Both Perth Redbacks women’s and men’s teams had just the one game to play in Round 14 of the NBL1 West season and that saw them at home to the Lakeside Lightning on Saturday with plenty at stake.
With a series of double-headers on the horizon, wins on ‘single game’ weekends like last weekend are becoming increasingly important as the business end of the season approaches. So it was great to see both teams come away with the W – the women beating the Lightning 84-62 while the men backed it up also impressively beating Lakeside 89-77 to continue their winning ways.
Starting with the women’s match up, for three quarters little separated the two teams and it was a tight and tense battle. The Lightning welcomed back Perth Lynx player Emma Clarke to provide a big body and important experience, and that helped them stick with the Redbacks throughout the opening three quarters.
Scores were tied by quarter-time before the Redbacks put up 26 points to 21 in the second quarter to see them lead the Lightning 41-36 by the half-time break.
Lakeside stuck with Perth further in the third quarter to cut the deficit to just three points by three quarter-time, but it was all the Redbacks in the fourth period as they piled on 27 points while holding the Lightning to just eight to end up winning 84-62.
The result improves the Redbacks to an 8-6 record on the season to finish the round in fifth spot and maintaining touch with the top four.
Neither team shot the ball all that well meaning there were plenty of rebounds to go around with the Redbacks pulling in 67 of them to 50 from the Lightning.
Ultimately the difference was that shooting especially from beyond the arc with Perth able to knock down 12/34 at 35 per cent while the Lightning only managed 6/41 at 15 per cent.
Makailah Dyer was a strong performer once again for the Redbacks to continue her impressive form with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, but it was Bri Bailey who top-scored with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists while hitting 7/17 from downtown.
Denielle Ashworth contributed 12 points, five rebounds and three steals, Jess Jakens 11 points, eight boards and four assists, Shenae Hartree eight points and five rebounds, and Maddie Allen six points, 17 boards, six assists and three blocked shots.
On to the men’s match up which saw two of the competition’s form teams going head to head. Even with both missing some key players, it set the stage for a tremendous contest.
The Redbacks came into the game having won their past three matches to be knocking on the door of a top-four spot while the Lightning had knocked off the Perry Lakes Hawks the previous night to move into top spot with their sixth win in a row.
The Lightning did arrive at Belmont Oasis on Saturday without the services of three key players, however – Jarrad Prue, Jay Bowie and Corey Shervill. Meanwhile Redbacks were without prolific scorer Marshall Nelson. And it would be the Lightning who covered better for their missing stars in the opening half to lead 21-20 by quarter-time.
They then pulled away further in the second quarter with 28 points to just 20 from Perth and that saw the visitors leading 49-40 by the half-time interval.
The Redbacks needed to respond, and they did so to put together a dominant second half beginning with 24 points to 18 in the third quarter as they closed their deficit to three by three-quarter-time.
Perth was able to run over top of Lakeside from there in the fourth quarter with 25 points to 10 to end up with the critical and impressive 89-77 win on their home floor.
The win means that the Redbacks have now won four games in a row and eight of their past nine to be knocking on the door of a top-four position with a 10-5 record.
The Lightning might have won the rebound battle even without Jarrad Prue 48 to 40 but the Redbacks were able to force Lakeside into 19 turnovers while turning it over just the 12 times themselves.
In the absence of Marshall Nelson, Zac Gattorna came up huge on the scoring front for the Redbacks putting up 32 points, eight rebounds and three assists on the back of shooting 12/21 from the floor and 5/9 from beyond the three-point line.
Louis Timms contributed strongly too for Perth with 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals while Joel Wagner put up 11 points, seven assists and five boards, Tevin Jackson 11 points, five assists and four rebounds, and Kyden Edman nine points, six boards, three assists and three steals.
The Redbacks women now have a weekend off as the men travel to Geraldton for a Saturday match up with the Buccs.