The Cockburn Cougars made the trip to Kalgoorlie on Saturday night and returned with two strong victories to set up a massive last round of the NBL1 West season and a playoff run for both the women’s and men’s team.
The bus trip might not have been the smoothest on the way to Kalgoorlie for Cougars on Saturday and a breakdown along the way meant the games that evening at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium had to be pushed back a little.
However, once on the court it turned out to be a memorable night for both Cockburn teams in the penultimate round of the 2022 NBL1 West season against the Goldfields Giants.
The action got underway with the women’s clash and with Kat Tudor draining 10 three-pointers, the Cougars were able to score the important 89-85 victory which improves them to a 12-7 record on the season to consolidate fifth position.
Then in the men’s clash both the Giants and Cougars went to battle over a top four position and even though Cockburn was missing captain Gavin Field, it was the visitors who had more players stand up.
With Seva Chan leading from the front running the team and Luke Phillips and Josh Hunt outstanding, Cockburn went on to score the 90-80 win to improve to a 14-7 record to be in fourth position with a round remaining.
Starting with the women’s clash on Saturday night in Kalgoorlie, there was plenty on the line for both teams with the Giants fighting for their playoff lives in their inaugural season while the Cougars need to keep winning to maintain hold of fifth position.
The Cougars worked their way to a 29-22 lead by quarter-time on their first visit to Kalgoorlie but the home team kept themselves close responding to an 11-point deficit in the second term to close the Cockburn lead to three at half-time.
Cockburn then pulled away again with 10 straight points in the third quarter to lead by 13, and despite a strong finish from Goldfields, Cockburn held firm for the eventual 89-85 victory.
Kat Tudor delivered a stunning shooting performance for the Cougars finishing with 10/13 from downtown for 31 points.
Jewel Williams added 15 points and eight assists for Cockburn, Kahlia Morgan nine points and three rebounds, Jessie Edwards eight points, eight boards and four blocks, Alina Hartmann eight points and seven rebounds, and Kristy Whitefield seven points and four assists.
Then in the men’s match up, fourth place went on the line at Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium with the Giants at home to the Cougars in what always loomed as a fascinating contest.
Both teams were missing a key player with the Giants without Jesse Ghee for a fourth straight game with the Cougars also missing superstar captain Field, but it didn’t detract from a terrific contest.
The Giants were leading 28-22 by quarter-time but the Cougars put together a run of 10 straight points in the second term to turn that deficit into a five-point lead, and then it was Goldfields still clinging to a 46-45 edge at the long break.
The Cougars took back over in the third quarter with a 14-0 run to take a 12-point lead and that proved the decisive move of the match as they held out the Giants down the stretch to win 90-80.
It was two players who are in career-best form who led the way for Cockburn in the win with Luke Phillips putting up 24 points, seven rebounds and two assists with Josh Hunt also producing 23 points and four boards.
Seva Chan used all his 263 games of experience for the Cougars to run the team tremendously with 10 assists to go with six points and four rebounds while Carter Skaggs added 11 points and six boards, and Paschal Chukwu 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.