Rockingham Flames men, women’s squads scorch South West Slammers

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Flames president Warren Boucaut holds Kaye Tucker's retired #13 jersey during a special presentation for the former captain last Saturday night.
Camera IconFlames president Warren Boucaut holds Kaye Tucker's retired #13 jersey during a special presentation for the former captain last Saturday night.

The Rockingham Flames laid down a marker for the rest of the 2019 State Basketball League season with both sides registering impressive wins over the South West Slammers at Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Saturday.

On a night when the club honoured inaugural championship captain Kaye Tucker by officially retiring her number 13 jersey, the Flames women put the Slammers to the torch in a scintillating first quarter to lead 27-3.

Led by Darcee Garbin, Maddie Allen and debutant Alex Ciabattoni, the Flames turned the tables on a Slammers side who beat them 76-77 less than a month ago to register an imposing 93-52 win.

Coach Keegan Crawford was especially impressed by the effort of a “40 per cent fit” Ciabattoni, who contributed 15 points and three assists in little more than 20 minutes of action.

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“She’s so unselfish, too unselfish at points just trying to make the right passes because she doesn’t care too much about stats or playing time, she’s just trying to find and bring all the girls into play,” he said.

“She was scary good, but when you look at her resume, her experience and the level she’s played at the last two or three years, she adds a huge dynamic for us.”

Crawford also lavished praise on centre Allen, who recorded a 17-point, 17-rebound double-double. Crawford believes Allen is nearing a return to top form after a recent bout of illness.

“I think that was her best game of the season and she’s peaking at the right time of the season for us,” he said. “As we get our full squad back together she’s really showing why we want her here and why we have her around. She’s killing it at the moment.”

Garbin added 23 points on 68 per cent shooting, while Paris Duffield added 10 points and Chris Boag continued her recent good form with 8 points and 8 rebounds.

The Flames men also recorded a big win, downing the winless Slammers 92-69 despite being without arguably their best three players in Caleb White, Josh Ritchart and Greg Hire.

Ritchart is expected to miss about six weeks with a calf injury, while White could return from a quad strain for this Friday’s mouthwatering tie against Joondalup, while Hire is part of the Australian men’s 3x3 World Cup squad in the Netherlands.

Coach Ryan Petrik was impressed with the manner in which captain Ryan Godfrey and veteran Brad Robbins stepped up in the trio’s absence, with Robbins having his breakout game as a Flame. “He was amazing, considering he’s played about four or five games in three years he was phenomenal,” Petrik said of the 34-year-old’s 17-point, five-rebound effort.

“His defence was incredible... he has a bit of swagger about him and makes the other guys walk a bit taller when he’s on the court. He’s certainly coming good at the right time for us.”

Needing a big scoring input with their three biggest offensive weapons missing, captain Godfrey stood up to be counted for the Flames.

“I don’t know how many points those three guys (White, Hire and Ritchart) are responsible for, but we really needed some scoring from Godfrey, and that’s the beauty of his game, he can slot into any role you want,” Petrik said.

Godfrey finished with 23 points and five assists, while Justin Beard (17 points, five rebounds) and Luke Travers (16 points, five rebounds) also contributed well.

The Flames remain fourth on the MSBL ladder ahead of Friday night’s clash with the table-topping Joondalup Wolves at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.

The sixth-placed women take on the third-placed Lady Wolfpack from 6.30pm, with the men to tip off at 8.30pm.

Visit the Sound Telegraph on Facebook for a chance to win a family pass to the Flames clashes with Joondalup on June 21.

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