Bogey banished in heavyweight battle
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.