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Buccaneers continue up and down road form as they fall short of Perry Lakes test

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
The Buccs' Shaun Stewart struggled with soreness throughout the weekend
Camera IconThe Buccs' Shaun Stewart struggled with soreness throughout the weekend Credit: Barry Mitchell/Snapaction/Snapaction

The Geraldton Buccaneers saw their winning streak come to a halt at the hands of Perry Lakes as a final quarter fade-out saw them fall to an 86-75 loss.

The Buccs came up short in their second clash of the weekend as they ran out of gas in an intense clash between the two top four sides.

Import Shaun Stewart returned to the line-up after missing out on the Mandurah clash with soreness but went scoreless across 18 minutes as he looked well short of a gallop.

Despite this, the Buccs were able to match the Hawks through the first quarter thanks to Zac Gattorna and Malik Meunier who combined for 17 of their 23 first-quarter points to hold a one-point advantage at quarter time.

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Some strong defence to start the second had the Buccs out to an eight-point lead but the Hawks were quick to respond as they look to shut out Gattorna’s impact.

Liam Hunt was able to grab some lay-ups while Meunier went three from three beyond the arc to get the Buccs lead out to double digits, before Hawks responded with the last five points to trail 41-46.

The Hawks grabbed the lead back in a back-and-forth third quarter but Johny Narkle found the baskets to respond and they held on to a four-point lead heading into the last.

However, the Buccs’ fourth quarter was reminiscent of their grand final last year where they just couldn’t get control of the ball as the Hawks ran over the top of them.

The Hawks outscored them 22 points to seven to go from four points down to win by 11 as the Buccs had nothing left unable to score in the final seven minutes of the game.

It’s a fifth consecutive win for Perry Lakes who remain second at 8-1 while Geraldton is 5-3 and slip to the fifth spot but have two games in hand over the Wolves above them.

Point guard Mitch Clarke did the damage with 25 points, six rebounds and two steals, along with Daniel Alexander’s 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

Liam Hunt backed up a season-best performance from the 2019 Grand Final MVP against Mandurah on Saturday with another 16 points, nine boards and three assists for the Buccs.

Malik Meunier also had an especially strong first three quarters to end up with 22 points, five boards, four assists and two steals with Zac Gattorna adding 10 points and three assists.

Meunier also had 22 points on Saturday night when the Buccs overcame Mandurah’s early challenge to win 128-98.

The Buccs seemed to blend their 2022 game with this year’s style shooting at over 50 per cent from the three-point line with Johny Narkle having his best game of the season with 21 points and four threes.

But it was Hunt who led the way with a double-double 25 points and 12 rebounds in a dominant display as the Buccs made sure they easily put away the bottom-ranked side.

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