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Geraldton Buccaneers tame Tigers in best performance of the season

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Johny Narkle rises above the Tigers on his way to 18 points.
Camera IconJohny Narkle rises above the Tigers on his way to 18 points. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

The Geraldton Buccaneers are back into the top four and for the first time defeat a top-five team this season in a dominant display at Activewest Stadium on Saturday night.

While the Buccs have split results on the road they are unbeaten at home and they maintained that record in a 120-98 thumping.

The Buccs had come into Saturday needing to bounce back from a tough loss to Perry Lakes but faced a challenging Tigers side who were sitting in third with a 6-2 record.

The Tigers had the better of the opening exchanges as the Buccs went one from six in their opening shots with Brisbane Bullets centre Gorjak Gak making his big presence felt with rebounds at both ends of the court.

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But the Buccs eventually got their shots to drop as the sides traded baskets before back-to-back threes from Aaron Ralph and Johny Narkle helped the home side take a four-point lead at quarter time.

It was much the same in the second quarter though Shaun Stewart looked the best he has all season, seemingly overcoming the soreness that plagued him last weekend with eight points for the quarter to extend their lead out to six points at the half.

The Tigers were charging in the third to close to within one point as the Buccs who were now often double-teaming Gak were leaving import Darnell Hoskins open as he caught fire going 4/4 from deep and 3/4 inside the paint to keep his side in the contest.

However coach Dayle Joseph has talked about flexibility and the Buccs went into 2022 mode finding answers for Hoskins from deep with Zac Gattorna, Johny Narkle and Aaron Ralph combining for 15 three-pointers.

The Buccs piled on 75 points in the second half alone and though the Tigers scored 60 they collapsed under the shower of threes to see the margin blow out to 22 points.

The win improves the Buccs to a 6-3 record to move into third place.

Zac Gattorna finished with 24 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals while hitting 5/8 from three-point territory showing a side he has not displayed much.

Aaron Ralph also knocked down 6/11 from long-range for 24 points and six rebounds as Narkle added 18 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals on 4/6 three-point shooting with Shaun Stewart who added 15 points, four boards and four assists.

Gorjok Gak produced 22 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and two blocks and Darnell Hoskins Jr put up 31 points but the Buccs had too many match winners across the court.

The Buccs now prepare for a monster grand final rematch against the Rockingham Flames who lost their first game of the season to the Perth Redbacks 79-52.

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