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Hawks go top of the ladder to end Pumas’ run as Olympians, Chapman Valley record wins

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Theo Bennett gets in the way of Harry Evans.
Camera IconTheo Bennett gets in the way of Harry Evans. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

Hawks and Pumas headlined the latest round of the Geraldton Basketball Association as the two undefeated teams squared off in an entertaining clash on Tuesday night.

Both teams have set the benchmark this year, but only one undefeated team left after the clash and it was the Hawks who came out on top 77-70.

The Hawks made just one change adding Travis Main to the line-up.

For Pumas, Liam Hunt, who has been coaching from the sides so far this season, returned to the court and Farren Parfitt suited up for his first game with Clayton Parfitt out.

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It was a high-quality clash with no less than eight Buccaneers players facing each other out on the court with the league’s top five scorers Fletcher Klasztonry, Ryan Blanchett, Robert Greichen, William Galvin and Tomas Dobson all on show.

It was the Pumas who took the early advantage with Hunt’s return who had another big man beside Dobson help work his way to the rim.

Harry Evans was good from the field and for the Hawks Klasztorny once again led the way, with 14 points in the first half to lead all scorers.

But the Pumas were playing hard defence and with Hunt marshalling the plays they took a 39-34 lead into half-time.

The break seemed to benefit the Hawks as they managed to overcome the deficit and pull into the lead early after some offensive errors from Pumas and strong drives from Blanchett.

But they suffered a huge blow as Klasztorny went down after landing awkwardly and a knee complaint ruling him out for the rest of the night.

Without the league’s most dangerous player in offence the Pumas sought to rush the Hawks as they looked to rework their offence to cover losing Klasztonry.

Lucky for them they have plenty of options in that department as Xavier Wright nailed three-pointers with the Pumas giving him far too much space on the wings.

Evans and Hunt kept the Pumas in touch, with Dobson having a quiet night as his shooting percentage was down from his usual standards.

They managed to cut the gap to four points with a minute to go to set up a blockbuster finish.

A full-court pass found Hunt to cut the gap to two, but the Hawks quickly responded through Michael Wright before the ball fell to Evans, who attempted a three that didn’t drop, allowing the Hawks to run down the clock and take the seven-point win.

Evans and Hunt both finished with 21 points, but it was Blanchett who led all scorers with 23.

Xavier Wright’s 12 points in the second half, all from three-pointers, swung the match the Hawks’ way to leave them as the only undefeated team in the competition.

Llewyn Valli up against Joseph Iaria
Camera IconLlewyn Valli up against Joseph Iaria Credit: Jake Santa Maria

In the Wednesday games, Chapman Valley recorded a comfortable 60-43 win against the Trades led by Llewyn Valli’s 22 points.

It was all about defence in the first half as the Warriors used their height advantage to keep Trades locked out of easy shots.

In offence, Valli was driving his way to the rim grabbing 11 first-half points, with Mathew Wundenberg and Carter Cook calling the plays as they took a 31-23 point lead into the half.

The Trades were hung in there thanks to Charlie Thurkle’s nine points from threes and they started the second half well as they applied defensive pressure.

They slowly worked their way into the second half to eat away at the deficit, but the Warriors had the answers when needed and the Trades saw their pockets picked on more than one occasion as Valley racked up the steals.

From there they controlled the game limiting Trades to the equal lowest score all season, allowing Valley to run away with the match.

The late game saw the Olympians take on the winless Stateside as the Octopuses eventually recorded a 91-69 win.

Olympians added Buccaneer Malik Meunier to boost their line-up, but there was little class on show in the opening exchanges as both teams got off to a scrappy start.

There were plenty of turnovers as the shots weren’t dropping for Olympians with Stateside grabbing a slender lead in the early chaos.

But a couple of poor minutes was all it took for the Olympians to find their range as Shaeden Edwards was fed lay-ups as they leapt out to a 22-9 lead.

Stateside steadied with the tandem of Tristan Jacques working under the rim and Connor Westbrook shooting from deep to keep the margin from blowing out further.

Olympians were still not at their best but their flashes of brilliance were enough to take a comfortable 43-29 lead into the half.

Stateside managed to close the gap to under 10 points five minutes into the second half as Jacques continued to find boards, but Johny Narkle finally got going to kill the contest with his 22 points including five threes.

Jacques finished on 22 and Westbrook 14 but they could not find enough from outside those two to challenge the Olympians as they remain without a win after five rounds.

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