Men take heart from narrow loss

But in the women’s competition, two losses to end the regular season has had the Wolves slip from first to third as the first week of finals approaches.

While the men are also coming off a loss heading into the finals, the 95-98 defeat against the top-placed Lightning in Joondalup will give them plenty of belief.

Lakeside thrashed Wanneroo by 55 points when the sides last met in May, but the Wolves have made a marked improvement at the business end of the season.

They got off to a blistering start on Saturday night to outscore Lakeside 37-19 in the first period.

But the Lightning showed why they’d been the benchmark team in 2013, to chip away at the deficit before landing a heavy blow to the Wolves with a 30-16 third period.

It left the minor premiers with a 76-73 lead heading into the final quarter.

Scoring machine Trian Iliadis put up his biggest numbers of the season to top score for the Wolves with 34 points.

Rob Huntington was busy with 10 rebounds and 14 points.

For the women, Nikita Martin hit 29 points to produce the league’s highest return for the final round.

But it wasn’t enough to lift Wanneroo to victory as the home side went down 67-76 against the fourth-placed Lightning.

The women face sixth-placed Stirling away in game one of the quarter finals this Saturday.

The men taken on third-placed Geraldton at home.