Rockingham Flames take low-key approach ahead of SBL’s big dance

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Chris Boag puts up a three-point attempt.
Camera IconChris Boag puts up a three-point attempt. Credit: Stuart Horton

It will be business as usual at training this week for the Rockingham Flames women, despite the undoubted excitement surrounding the players following another rousing come-from-behind win to book a spot in the State Basketball League grand final.

As they did in the quarterfinals against Mandurah a fortnight ago, the Flames dug deep in the last term against Perry Lakes to turn a seven-point three-quarter-time deficit into an unlikely 68-61 win.

Maddie Allen again showed she was the player for the big moment, dominating on the glass and scoreboard in the final quarter with eight of her 16 points, five of her 13 rebounds and two of her five assists coming in the final 10 minutes.

Maddie Allen gets physical against Perry Lakes' Sarah Donovan.
Camera IconMaddie Allen gets physical against Perry Lakes' Sarah Donovan. Credit: Pictures: Stuart Horton, Stuart Horton

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Despite being well contained by the Hawks defence in the second half, Darcee Garbin top-scored with 17 points, while Alex Ciabattoni and Chris Boag were, as usual, important contributors with 11 points each.

Coach Keegan Crawford said while there were elements of the team’s game that he might need to “tinker with and fix” ahead of Friday’s championship decider against Warwick Senators, he would be treating this week like any other at training despite preparing for the biggest game of the season.

“For us it’s keeping our routine consistent. In grand final week there’s a ton of little things that you need to take care of but we’re treating it like any other game,” he said.

“We’ll do film-review on ourselves Monday and scout on Wednesday like we always do, we’ll practice twice on our court, we wont take our practices to Perth.

“We’re not changing anything just because it’s a grand final and we’ll prepare the same way because it’s worked perfectly for the past eight weeks.”

Despite the elation of the team making a first grand final since 2015, Crawford isn’t getting carried away and knows the toughest week of the season is still ahead.

“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” he said.

Tayah Burrows goes to the basket.
Camera IconTayah Burrows goes to the basket. Credit: Stuart Horton

“I know the girls were happy after the game and they showed a bit of emotion because it was close but our goal is to win a championship and we haven’t done that yet.

“We have to dig in and we have a really talented team we’re coming up against so nothing’s really changed for us.”

The Flames defeated Warwick twice in the regular season but Crawford said that counted for nothing in a “do or die” match and he was wary of the Senators’ “super talented” line-up.

“They’re a very different team, they were missing girls in both of those games and they’re playing very different basketball to how they were earlier in the season,” he said.

“They’ve really played themselves into form. Sam Roscoe and Samaria Howard are probably having the best stretch of the season for them and we’re going into the mindset that it’s zero-zero, do or die, no previous records matter.

“It’s a one-off game and nothing else matters when we get on the court. We have to be the best on the night.”

The Flames take on Warwick at Bendat Basketball Centre on Friday from 7.20pm.

Tickets are available from the club or Ticketmaster.com.au.

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