THE Perth Redbacks head to Lakeside Recreation Centre on Saturday evening to take on the Lakeside Lightning in the last game of the West Coast Classic with a chance for both teams still reach the finals.
While both teams from the Redbacks can still reach the finals weekend in the West Coast Classic coming into the last round, the women will need some other results to go their own way while the men have destiny in their own hands.
But first things first and the Redbacks women and men just have to win their games against the Lightning on Saturday and then see what happens in the bigger picture after that.
The women’s contest between the Redbacks and Lightning tips off at Lakeside Recreation Centre at 5pm with the men’s game then to follow at 7pm.
The big night at Lakeside Recreation Centre gets underway with the women’s clash between the Redbacks and Lightning with both teams needing to win the game to be any chance of being in the finals hunt still.
Quite simply, the winner of the game is a strong chance to move on to the semi finals next Friday night but only if the Perry Lakes Hawks lose at the same time against the Cockburn Cougars at Bendat Basketball Centre.
Perry Lakes currently sits in fourth position a game ahead of both the Lightning and Redbacks.
So if the Lady Hawks win their game against a Cougars team coming off a Friday night defeat to the Willetton Tigers, then the battle is all over and it’s Perry Lakes who will make the finals and the Lightning and Redbacks will suddenly just be playing for fifth position.
But should the Cougars manage to beat the Hawks, then that’s when things really get interesting.
The winner between the Redbacks and Lightning will join Perry Lakes on a 7-4 record so percentage will determine who finishes ahead with the Redbacks currently having a superior percentage while the Lightning’s is slightly below.
The Kalamunda Eastern Suns are then the smokies too and if they beat the Mandurah Magic by enough to boost their percentage, they could leapfrog them all into fourth too. But again it all comes down to what Perry Lakes does against Cockburn first of all.
The Redbacks women had the bye last weekend and prior to that had suffered agonisingly tight defeats at the hands of top three teams the Warwick Senators and Rockingham Flames.
They beat the Suns by two points in between and prior to that had won three games in-a-row to put themselves in the finals hunt.
The frontcourt at the Redbacks has been their great strength with Maddie Allen putting up 10.7 points, 12.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists a game while Jess Jakens has been brilliant too with 17.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.
The young backcourt has shown exciting signs too including Bri Bailey (7.9 points, 2.8 assists), Brooke Malone (8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds), Shenae Hartree (8.7 points, 4.0 boards), Chanah Crugnale (5.1 points, 2.6 rebounds) and the experienced Denielle Lipscombe (6.6 points, 5.5 boards, 3.4 assists).
But it’s a talented Lightning opponent for the Redbacks to try and overcome on Saturday night even if they did lose twice last weekend to the Joondalup Wolves and Warwick Senators.
But any team that includes Ash Isenbarger, Courtney Mansfield and Ellyce Ironmonger will always be tough especially with their exciting young talent including Kyrah Daniels, Mia Jacobs, Jae Flynn and Olivia Waight.
It’s then time for the men’s clash between the Redbacks and Lightning at Lakeside Recreation Centre, and again all is pretty much on the line for both clubs in their last games of the West Coast Classic regular season.
The Redbacks come into the contest on an impressive three-game winning streak including a hard fought win in Kalgoorlie last Saturday night against the Goldfields Giants.
That sees the Redbacks improve to a 9-3 record in the West Coast Classic to sit in third position on the standings so destiny remains in their hands coming into Saturday’s game against Lakeside.
Very simply, should the Redbacks beat the Lightning then they are guaranteed of being there in the semi-final match ups next Friday night to determine who will play in Sunday night’s Grand Final at Bendat Basketball Centre.
However, Lakeside won’t be in the mood to hand anything the Redbacks way or indeed to give up on their own hopes of reaching the finals and with Michael Vigor in their line-up as a championship winner with Perth in 1997, there’s some added feeling in the clash.
The Lightning are still a chance to play finals as well coming into the last round. They split their games against the Joondalup Wolves and Warwick Senators last weekend to now sit in fifth position at 8-4.
A win on Saturday night for the Lightning and whether or not they or the Redbacks play finals will come down to percentage.
Right now there is a three percentage edge for the Lightning over the Redbacks so that might they need to win around the 15-point range to leapfrog the Redbacks to earn a finals spot.
But the Redbacks can take that out of the equation just by winning the game to lock in a final spot which would be a great result for this squad under CJ Jackson as coach.