State Basketball League

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State Basketball League (SBL)
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2018 State Basketball League season
State Basketball League Logo.jpg
Inaugural season1989
DirectorAdam Bowler
No. of teamsM: 14
W: 12
Country Australia
ContinentFIBA Oceania (Oceania)
Most recent
M: Perry Lakes Hawks (6th title)
W: Lakeside Lightning (2nd title)
Most titlesM: Perry Lakes Hawks (6 titles)
W: Willetton Tigers (8 titles)

The State Basketball League (SBL) is Western Australia's semi-professional basketball league. The league comprises both a men's and women's competition and is run by the state's governing body, Basketball Western Australia.

The league was founded in 1989 after Basketball Western Australia sought to expand their Perth-based District Competition. The SBL is one of six major state-based semi-professional leagues in Australia and sits under the country's two professional leagues—the NBL and WNBL.


The State Basketball League originated in 1972 as the District Competition. The District Competition was introduced by the Western Australian Basketball Federation (WABF) as an 'elite' competition held on Friday nights, featuring eight Perth-based associations from the prominent districts of Perth, Swan Districts, Tangney/Willetton, Subiaco, East Perth, Cockburn, Stirling, and Claremont.[1] In 1986, the competition was rebranded as the "State League". This name continued in 1987, but 1987 was something of a watershed year for the WABF, as the entire structure of the game in Western Australia was being reconsidered.[2]

A census in 1987 showed that 61 percent of WABF members were from country areas, so it was decided to try to include several country teams in the state's premier basketball league. The Perth Wildcats had a hugely successful season in 1987—reaching the NBL Grand Final in their first trip to the finals—attracting much television coverage, which saw basketball's popularity soar. In 1988, it was decided to form a State Basketball League for both men and women, and to develop it into an elite, statewide competition as soon as possible. This meant seeking out private owners and attracting corporate sponsorship, so as to not burden the association. As part of basketball's development, the Western Australian Institute of Sport men's team was included in the SBL under Warren Kuhn.[2]

Simon Leunig, who had been the WABF's development officer, was appointed general manager of the SBL, and set about organising an expanded league for 1989. His marketing strategy paid off, and three new franchises were established in country areas: the Rainbow Coast Raiders from Albany were the first, followed by the Geraldton-based Batavia Buccaneers[3] and the Souwest Slammers from Bunbury.[2]

The expanded SBL, which was limited to men's teams in 1989, was sponsored by McDonald's and Skywest, with a $65,000 grant from the State Government to help with travel costs.[2]


Locations of regional SBL teams



Regular season[edit]

During the Australian summer, teams begin preparing for the upcoming season, as they host try-outs and trial games, reacquire the services of returning players, and scout for overseas imports. By the end of February, most teams have had their imports arrive in Western Australia and begin training with the rest of the playing group. Import players are most commonly recruited from the United States, with each team allowed two 'restricted' players on their roster.[4] While most teams sign two imports, some do choose to fill a restricted player spot with a NBL or WNBL player.

In early March, the annual SBL Pre-Season Blitz tournament is held at Warwick Stadium.[5] The tournament is held over a weekend and features all 26 teams competing in a number of exhibition games.

During the regular season, each MSBL team plays 26 games, 13 each home and away; while each WSBL team plays 22 games, 11 each home and away. Games are played on Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Special weekend blockbusters happen every year, such as Easter Round and Anzac Round, with games often being played on Easter Sunday and Anzac Day. Other special-occasion rounds include Women's Round, Rivalry Round and Heritage Round.[6] Prior to 2017, the MSBL was one of only a few leagues in the world (other than the NBA) to use the 48-minute game format. To align the competition with all State Leagues across Australia, as well as the NBL and international events such as World Cups and the Olympics, Basketball Western Australia made the decision to have the MSBL play under the 40-minute game format in-line with FIBA for the 2017 season.[7]

In June, the regular season pauses to celebrate the annual North v South SBL All-Star games. The event is held on WA Day at Bendat Basketball Centre, with all proceeds going to charity.[8] In 2017, the League selected the starters for each side, while fans voted via Internet surveys to select the remaining five reserve spots. Both the WSBL and MSBL All-Star games are played between North all-stars and South all-stars (north/south of the Swan River). At the end of each game, an All-Star Game MVP trophy is awarded to the best performing player. Other attractions of the day include a Three-Point Shootout during half-time of both the WSBL and MSBL All-Star games.

Around August, the regular season ends. Teams are ranked according to their win/loss ratio. If at the end of the regular season, two or more teams have an identical record, then positions are decided on a head-to-head basis. If they can not be split after that, than the for/against percentage is taken into account.


The SBL Finals begins in early August and finishes in early September, with the top eight teams in each competition (WSBL and MSBL) competing for their respective Championship. The first two rounds of the finals structure, the quarter-finals and semi-finals, are played using a best-of-three series. The higher ranked team hosts games one and three (if required), and plays game two away; with an exception being: any playoff series involving Geraldton or Goldfields will be played under the pre-2016 format with the higher ranked team playing away for game one, then home for games two and three.[9]

Every year, Basketball Western Australia hosts an SBL Grand Final weekend at Bendat Basketball Centre to determine the champion teams of the WSBL and MSBL, with the WSBL championship game on the Friday night and the MSBL championship game on the Saturday night. All Grand Finals have been played in a one-game championship decider, except in 1995 when a best-of-three series was introduced for both competitions.

League championships[edit]

The Hawks' 12 SBL championship banners (July 2018)

The Willetton Tigers have won the most championships in the women's competition with 8 WSBL Grand Final wins, while the Perry Lakes Hawks have won the most championships in the men's competition with 6 MSBL Grand Final wins. The Lady Hawks has also amassed seven titles, making Perry Lakes the most successful club in SBL history with a total of 13 championships.

Teams Gold Cup icon.svg Year(s) won Teams Gold Cup icon.svg Year(s) won
Willetton Tigers 8 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016 Perry Lakes Hawks 6 1994, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2018
Perry Lakes Hawks 7 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2017 Perth Redbacks 4 1989, 1990, 1997, 2017
Joondalup Wolves 4 1990, 1992, 1995, 2013 South West Slammers 4 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999
Swan City Mustangs 3 1991, 1993, 1996 Lakeside Lightning 4 2005, 2006, 2009, 2013
Perth Redbacks 2 1989, 2000 Cockburn Cougars 3 1992, 2012, 2016
Lakeside Lightning 2 2006, 2018 Joondalup Wolves 3 1993, 2011, 2015
Rockingham Flames 2 2014, 2015 Goldfields Giants 2 2007, 2008
Stirling Senators 1 1994 Swan City Mustangs 1 1991
South West Slammers 1 2012 Geraldton Buccaneers 1 2000
Willetton Tigers 1 2010
East Perth Eagles 1 2014
indicates club is not a current member of the SBL

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pekin, Lyndsay (2009). "Time-out for Perry Lakes Stadium". Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d McDonald's State Basketball League Handbook 1989. Western Australian Basketball Federation (Inc.). 1989. p. 7–9.
  3. ^ "History of the Buccs". Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. ^ "State Basketball League Restricted Player Policy". 16 December 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  5. ^ "SBL Pre-Season Blitz Fixtures Released". 15 February 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  6. ^ "2017 SBL Fixtures Released". 8 December 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  7. ^ "SBL Moves to 40 Minute Game Format". 12 October 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  8. ^ Wright, Julian (25 May 2016). "SBL Swish All Star Games to raise money for suicide prevention services". Guardian Express. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  9. ^ "SBL Finals Re-structure". 18 February 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2017.

External links[edit]