Leaders of the pack

The Joondalup Wolves celebrated their third SBL championship on Saturday. Picture: Serene Maisey
The Joondalup Wolves celebrated their third SBL championship on Saturday. Picture: Serene Maisey

They dropped just three of 26 regular fixtures to be a class above the rest of the competition.

Sides would throw everything they had at them, but more often than not the league leaders had the answers.

This scenario was not lost in the grand final as Joondalup disposed of South West 105-75 at the Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday night.

For a fleeting moment in the first quarter the Slammers looked like they might make a game of it as they cut a 13-point margin to six. But that was as close as the regional side came for the remainder of the encounter.

Wolves coach Ben Ettridge was not surprised they �threw something funky� at them early in the game, but said they were ready for it. He attributed the result to the side�s depth.

�Our depth is what gets us over the line, being able to throw those fresh bodies in and work it out. I couldn�t be prouder,� he said.

The Slammers played physical but the Wolves were unfazed, putting the title to bed by the end of the third quarter when they held an 81-48 lead.

Grand final MVP Trian Iliadis exerted his influence in the championship-winning third period with 13 points in a 28-point performance where he hit 10 of 18 field goal attempts � six of them from beyond the three-point arc.

The shooting guard added six rebounds, three steals and three assists, including a crowd-raising alley-oop to star import Kevin Davis (14 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks) in the second period.

Iliadis wanted to make amends from the Wolves� 2013 grand final loss to Lakeside in which he was disappointed with his efforts.

�A lot of teams that win championships need a loss. I wasn�t happy with my performance in that game. I said to myself �I want to make up for that if I get there again� and I think I did,� he said.

For Joondalup captain Seb Salinas (11 points, eight assists, five rebounds), the win had a different feeling to the one he experienced with the side against Perry Lakes in 2011.

�That 2011 one was a really tough grind, but this one we knew we had the players, we had the game plan, we just stuck to it and it all paid off,� he said.

South West player-coach Ty Harrelson (12 points, five rebounds, three assists) paid high respect to the Wolves in his post-game speech.

�If we lost I wanted it to be to a great basketball team and Joondalup are definitely a great team,� he said.

The Wolves� two championships from three grand finals in the past five seasons has them as the most successful team of the 2010s heading into the second half of the decade.