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Buccaneers the gold standard as they take down Giants in Kalgoorlie clash

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Fletcher Klasztorny captained the side in Aaron Ralph’s abscence
Camera IconFletcher Klasztorny captained the side in Aaron Ralph’s abscence Credit: Arctic_Moon_Photography

The Geraldton Buccaneers were back on the road this weekend and this time they took their winning form with them as they overcame a slow start to win the country clash against the Goldfield Giants.

Fletcher Klasztorny led the Buccs to the 100-86 victory against his former club, taking the armband as Aaron Ralph did not make the flight east.

Liam Hunt was also absent, out for more than a month as he travels to the US, leading to a tweaked starting five of Klasztorny, Shaun Stewart, Malik Meunier, Zac Gattorna and Mathew Wundenberg.

The Giants were buoyed by their win over the ladder-leading Hawks last weekend and were hoping to catch the Buccs off-guard away from home.

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They got the better start as they hit the first three baskets to jump to a 9-0 lead, with the Buccs held to just five points in the opening five minutes.

Lafonzo Smith and Michael Dupree were proving a handful combining for 15 first-quarter points but a late three to Tomas Dobson and a layup to Meunier kept the gap manageable at 26-20 at the first break.

Smith and Dupree would continue to be the main targets for the Giants as they maintained the lead before a run of seven missed shots for both sides was broken by a Stewart three, putting the Buccs in the lead for the first time in the match.

Some free throws capped off a 30-18 quarter for the Buccs, with the Giants’ shooting percentage tanking to below 30 per cent from inside the paint.

The Buccs would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the match.

Despite Smith and Dupree keeping the Giants in touch the Buccs’ defence proved stifling, with the Giants’ shooting percentage dropping further to a measly 20 per cent.

Stewart, Meunier and Gattorna were starting to get on a roll as they blew the lead out to an insurmountable 20 points heading into the final quarter.

The Giants mounted a final assault with an 11-point run to start the fourth but the Buccs once against had the answers to produce their fourth win in as many games.

Stewart was the standout with 22 points and seven assists while Gattorna was just short of a double-double with 18 points and nine assists. Meunier and Klasztorny both had 17 points and Ryan Blanchett pitched in with 11.

Smith was the best for the Giants with 21 but they could not recover from a two-quarter Buccs chokehold where they managed just 32 points.

Despite the win, the Buccs fall to fourth on the ladder with the Flames winning their doubleheader on the weekend. The Buccs still have a game in hand on those around them.

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