Bo­gey ban­ished in heavy­weight battle

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by Andrew Aloia andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE fi­nally proved they could go the dis­tance against their bo­gey side.

Un­til Fri­day, Perth had the edge over the Croc­o­diles, hav­ing eas­ily beaten them in their three pre­vi­ous meet­ings this sea­son.

But like a prize-fighter, the Crocs used all their battle craft to sucker punch the West Aus­tralians and re­claim the all-im­por­tant sec­ond place on the NBL lad­der.

Townsville point guard Will Blalock, who landed the telling blows in the fi­nal min­utes of the one-point thriller at The Swamp, de­scribed the see­saw­ing con­test as the tough­est 40 min­utes he’s had Down Un­der.

The roar of tri­umph at the end of the game was to the Crocs what the bell is to a punch-drunk boxer at the end of a bru­tal stoush.

‘‘ It felt like a dog­fight, and we just won in the 12th round,’’ Blalock said.

‘‘ It was just a slug-fest for the whole four quar­ters and we ended up win­ning.’’

Un­for­tu­nately for Croc­o­diles for­ward Rosell El­lis it looked as if he had gone 12 rounds with world heavy­weight cham­pion David Haye as he stum­bled through his 13 min­utes 20 sec­onds of the con­test af­ter tak­ing a heavy knock to the head early in the game which af­fected his bal­ance. El­lis’s gutsy dis­play was the finest ex­am­ple of his team’s re­solve that coach Trevor Glee­son could find.

‘‘ His bal­ance was re­ally out and he prob­a­bly shouldn’t have played, but Rosell be­ing the com­peti­tor that he is I put him in the last minute when he hardly played in the sec­ond half,’’ Glee­son said.

Blalock de­liv­ered a knock­out per­for­mance – with 14 points, six as­sists and four re­bounds – but the Amer­i­can did not emerge un­scathed af­ter five turnovers.

He did, how­ever, put star Perth guard Damian Martin on the ropes af­ter the Wild­cat had wowed the league a week ear­lier with a near­quadru­ple dou­ble against Gold Coast. Martin on Fri­day was kept to seven points, two steals, two as­sists and two re­bounds.

While Blalock avoided talk of the match-up pre-game, he was glad to come out as a unan­i­mous points win­ner.

‘‘ I didn’t want it to be a fight be­tween me and him, I know he had a great game against the Gold Coast, I saw that, I watch TV,’’ Blalock said.

‘‘ I had to keep him off the boards, and I made an em­pha­sis on that part of my game’’.

T o w n s v i l l e t o o k a n e a r l y stran­gle­hold on the match through the battle of the boards, mon­ster­ing the league’s best re­bound­ing side 23-10 in the first half.

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