Adams and Hire lead Rockingham Flames to big wins over Cockburn Cougars
The Rockingham Flames raided the Cougar den on Saturday night, with both teams posting more than 100 points on the way to big wins over Cockburn.
The Flames women raced out to an early lead and never surrendered it on their way to a massive 105-62 win, while the men put a scrappy second quarter behind them to prevail 120-90, with Greg Hire pivotal in his first run out for the club in 2019.
Women’s coach Craig Reynolds said his team couldn’t have played more perfectly in a 31-12 first quarter, playing for more than three quarters at a standard he expects from them for the rest of the season.
“The third quarter was a little bit of a grind but we brought players in and gave everyone a good run. I was happy with the final result based on the amount of minutes spread throughout the group,” he said.
“Our game plan is to dominate the glass and then win the next eight seconds of the possession and I thought we did a good job in the first half of owning the tempo, which I’m big on.
“I thought our inside/outside game, our spacing and our passing was as perfect as it’s going to get. If we can play like that throughout the season we’re going to be pretty strong.”
He reserved praise for Janelle Adams, who led all scorers with 17 points in what was a stand-out performance from the point guard.
“That’s effectively her second game back (from two years out injured) and I think she’s still at only 50 per cent, so that’s just a glimpse of the potential she’s got,” Reynolds said.
“She was exhilarating. She’s probably the most talented player in the league and I think we’re going to see a lot better from her coming forward so it’s really exciting.
“Once the players get to know her style of play better we’re going to be really strong. At the moment Janelle’s making passes our players aren’t quite seeing but once we get that familiarity it’s going to be a whole lot better.”
Maddie Allen had another typically strong showing with 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while Chris Boag (14), Ariana Hetherington (12), Chelsea Petrik and Tayah Burrows (10) all reached double figures in scoring.
Hire registered a triple-double (18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists) in the men’s contest, and his inclusion gives the team an extra dimension according to coach Ryan Petrik.
“Both Greg and Brad (Robbins) bring a ton of experience and leadership to the culture, which is great, but Greg gives us another style of play,” he said.
“Greg gives us the opportunity to post teams more, go to the pick and roll and play at the rim a lot more. It gives us another style of play.
“We hit 18 or 19 threes against Perry Lakes, whereas against Cockburn we went at 60 per cent from inside the three point line because we have Greg and Chudier (Pal) and Josh (Ritchart) all banging away at the glass, so it’s fantastic from that point of view.”
Petrik was happy with his team’s offensive output - the Flames have put up successive 100-plus scores - but was “not overly ecstatic” with the defensive effort.
“We’ve got pretty high expectations,” he said.
“Offensively I’m very happy, especially considering Greg’s been at one training session and came out and had a triple double and we put up 120, that was pretty impressive given we’re only going to get better at that end.
“Defensively was a problem, (Cockburn) landed over 40 per cent from three so I’m not overly ecstatic with the defensive side of things, but offensively we’re starting to get there.”
He was also happy with his team’s response to going behind in the second quarter; after leading 31-22 at quarter time, the Flames found themselves 37-35 behind early in the quarter, which prompted a time out and a “kick up the backside” from Petrik.
“We timed out... I said ‘oi, boys, we’ve got to play here’ and it’s almost like they went ‘oh, okay, fine’, and three minutes later we’re 10 or 12 points up, and five minutes again we were up 20,” Petrik said.
“We obviously have another gear to go to offensively and the fact we did it so easily, considering the players don’t really know the playbook that well and aren’t running it that well, to go and play 10 minutes of serious basketball is pleasing. Whether we can do that against the top teams is another story.”
Ritchart led the scoring for the Flames with 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Pal was strong on the glass grabbing 10 rebounds to go with 14 points.
Import shooting guard Caleb White had his best output to date scoring 20 points, including a pair of threes to reignite the Flames in the second quarter, and Ryan Godfrey was just an assist short of a double-double (16 points, nine assists and six rebounds).
Such was the margin of the Flames’ lead in the final quarter, Petrik was afforded the luxury of giving valuable court time to youngsters Melusi Mkhwananzi, Ben Johnson, Mitchell Davies, Joshua Mills and Kyle Beard.
The quintet, who played out the final three minutes, had an average age of just 19 and Petrik said he would have liked to have given them more time but wanted to get more reps into his established players given their lack of playing time together.
“Our big weakness compared to Joondalup, Geraldton and Perry Lakes is we don’t have reps together as a unit,” he said.
“We have a new offence, new defence, new players and new coaching staff, so we need as many reps as we can get. So I left those guys in a little bit longer than I would have liked just to get a couple of minutes extra reps. That’s what’s going to be important come finals time because the other teams are all seasoned.”
The Flames men face their first double-header of the season this weekend, with a trip to Belmont Oasis to take on the Perth Redbacks on Friday night followed by a home game against Goldfields Giants at noon on Sunday.
The women face the Redbacks on Friday from 6.30pm.
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