Round 9 NBL1 West Recap โ€“ Brave Joondalup showing from wounded Cougars

Share this article

The Cockburn Cougars put in a brave showing but just ran out of troops to fall short of completing the job against the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena on Saturday night.

The Cougars arrived at HBF Arena for the Round 9 match up already without vice-captain and 271-game veteran point guard Seva Chan along with backup centre Nathan Pond, but they still put in a monster third quarter with 35 points.

However, when the Cougars lost Luke Phillips after a nasty incident with Dion Collins with three minutes to go in the third quarter, and then Courtney Alexander II getting into foul trouble before eventually fouling out late in the piece, the game slipped away from Cockburn.

Despite the Wolves winning 105-97, Cougars coach Andrew Cooper was nothing but proud of the fighting performance from his team afterwards.

“First and foremost, I’m just really proud of the guys for battling it out. Obviously a key moment for us was the injury to Luke Phillips,” Cooper said.

“It looked to me like it was a deliberate act with a foreseeable outcome that he was going to get injured by what happened which I’ll leave to the club to manage.

“But all in all, when Luke went down we had some momentum and that just hurt us with our rotations after that.

“I’m really proud of the guys for battling it out against a team that’s pretty loaded like Joondalup is. To give yourself an opportunity to win again is what counts for us.”

Cooper was anything but happy with the incident that left Luke Phillips leaving the game for the last 13 minutes and now to be sidelined for the immediate future as well though.

“To be honest, I’m disappointed that Luke has been injured because he is a great guy and integral part of our group, and it’s disappointing for him when we’ve already got guys carrying injuries.

“But that’s alright, it will give other guys opportunities and we donโ€™t know how long he’ll be on the sidelines now.

“It will give some other chances for guys to step up and continue on this season that’s becoming more of a trial and error one now where we are giving guys opportunities that they might not normally get.”

ALEXANDER THRIVING AS HE SETTLES IN AT COUGARS

Courtney Alexander II continued his strong form for Cockburn with another 21 points, 15 rebounds and four assists with fellow import Taj Benning adding 18 points, five boards and three steals.

Josh Hunt had his best game of the season with 20 points and nine rebounds on 7/10 shooting with captain Gavin Field adding 15 points, Luke Phillips nine and Keegan Phillips eight to go with seven rebounds and four assists.

While the Cougars continue to be increasingly shorthanded, the move by Cooper of putting Keegan Phillips into the starting line-up and pushing Hunt to the bench continues to be working on both fronts.

“Keegan suits the starting line-up due to his ability to just play a role and he’s happy to do that. If you tell Keegan that you need job A done, he’ll do it and if you give him more jobs, he’ll just go out and do it,” Cooper said.

“Josh is obviously a lot more of a scoring wing for us and we just feel that his ability to be able to come off the bench and contribute straight away is important for us. I think it’s helped him focus more on what he’s good at as well.”

Major Partner - Dentistry Plus