SBL: Joondalup Wolves face first finals test against Cockburn, Perth

Amy Kidner. Picture: Serene Maisey
Amy Kidner. Picture: Serene Maisey

THE Joondalup Wolves face their first test of the State Basketball League playoffs this weekend as the club looks to secure a men’s and women’s championship double for the first time.

The sides both won district A-Grade titles in 1986, but they have never completed the accomplishment in the SBL.

Joondalup came ever so close to achieving the feat in 2013 with the women winning the title and the men losing the grand final by a mere three points.

But the men played above expectations that year.

This season, both teams head into the playoffs as championship favourites.

The men, despite finishing second, will be heavily backed to take back-to-back titles given the mix of talent in the side, its deep bench and the finals experience of master coach Ben Ettridge.

The Lady Wolfpack will also be strongly tipped having claimed the minor title and overcoming the domination Rockingham (second) and Willetton (third) had on them in recent seasons.

Both teams will host their best-of-three quarter-final opponents in game one at Joondalup Basketball Stadium on Saturday.

The men face seventh-ranked Perth and the women oppose eighth-seeded Cockburn, whom they defeated 90-71 in the final game of the regular season last Friday.

Joondalup’s Amy Kidner stamped herself as a threat for the finals, hitting a game-high 30 points at 72.2 per cent at Wally Hagan Stadium.

The Wolves’ Ellyce Ironmonger took more rebounds than anyone else in the league for the round with 21 boards.

In the men’s contest, the Wolves and Cougars faced off for the minor title in a top-of-the-table clash and possible grand final preview.

Cockburn claimed the number one ranking with a tight 123-120 triumph over Joondalup.

Celebrating Sean Easther’s 150th game, the Wolves were down by 10 points at half-time but pulled the margin back to just one point in the third term, setting up an exciting final period.

Joondalup’s Trian Iliadis hit 28 points, with Kevin Davis taking 22 points and 11 rebounds.