Basketball: SBL releases 2017 fixtures, Suns to start against Hawks

Basketball: SBL releases 2017 fixtures, Suns to start against Hawks

KALAMUNDA Eastern Suns opens its 2017 State Basketball League season against East Perth Eagles on March 17.

It comes after the SBL’s pre-season Blitz Tournament in which teams play several exhibition games at Warwick Stadium on March 4 and 5.

The Suns’ first home game at Ray Owen Sports Centre is against Perry Lakes Hawks.

The Joondalup Wolves will have its first look at redemption from last year’s grand final when they meet 2016 champions Cockburn Cougars in the first round.

All games over the Easter weekend will be played on a blockbuster Thursday night, with six venues hosting games before the league takes a break for the Easter long weekend.

The Anzac round will again be in week 6, with the Suns and Willetton Tigers continuing their Anzac Day game tradition while being joined this year by the Cockburn Cougars hosting Rockingham Flames on the Tuesday afternoon.

The new concept of women’s round will be in week 9, aligning with Mother’s Day on the Sunday.

During this round, the SBL will test the women’s games being played at the later timeslot at each venue following the men’s competition.

“The round is an important initiative to recognise the contribution women make to the game” SBL general manager Adam Bowler said.

“It’s is about celebrating and promoting women’s basketball, from playing and coaching roles, to our volunteers, referees and all the women who work in the game and make it great.”

Rivalry round has been added in week 12.

The SBL hopes to grow it into an annual tradition where teams will be matched against their rival team.

On WA Day, June 5, the North and South All-Star games will be played as the SBL and WA basketball community again look to raise funds for Lifeline WA.

In Heritage round in Week 16 teams will be encouraged to celebrate their club’s history and reconnect with past players and coaches.