Josh Keyes comes in clutch as Geraldton Buccaneers come back from road gauntlet with two wins

Headshot of Fraser Williams
Fraser WilliamsMidwest Times
Geraldton Buccaneers’ Joshua Keyes against the South West Slammers.
Camera IconGeraldton Buccaneers’ Joshua Keyes against the South West Slammers. Credit: Amber Lilley/South Western Times

The Buccaneers would have been happy with one, but they came back from their road trip down south with two wins over the South West Slammers and Mandurah Magic.

Both games could have gone either way as the matches came down to the wire, but it was the championship difference and big plays from new recruit Josh Keyes that helped get the Buccs over the line.

In their first match, Geraldton took on a typically weak South West Slammers side that have shown vast improvement over the off-season.

The Buccaneers managed to get ahead in the first quarter, but the Slammers went on a run of seven straight points to take the lead and managed to keep Geraldton at an arm’s length throughout the second.

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Before half-time, scores from Johny Narkle and Nik DeSantis saw the Buccs tie the game up at 50-50.

The back-and-forth match saw the Slammers hold a three-point lead with seven minutes left, but the Buccs locked down defensively and only allowed two points for the rest of the match.

While on the offensive end, a DeSantis steal turned into a Keyes score at the rim to tie the game up.

With the scores still a one point difference with 40 seconds left, Keyes hit a dagger three to end the game, with the Buccs being fouled on every possession from there, getting the 94-86 win.

Keyes led the side in scoring with 22 points, nine rebounds and three steals, while Narkle had 21 points with seven rebounds and Liam Hunt a nice double-double of dropped 19 points with 12 rebounds.

The team had no time to rest, as they went up to Mandurah and faced the Magic the next afternoon.

The game was evenly matched throughout the contest, with both sides trading the lead down to the fourth quarter.

As the match came down to the dying minutes, Hunt put the ball up to extend the Geraldton lead by four, but the Magic managed a quick score.

A missed shot from the Buccaneers gave Mandurah a chance to come back, and after a long possession, Lachlan Bertram sank a corner three to put the Magic ahead with eight seconds remaining.

The Buccs called a timeout to get the ball back in their forward half, and with the game on the line, captain Aaron Ralph in-bounded the ball to Hunt, who backed down his defender in the paint before kicking it out to Keyes.

As Keyes attempted a three, he was fouled by the Magic and sent to the line for three free throws, giving him a chance to win the game with just under two seconds remaining.

The newest Buccaneer iced the win for a second game in a row, hitting the first two to give the Buccs the lead before missing the third on purpose so the clock would run out.

Narkle dropped a game high 32 points and five rebounds, while Hunt reccorded his second double-double of the weekend with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, and DeSantis had 22 points with four assists.

The Buccaneers will enjoy the home crowd this weekend when they take on Lakeside Lightning at Activewest Stadium on Saturday, April 20.

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