock, but it was McKay with the answer for Perry Lakes and that proved the last score of the game as they held on to win 74-70.
Makailah Dyer was once again outstanding for the Redbacks with 23 points, six assists and three steals while hitting 4/8 from three-point range.
Jess Jakens added 19 points and 13 rebounds with Raya Thompson finishing with 12 points, three steals and two boards.
Maddie Allen racked up four points and 11 rebounds as well for the Redbacks with Sarah Allen adding seven points and two assists.
The first Redbacks home game each season doubles as the Len Vlahov Memorial game with the Redbacks MVP from each game on the being awarded the Len Vlahov Memorial trophy. For the men, this was Kyden Edman for his consistent effort and energy on the defensive end all game. For the women, it was Mak Dyer who took home the award for her top scoring effort.
The Redbacks next play at home this coming Friday 14 May against the East Perth Eagles. The women’s game will tip off at 6.30pm with the men at 8.30pm.
All images courtesy of Sports Imagery