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Geraldton Buccaneers fall to second loss as Wolves win final quarter shootout

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Quinton Dove dropped 34 points against the Buccs.
Camera IconQuinton Dove dropped 34 points against the Buccs. Credit: Sports Imagery

The Geraldton Buccaneers fell to a second straight loss on Saturday night as the Joondalup Wolves outlasted them in a final quarter shootout to take home a nine-point victory, 99-90.

The two perennial powerhouses locked horns at HBF Arena Joondalup on Saturday night in what was their first meeting since the Buccs triumphed in the preliminary final last year.

Both teams were coming off losses with the Wolves losing on Friday to the Eastern Suns while the Buccs lost last Saturday night in Karratha to the Perth Redbacks.

Much like they did in Karratha the Buccs made the better start as Zac Gattorna got in some early drives supported by field shooting from Fletcher Klasztorny and Aaron Ralph to take a seven-point lead after the first quarter.

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The teams traded baskets to start the second term, but the Wolves had a brief period of dominance when the Buccs made some costly misses and turnovers in a 10-0 two-minute run with former Bucc Mathiang Muo hitting back-to-back threes to put the Wolves in the lead.

The Buccs were able to wrestle back control with the help of some free throws and strong drives from Gattorna but it was all even at the half at 47-all.

The third quarter was a showcase of the teams’ strengths with the Buccs scoring at a perfect 100 from inside the paint while the Wolves looked to answer with their three-point shooting.

Quinton Dove, who was proving to be the most dangerous player on court, passed 20 points for the night with a three in the dying seconds to limit the Buccs’ lead to three at the start of the final term.

Neither team was able to grab hold of the game to start the final term before a shootout ensued with the Wolves nailing three threes in a row which the Buccs were able to answer with three of their own.

However, the Buccs blinked first in the shootout as Gattorna missed back-to-back threes and jump shots to allow the Wolves to take the lead with six-point run.

In the end, the Wolfpack closed the game scoring nine of the last 11 points including a strong finish from Bryan Michaels, dunk from Dove and three-pointer from CJ Turnage.

The nine-point win improves the Wolves to a 2-2 record. New import Dove was outstanding with 34 points, 14 rebounds and two steals including going 14/16 at the free-throw line highlighting his aggressiveness.

Gattorna delivered 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Buccaneers. Aaron Ralph had 14 points and three boards, Malik Meunier 13 points, four assists, three steals, three rebounds and two blocks, Liam Hunt 11 points and four boards, and Shaun Stewart 10 points and eight assists.

It was a high-quality game but the Buccs will be disappointed with committing 19 turnovers while they struggled to contain Dove with his 14 free-throw points proving key.

The Buccs won’t have long to dwell on their loss as they take on the Cockburn Cougars at 1pm.

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