Dragons claim scalp of cross-city ri­vals

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

THE S o u t h D r a g o n s breathed life into Melbourne’s NBL ri­valry with a run­away 107-94 win over league lead­ers the Melbourne Tigers at a packed Voda­fone Arena last night.

The Dragons’ win, in a fiercely fought, see­saw­ing bat­tle in front of a crowd of 9175 peo­ple, broke an eightgame win­ning streak­for the Tigers.

It was the sec­ond match be­tween the two clubs, with the first, which the Tigers won in round five, the last game in charge for in­au­gu­ral Dragons coach Mark Price, who had led the team through a win­less sea­son start.

Last night’s win took­the Dragons to a 10-12 record, 10-7 since Shane Heal took over from Price as play­er­coach.

The s c o r i n g f o r t h e Dragons was dom­i­nated by three play­ers — for­ward Rosell El­lis (29), ex­cit­ing young bench player Joe I n g l e s ( 2 8 ) and guard Kavossy Franklin (26), with no other mem­ber of the team mak­ing it into dou­ble fig­ures.

El­lis also pulled down 11 re­bounds in a valiant ef­fort against the tall Tigers side, while team­mate Ja­cob Holmes grabbed 16 boards.

El­lis, In­gles and Franklin were all su­perb in the fi­nal term, notch­ing 24 of their side’s 31 points, while Holmes notched 10 re­bounds for the term as the Dragons stormed home af­ter trail­ing by two points at the fi­nal change.

The Tigers had ear­lier fought back­from nine points down early in the sec­ond half with a fe­ro­cious de­fen­sive ef­fort in the third quar­ter to take the lead.

Dave Thomas scored 23 points for the Tigers, with Chris An­stey and Rashad Tucker each scor­ing 18.

Heal said the vic­tory was ex­actly what the Dragons and Melbourne’s bas­ket­ball com­mu­nity needed.

‘‘I guess the Tigers have ac­cused us of be­ing just about the pro­mo­tion and noth­ing about win­ning,’’ Heal said.

‘‘I thinkit was cer­tainly great for the ri­valry of bas­ket­ball in this city and ob­vi­ously a huge in­jec­tion for how we can go and how we feel about our­selves for the sea­son.’’

Heal was full of praise for 19-year-old In­gles, who made five three-point­ers from eight at­tempts, and said he would be in the next Boomers squad.

‘‘I have no doubt he’ll be in it . . . I spoke to (Boomers coach) Brian Goor­jian a cou­ple of days ago and he’s ex­cited about some­body like Joe and the other good young kids around the coun­try,’’ he said.

Heal also said El­lis’ ef­fort was re­mark­able, ‘fight­ing out of his weight class’ against Tigers gi­ant An­stey.

Melbourne coach Alan Westover said his team should not have been out­re­bounded, given its size ad­van­tage, with the Dragons win­ning that cat­e­gory 56-43.

But he sug­gested the ref­er­ees took­the size dif­fer­ence be­tween the two teams into ac­count.

COM­ING THROUGH . . . Dar­ryl McDon­ald and Shane Heal do bat­tle dur­ing last

night’s NBL clash be­tween the Dragons and Tigers

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