Wilcher on fire as Heat start to lift
Picture: SCOTT RADFORD- CHISHOLM THEY’RE the QBL’s form team, but Townsville Heat coach Rod Anderson has warned his team is yet to fire on all cylinders after a 96- 81 home defeat of league leaders Mackay on Saturday.
Missing star Brisbane Bullets guard Shaun Bruce, the league- leading Meteors were powerless to stop an offensive masterclass from the Heat’s key playmaker Josh Wilcher.
Wilcher racked up 36 points and seven assists to mastermind Townsville’s ninth win in 10 games.
He nailed eight three pointers from 12 attempts and scored 15 points in the first quarter alone to set the tone.
“Every time I subbed him out he was dirty because he had his eye in from the three point line,” Anderson said.
“If Justin Baker ( 16 points, seven rebounds) had a mismatch he found him.
“I think he ( Wilcher) felt like he had a point to prove, the last couple of times we’ve played Mackay he hasn’t played really well.
“We still haven’t found our top form yet and getting better every week and finding different ways to beat teams. I still feel our best stuff is in front of us.”
The Heat committed 22 turnovers in a last start win over Brisbane Spartans but coughed the ball up just eight times against Mackay.
“I had vision of all our turnovers and we showed them to the players on Sat- urday morning shootaround,” said.
“It was definitely at the forefront of our minds to look after the ball and it was a big way to control the tempo of the game.”
Anderson said a tight home loss to Gold Coast three weeks ago has helped his side refocus.
“It might have been the shake- up we needed,” Anderson said.
“To lose to a team like that is no disgrace but every time we step on the floor we feel like we have a great chance of winning, especially at home.
“We really haven’t looked back since then and have gone on to beat some really good teams.”
The Heat now have the season split over the Mackay and the Townsville Flames achieved likewise after routing the third- placed Meteorettes 97- 67.
Centre Darcee Garbin dominated with 24 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, while Mia Murray ( 18), Rachael McCully ( 17) and Haylee Andrews ( 15) were also strong offensively.
The Meteorettes could only manage 35 per cent from the field as the fourthplaced Flames continued their winning streak. QBL RESULTS Men: TOWNSVILLE HEAT 96 ( J Wilcher 36, J Anderson 22, J Baker 16) bt MACKAY METEORS 81 ( C Cedar 29, L Blicavs 17, T Diop 11).
Women: TOWNSVILLE FLAMES 97 ( D Garbin 24, M Murray 18, R McCully 17) bt MACKAY METEORS 67 ( T Willey 29, N Payne 18, S Storeshaw 13) before our Anderson