Rockingham Flames eye top two after torching South West Slammers
The Rockingham Flames men’s team cemented their credentials as an SBL men’s premiership contender with a comfortable 96-64 victory over the South West Slammers at a bitterly cold Eaton Recreation Centre last Friday night.
With three players within the Flames starting five 201cm or taller, the visitors terrorised the undersized home side across both ends of the glass.
Although endeavour and attitude were plentiful for John Triscari’s Slammers, they were routinely manhandled in running lanes — with quality inside offensive looks a rarity, such was Flames’ blowtorch of pressure aimed at their bellies.
The versatile visitors were served well offensively by Caleb White (19 points, seven rebounds, three assists), Joshua Ritchart (24 points, eight rebounds, four assists) and Greg Hire (17 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists), who all relished the high-octane nature of their general ball movement.
Trailing 50-30 at the half, the Slammers refused to wilt, with Michael Lay and Tyler Livingston hitting quality long-range shots to keep their side’s pulse of victory alive.
During this passage of play, the Flames began to move the ball around more extravagantly — which resulted in an added boost for the home side — who capitalised on the sloppy nature creeping into the Flames’ offensive delivery.
Leading 68-49 at the final change, a quick word from Flames coach Ryan Petrik perked up his men, who proceeded to go on a marauding 13-0 offensive run to begin the fourth quarter — well and truly extinguishing the Slammers’ fleeting optimism.
Victory puts the Flames on course for a tilt at a top-two finish, with Petrik’s men not facing another top eight side until round 15 against the Joondalup Wolves on June 21.
The Flames women dropped their third match on the bounce, going down 76-77 against the Slammers despite the presence of Darcee Garbin.
The Australian Opal had an immediate impact, hitting 28 points on her first game of 2019 for the Flames, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Slammers, for whom Makailah Dyer hit a game-high 29 points.
The Flames face East Perth Eagles on Saturday at Mike Barnett Sports Complex, with the women tipping off at 6pm and the men at 8pm.
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