Geraldton Buccaneers push past illness to down Perry Lakes Hawks

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Buccs captain Mat Wundenberg and Hawks' Cooper Hamilton.
Camera IconBuccs captain Mat Wundenberg and Hawks' Cooper Hamilton. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

They may be superheroes on the court, but the Geraldton Buccaneers are not immune to the common cold, with a handful of players hitting the court on Saturday night in less than ideal shape.

With Brayden Inger on bed rest with an illness, the Buccs could not afford to have any other key players sit out during their clash with Perry Lakes Hawks.

Despite the sniffles, the Buccs fought valiantly until the last second, claiming an 88-79 win over the reigning champs.

Chicago import Willie Conner played a major role in the Buccs’ win, scoring 21 points for his team after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury.

“He got us back in the game when we needed him, which was fantastic,” coach Dayle Joseph said.

“It was a good all-round game by us. We got off to a bit of a slow start but we gathered our game plan back together and got back in the game.”

And the Buccs really did have a slow start to the game.

At the end of the first quarter it looked like the Hawks would be the second team this season to beat the Geraldton side on their home soil.

As the game progressed the crowd grew more vocal, voicing their disappointment at some of the referees’ decisions.

Even the Hawks — who have two players from the Perth Wildcats in their line-up — had a decent sized crowd cheering them on.

Buoyed by the support, both teams scrambled for the lead in the final quarter, with the Hawks quickly closing the gap in the last four minutes to tie the score at 71.

But the Buccs managed to stay on top and proved their strength against last year’s premiers.

Post-game, Buccs’ Liam Hunt said it felt good to win again after their loss to the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.

“We were horrible that weekend … but now we’re a little bit more confident,” he said.

“We need to figure out how to start a bit stronger … and we’ve got to learn to play for 40 minutes.

“We still have a lot of things to clean up but as long as we’re firing on all cylinders by play-offs then we’ll be okay.”

The Buccs will have to put in the extra miles – literally – this week as they head down to Perth for two tough games against the Joondalup Wolves on Saturday and the East Perth Eagles on Sunday.

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