Geraldton Buccaneers fail to steal game as former fan favourite shines for Joondalup Wolves
Former Geraldton fan favourite Earnest Ross denied the Buccaneers a memorable road victory in an absorbing State Basketball League top-four clash on Saturday night with the Joondalup Wolves.
Ross — together with American teammate Ridell Camidge — ultimately spurred the Wolves to their 87-84 victory, although many believe this will be the first chapter of several storied battles later this season.
The Buccs, who went into the match undefeated at HBF Arena, were red-hot.
They started strongly and managed to quell the lively Wolves offence early.
With Camidge, Ross, Kevin Davis and Rob Huntington all able to run riot at any moment, the Buccs rearguard of Liam Hunt, Colter Lasher and Aaron Ralph stuck to their guns and remained firm.
A poor start in the third quarter threatened to steer Dayle Joseph’s men off course.
However, they recovered through the offensive brilliance of Lasher and Hunt.
Trailing by three points in the shades of three-quarter-time, several offensive looks failed to land for the visitors — a trend gleefully cashed in on by the visitors.
For all of Camidge’s (30 points, three rebounds, one assist) scintillating efforts from long-range (7/11 from beyond the arc), Ben Ettridge’s men were unable to land the hammer blow and the Buccs entered the final two minutes with a real chance to steal the game away.
An inspirational dive from Hunt brought the visitors to within two points with one minute and change left in the match.
Davis went to the charity stripe and slotted both his free throws, before Joseph’s side fired one more tilt at their bitter rivals.
Knowing he needed to lead by example, Ralph deftly nailed a layup with two seconds remaining — and the comeback was still on, with the margin a paltry two points.
Ross (24 points, 12 rebounds, two assists) was fouled instantly and sank his free throw, with Joseph burning a time-out with one second left before time expired to talk things over, but they would not get an opportunity to fire off a final shot.
On Sunday, the Buccs defeated East Perth Eagles 103-83 at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre.
The Buccs’ Marcus Alipate scored an impressive 35 points – his best offensive performance so far in 2019.
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