Zac Gattorna maintains Geraldton Buccaneers’ perfect home record with 39 points against the East Perth Eagles

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Tomas Dobson competes for the ball as Dayle Joseph turned to the bench early
Camera IconTomas Dobson competes for the ball as Dayle Joseph turned to the bench early Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

It was a return home and a return to the winner’s list as the Geraldton Buccaneers kept their hopes of a top-two finish alive with a 118-97 win over the East Perth Eagles on Saturday night.

The Buccs were always the favourites with the Eagles sitting 12th on the ladder but they came into the clash with two straight wins while the Buccs were without Fletcher Klasztorny, who reported general tightness in the warm-up, and the absent Liam Hunt.

Despite this Geraldton made a flying start by putting up 38 points in the opening period with Zac Gattorna unstoppable, hitting all five of his three-point attempts.

Malik Meunier and Shaun Stewart got the ball rolling with lay-ups to open the basket as the Eagles struggled to keep possession of the ball.

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Gattorna hit two more triples in the second quarter to be 7/7 going into half-time while also throwing down some big dunks with the Buccaneers leading 70-47.

Without Hunt and Klasztorny, coach Dayle Joseph turned to his bench early with Robert Griechen and Tom Dobson both introduced before halftime while Harry Evans and William Glavin played their first minutes of the season.

The Buccs’ intensity seemed to dip after the half, partly as a result of the three-point shooting falling away, as the Eagles, while never threatening to take the win, continued to hang in and managed to win the final quarter 32-26.

The Buccs still cruised to a 21-point win but Joseph was left underwhelmed by the performance, particularly on the defensive end.

“Reflecting back they scored 97 points which is not something we like to hang our hat on,” he said.

“We got up and down the court well but we could have been a bit better at the defensive end and or made it a bit harder for them but credit to the Eagles they’re a good side and didn’t lie down.”

Gattorna ended the evening for Geraldton with 39 points on the back of shooting 13/17 from the field, 8/11 from beyond the arc and 5/5 at the foul line.

“I guess if you take you know, Zac’s performance away from it we might have struggled a little bit he was on early I think it was seven or seven from the three-point line or half time and he kept us going for a bit,” Joseph said.

“So it was good to have someone knocking down shots early and giving us that head start.”

Shaun Stewart added 20 points and eight assists for the Buccaneers, Malik Meunier 19 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals, Johny Narkle 15 points, six boards, four assists and three steals, and Aaron Ralph 14 points and four rebounds with three more three-pointers.

Justin King finished with 19 points and four rebounds for East Perth with Lee Roberts contributing 18 points and 10 boards, and Taylor Young 15 points.

The Buccs will be back at home again this weekend taking on bottom of the table Mandurah Magic.

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