Rockingham Flames run Geraldton Buccaneers all the way, but women fall under Mandurah Magic’s spell to lose again
An undermanned Rockingham Flames side pushed the Geraldton Buccaneers all the way in their top-of-the-table State Basketball League clash last Saturday but ultimately fell short.
The Flames, missing important cogs Josh Ritchart, Justin Beard, Luke Travers and Brad Robbins, led at the first change but poor second and third quarters allowed the Buccs to gain the ascendency and hold out for a 74-66 win.
The final gap only swelled to eight points, in what was a close contest throughout, courtesy of some ill discipline from the Flames, with a number of technical fouls called in the dying seconds — including a second that saw Greg Hire ejected — sending the Buccs to the line to add some easy points to pad the margin.
Hire was dominant on the glass, grabbing a season-high 28 rebounds to go with 12 points and six assists, while Caleb White hit 15 points on an uncharacteristic 23 per cent and Ryan Godfrey scored 12 of his 13 in the last quarter.
Despite the result, coach Ryan Petrik said putting aside an “emotional” final 30 seconds, he’d never been prouder of his team this season.
“We were outplayed and Geraldton were going to win but the fight and effort at the back end of a double-header with four stars missing, to push one of the best teams in the comp that far under those circumstances was brilliant,” he said.
Thanks to the quirks of the SBL’s fixturing, the Flames men finished round 17 in a stronger position than their opposition, with other results seeing the Flames fall to third but the Buccs dropping from first to fourth, albeit with two games in hand on Joondalup, who moved top.
Flames were helped by Friday night’s efforts, when they took their defence to “another level”, according to Petrik, and kept the Mandurah Magic to just 48 points in a 66-48 win.
Hire finished that game with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while White and Chudier Pal each registered 10 points.
The wheels continue to come off the Flames women’s campaign, however, as they dropped another game to lower ranked opposition with a 81-65 loss to Mandurah.
Darcee Garbin and Alex Ciabbatoni each scored 18 points but it wasn’t enough to dent the Magic, who are the form team of the WSNL having not lost a match since June 7.
The Flames cling to sixth spot on the WSBL ladder but with only two points separating sixth and 10th, they are in danger of falling out of play-offs contention with three rounds to go.
Both sides face doubleheaders this weekend, with a visit to East Perth on Friday night followed by home clashes against Kalamunda on Saturday from 6pm.
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