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Redbacks bite Buccs in NBL1 upset before rebound against Eastern Suns

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Buccs' Cameron Coleman in action against the Redbacks
Camera IconBuccs' Cameron Coleman in action against the Redbacks Credit: Artic Moon Photography

The Perth Redbacks kept their play-off hopes alive in spectacular fashion with a three-point barrage late to see them overrun the league leading Geraldton Buccaneers in a shock result before the Buccs responded in double header weekend.

The Buccs arrived at Belmont Oasis on Saturday night having lost just once so far in the 2022 NBL1 West season to hold a two game buffer at the top of the table, but the Redbacks had to begin their winning run if they were to stay in the play-off hunt.

Perth had lost their past three games coming into the clash and were without captain Joel Wagner who doubles as the club’s games record holder and the league’s all-time assists leader.

The Buccs were also minus Mathiang Muo who wasn’t risked following extensive travel but they started well with 25 points to 18 in the first quarter.

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Geraldton maintained that advantage to still lead 48-41 by half-time, and then despite an 11-0 run during the third quarter from the Redbacks, the Buccaneers still lead 66-62 by three quarter-time.

The Buccs were still on top with four and-a-half minutes to lead by six after a Shaun Stewart triple, but that’s when the Redbacks caught fire in spectacular fashion.

It started with three balls from Zac Gattorna, Jerami Grance and Tevin Jackson to see them grab the lead and then Gattorna nailed another from deep and those four three-pointers in two minutes sealed the 88-81 victory.

Jerami Grace finished the night with 27 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals for the Redbacks while draining 6/11 from three-point land.

Cameron Coleman put up 22 points, three rebounds and three steals for Geraldton with Shaun Stewart contributing 21 points, four boards, three assists and two steals, and Johny Narkle 18 points but it wasn’t enough.

They didn’t have too much time to dwell on the result as they faced the Eastern Suns on Sunday afternoon.

The Suns were sitting second last on the ladder but they pushed the Buccs, trailing by a single point after the first.

The Buccs then took control going on a 14-point run to start the second before for the second time on the weekend they suffered a three-point barrage with Spencer Alone and Cooper Lowe doing the bulk of the damage to score 26 unanswered points.

Ryan Blanchett managed to stop the bleeding with a three of his own but the contest had been flipped on its head as the Buccs trailed by six.

Both sides made big changes for the second half with the Buccs bringing on Cameron Coleman and Mathew Wundenberg for Narkle and Fletcher Klasztorny respectively.

The third period was tight with teams trading baskets but the Suns managed to extend their lead by one point going into the final term as the Buccs were behind by seven.

An 11-0 run to start the fourth saw the Buccs gain the ascendancy with Coleman and Liam Hunt stepping up to put the Buccs in control.

From there they kept the Buccs at arms length allowing them to get the win 80-74.

Coleman was outstanding with 26 points while Hunt finished with 15 and Blanchett had 13 and was instrumental in keeping the game during the tough second quarter.

The split results still has the Buccs on top by two wins although the Joondalup Wolves have a game in hand.

The Buccaneers will have another away double header weekend facing the Perry Lake Hawks before a clash against the Wolves on Sunday.

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