Heat ‘ meant to win this game’
TOWNSVILLE Heat star Peter Crawford knows a championship team when he sees one, and he believes the Heat have the pieces to win a Queensland Basketball League title.
Crawford’s team takes on Gladstone Port City Power tonight at Townsville Basketball Stadium where another win could put the Heat into top spot should current leaders Mackay drop their game against Brisbane Capitals.
The Heat will again bring the same roster that handed Mackay a 96- 81 loss on their home court, although Gladstone have hit form through consecutive wins against Rockhampton and Logan.
Tonight’s game is also the first of a double- header for Gladstone, who play Cairns Marlins tomorrow, meaning they will likely throw their biggest effort at the Heat.
“I think we’re a better team, I think we’re meant to win this game,” Crawford said.
“But it doesn’t mean will be able to show up and win. We’ll have to play well, execute and push.
“There isn’t long left in the season and we have a tough triple header coming up in the last round.
“Most teams are sort of winding down, we need to be winding up towards the playoffs and peaking.
“This is a good test for us to make sure we’re heading in the right direction.”
Gladstone import and league topscorer Ray Willis will be the Heat’s biggest threat, having averaged almost 28 points a game.
He made 36- point hauls in Gladstone’s past two wins over Rockhampton and Toowoomba, and fellow American Willie Shackleford is the QBL’s second best rebounder.
“Ray Willis has been killing it,” Crawford said.
“He’ll be a tough task for us to guard, and they’ll be coming in trying to get the first game before heading up to Cairns.
“Shackleford down low has been the leading rebounder in this league for a long time.
“I think we match up quite well against them, but we need to take care of our own business.”
The fourth placed Flames can also keep taking strides in the women’s QBL against Gladstone, who sit fifth. The sides last met in May when Gladstone won 96- 84 in overtime, with Power point guard Tabatha Richardson Smith lighting up the floor with 42 points and 13 rebounds.
“They have a point guard who’s quite handy and directs them around the court, and they have a couple of big girls inside too, so they have a good spread of scorers,” Flames point guard Rachael McCully said.
“Tabitha’s obviously their main threat, but we can’t just focus on Tabitha.
“If she gets 10- 20 points we have to make sure we shut everyone else down.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge and we definitely owe them one, and they’re right up our tail on the ladder.”
The Flames tip- off at 6.30pm followed by the men at 8.30pm.