Mixed fortunes for Rockingham Flames against Perth Redbacks, with men’s depth set for a test in coming weeks

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Luke Travers was a standout performer in Rockingham's win over Perth, but he will miss the next five games.
Camera IconLuke Travers was a standout performer in Rockingham's win over Perth, but he will miss the next five games. Credit: Stuart Horton

The Rockingham Flames men’s team’s depth is set to be tested this month with a raft of players to miss games as the State Basketball League draws towards the end of the season.

After a stand-out performance in last Friday’s 103-77 win over the Perth Redbacks, Luke Travers will miss the next five matches while he attends a college exposure program in the United States, and Justin Beard and Ryan Godfrey will also miss upcoming matches.

With imports Caleb White not at 100 per cent fitness after a quad injury, and Josh Ritchart out with a calf problem for a couple of weeks more, the Flames’ depth will be put to the test with a pair of double headers on the horizon.

It isn’t new territory for coach Ryan Petrik, however, who has only been able to field his best starting five in two matches all season courtesy of a combination of injuries and representative duties.

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Petrik said he faced “a real juggling” act over the coming month, and with the Flames well placed in second spot on the MSBL ladder, would have to carefully manage his team with an eye on the play-offs.

“Caleb comes up sore again and again and again, he’s not 100 per cent, and that’s the problem now with these next few games is how much do we push guys and risk it?” Petrik said.

“Are we better off admitting defeat to preserve guys (for playoffs), or is it worthwhile losing the battle in July to win the war in August? Or do we try to win the battle in July and lose two or three more players?”

The Flames head into this weekend’s double-header against Mandurah (away, Friday) and Geraldton (home, Saturday) off the back of an impressive second-half performance which secured a 26-point win over the Redbacks.

Trailing 44-49 at half time, the Flames went on a 12-0 run to start the third quarter, with the Redbacks not hitting the scoreboard until four minutes into the term and restricted to just a further 26 points for the remainder of the game.

Things went from bad to worse for the Redbacks when coach Nik Lackovic was ejected following back-to-back technical foul calls with a little under seven minutes remaining.

Led by Travers (17 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks) and Beard (17 points on four from eight shooting from three), six Flames players registered double figures in scoring - White (17) and Greg Hire (13), Godfrey (13) and Chudier Pal (12) - while Hire (12) and Pal (8) were dominant on the boards.

Justin Beard scored 17 points and shot at 50 per cent from three in the win over Perth.
Camera IconJustin Beard scored 17 points and shot at 50 per cent from three in the win over Perth.

Women’s coach Keegan Crawford expects his team to come out firing against Mandurah on Friday after ill discipline cost them victory against the Redbacks.

The Flames committed 12 fouls, plus a tech, to two in the last quarter, sending the Redbacks to the free throw line 10 times, where they banked 11 points, and surrendering a three-point lead at three quarter time to go down 67-72.

Crawford refused to be drawn on the discrepancy in the foul count in the last quarter, and instead was quick to praise the opposition and lay the blame squarely on his players.

“You can go through any quarter of any game and there’s always going to be some controversial stuff, but we have to be way better at how we deal with adversity and keep concentrating on things we can control,” he said.

“It’s a correctable mistake. We can go through the review and say ‘this is what hurt us, it’s super correctable and we’ve got to be aware of not making the same mistake in a row. When they’re (the referees) calling it pretty tightly on loose ball fouls after rebounds we can’t make the same mistake three or four times in a row’.

“The Redbacks were really really good, and credit to them, but you always wish you could run it back after a loss.”

Darcee Garbin top scored with 26 before fouling out with about two minutes remaining, and Alex Ciabbatoni continued her impressive start as a Flame with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

The Flames play Mandurah at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Friday, before the men face Geraldton at Mike Barnett Sports Complex at 8pm Saturday.

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