Basketball: Willetton Tigers bundled out of competition

Willetton’s Stacey Barr surrounded by defenders.
Willetton’s Stacey Barr surrounded by defenders.

WILLETTON Tigers’ men’s and women’s teams have their seasons ended at Willeton Basketball Stadium after losing 2-0 in their respective best of three finals series.

The men’s side went down 101-92 to a powerful Perth Redbacks outfit, while the women’s team were well beaten 90-62 by Perry Lakes Hawks.

Men’s coach Stephen Black and women’s coach Simon Parker were both full of praise for their sides’ battling efforts against quality opposition.

“I was really proud of how we came out, I was really proud of how we rebounded in the third quarter to get back to the style of play we wanted to play, and I thought we hung in there really well, but we just ran out of gas and they made some big plays,” Black said.

“Half way through the year when we had a few other outs, we thought we wouldn’t even make the finals, so to finish in the top four was pretty good.” Parker said.

The men’s side started strongly and stunned the Redbacks with a 15-2 run to kick things off, but Shawn Redhage and his men slowly worked their way back into the contest.

They dominated the second quarter to lead by four points at half-time and the teams traded vital baskets throughout the third quarter, but the Redbacks’ skill, poise and depth overpowered them in the final quarter.

Willetton’s American imports Ray Turner and Jay Bowie added 26 points each in the loss, while Damien Scott scored 19.

Perth import Lee Roberts exploded for 34 points, including 15 during the second quarter, while Marshall Nelson added 17, and Redhage scored 14 points.

The side will be disappointed after they finished the regular season with a 20-6 record and top spot on the ladder.

The women endured a tough night, as injured captain Kate Malpass was joined on the sidelines by centre Zoe Harper in the first quarter.

Despite a promising start, the Tigers were outgunned by a dominant Perry Lakes, who had only lost twice all season.

Desiree Kelley was the shining light for the Tigers with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and an impressive six steals, but it was not enough to swing the tide.