United Crocs stand

Will to fight to­gether takes Townsville to a new level

Townsville Bulletin - - Sports - andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THE Townsville Croc­o­diles proved that to­gether, they can do any­thing.

New Zealand ma­chine-gunned the hosts at The Swamp in the first term, shoot­ing at 93 per cent from the field to open a com­mand­ing 12-point lead.

Stub­born per­sis­tence and unity, how­ever, saw the Crocs wres­tle the con­test back by half­time be­fore pow­er­ing to a 100-92 vic­tory over the NBL mi­nor premiers.

It was only a week ago that coach Trevor Glee­son lamented his side lacked the strength to over­power the Break­ers. There was no ques­tion­ing the dy­na­mite punch with which they floored the run­away competition lead­ers on Satur­day.

‘‘ We re­deemed our­selves with the in­ten­sity level,’’ Glee­son said.

‘‘ To come back against the

top team, when 15 down, you have to dig real hard to do that and I was pleased that we didn’t do it in­div i d u a l l y . We g e l l e d t o g e t h e r stronger as a unit and clawed our way back in.’’

It took the com­po­sure of vet­eran guard Nathan Cross­well and early foul trou­ble to Break­ers duo Mika Vukona and Alex Pledger to un­set­tle the vis­i­tors. Cross­well kept the Crocs within touch­ing dis­tance from the char­ity stripe in the first half, hit­ting eight-of-eight on the way to a 15-point haul.

Glee­son went to great lengths to wake the Crocs from their slum­ber, fi­nally find­ing a spark by go­ing small with both point guards, Cross­well and Blalock, on the floor.

‘‘ Will got it go­ing and Crossie was real ag­gres­sive. He was tak­ing the ball to the rack and that was one of our points of em­pha­sis be­fore the game, to take the ball strong and Crossie did a good job of that,’’ Glee­son said.

Shar­ing con­trol of the game with Blalock is some­thing Cross­well is not used to, but he grinned as he spoke about the pos­si­bil­i­ties af­ter the tac­tic’s in­stant suc­cess.

But Cross­well de­nied it was about to change his role off the bench.

‘‘ It was a flat start and I just felt if I could come on and try and cre­ate a bit of en­ergy and bit of mo­men­tum and get guys ex­cited about play­ing . . . I felt I did that,’’ he said.

With the mar­gin back to two at the ma i n b r e a k , G l e e s o n s i mp l y pleaded for pa­tience and dili­gence in de­fence as the Break­ers’ al­most fault­less of­fence strayed. Af­ter their scin­til­lat­ing dis­play in the open­ing pe­riod, New Zealand shot at 40 per­cent for the re­main­der.

‘‘ At half­time we thought, ‘ they have to start miss­ing soon’, but we weren’t chal­leng­ing those shots, they were get­ting pretty clean looks,’’ Glee­son said.

Soon it was New Zealand coach An­drej Le­ma­nis com­plain­ing of com­pla­cency, af­ter Mick Cedar and Brad Wil­liamson gave the Crocs a jolt from be­yond the arc in the sec­ond term.

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