Hunt steps up as Geraldton Buccaneers down Perth Redbacks
The Geraldton Buccaneers will enjoy an Easter break after scaling the SBL ladder with a 98-82 win over Perth Redbacks at Activewest Stadium on Saturday, April 13.
With captain Mat Wundenberg holidaying in America, it was up to Liam Hunt to take the helm — and the crusher from California didn’t disappoint.
Hunt harried the Redbacks’ defence, netting the top score of 23 points (matched by Perth’s Marshall Nelson).
By half-time, the Buccs commanded a healthy lead over the Redbacks — but things were about to unravel.
The third quarter saw the Redbacks bite back — hard — almost doubling their half-time score with a 29-point bonanza.
But the hometown heroes found their resolve and ultimately left Perth seeing red.
“Things were coming a bit easy to us, and I think when you get out in front like that sometimes you go a bit freelance,” Buccs coach Dayle Joseph said.
“Perth were on the back foot at half-time and obviously they made some adjustments and it worked for them.”
Joseph — who had just touched down in Brisbane, on his way to Townsville, to watch his son Josh contest the national championships with the WA country under-18 side — said redemption was a matter of re-establishing discipline.
He credited Hunt for his adept leadership in Wundenberg’s absence.
“Liam obviously stepped up. He played 38 minutes, which is quite a bit compared to what he’s been playing,” Joseph said.
After this week’s bye, the Buccs face their biggest road-trip of the season, taking on the Goldfields Giants in Kalgoorlie, followed by a mad dash back to Geraldton for a rematch the next day.
Joseph said Wundenberg would be back in the driver’s seat for the gruelling double clash, having rested a minor but niggling leg injury.
Although the Giants sit mid-way down the ladder at No.7, Joseph said the Buccs couldn’t afford to be complacent.
“The teams we’ve beaten are all down the bottom,” he said.
“The Giants sit in the middle of the range, and they think they’re going to be a play-off contender, so it’s a good opportunity to measure ourselves again and see where we’re at.
“We’ll look at their video tape and highlight some weaknesses in their play.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails