The Geraldton Buccaneers redefined the meaning of “against the odds” on Saturday night in a brilliant 94-86 triumph over third-placed Cockburn Cougars at Activewest Stadium.
The Buccs’ second consecutive victory keeps their slim final hopes alive, while proving the underdog team has the talent to match it with some of the best in the league.
But the finals challenge resumes again on the road to Stirling and Perry Lakes this weekend.
With wins needed in both games, the Buccs must also trump Perth Redbacks at home on Saturday week if they are to sneak into the top eight.
Geraldton were on fire early against Cockburn as Morgan Sabia quickly put name on the score sheet.
Michael Lay created some great pace from the point to open up Sabia for two threes.
Buccs ended the quarter 21 to 13 up.
Another Sabia three-pointer greeted the beginning of the second quarter.
Lay and Daniel Thomas exploited Cockburn’s taller players, but the visitors wrestled control 41 to 45 at the interval.
The Cougars came out strong defensively in the third in an attempt to halt Buccs’ transitional offence.
It worked well as Cockburn counter attacked, drawing fouls and shots from the charity stripe.
Tides soon turned as Thomas ended a 10 to four-point Cockburn run.
A three-pointer on the siren from Sabia gave the Buccs confidence as they ended the quarter only three points down, 63-66.
Cockburn stepped up their aggressive play in the fourth with accurate shooting from Jeremiah Wilson (31 points) and Gavin Field (24 points).
Brian Carwell in particular made the Buccs pay, drawing a foul in a slam dunk in an eventual three-point play.
Buccs continued defensive pressure before Thomas capitalised on a turnover and netted a three to tie scores at 81 apiece.
With less than three minutes left, Cockburn coach Stephen Charlton called a time-out to compose his troops.
Lay and Thomas refused to let it slow their momentum as they broke through to score fast break points.
The two guards led the Buccs in scoring with 26 and 24 points respectively.
The Buccaneers were able to run the game out and take home a 94-86 victory — much to the pleasure of the home crowd.