Flames fire up with QBL fi­nals in sight

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER trent. slatter@ news. com. au

THE Townsville Flames are warm­ing up for their QBL fi­nals charge af­ter tak­ing down the Lo­gan Thun­der 89- 60 at Townsville Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium on Sat­ur­day night.

The Flames were com­ing off their first home loss of the sea­son to Glad­stone last week­end, but they were clin­i­cal against the Thun­der as they im­proved their record to 9- 5.

WNBL stars Darcee Garbin ( 23 points, 9 re­bounds) and Mia Mur­ray ( 13 points, 10 re­bounds) set the tone for the Flames and coach Mike StMau­rice felt it was a good team per­for­mance.

“Ev­ery­one knows Darcee’s a player that we rely on and other teams key in on her, but de­spite all the at­ten­tion she at­tracted she was still scor­ing and fa­cil­i­tat­ing,” St- Mau­rice said.

“Mia Mur­ray has been bat­tling that back in­jury all year, but I thought she showed some great lead­er­ship for us. We had a rough trot the week be- fore against Glad­stone and that took away our un­beaten record at home, so we wanted to prove we be­long with the top teams.”

The Flames will round out the reg­u­lar sea­son with a tough south­east Queens­land triple- header this week­end against the USC Rip City, Sun­shine Coast Phoenix, and Bris­bane Cap­i­tals.

It’s an ex­haust­ing road trip head­ing into the fi­nals, but St- Mau­rice was con­fi­dent Townsville had a strong enough squad to han­dle the work­load of three games in three days.

“I said a tthe be­gin­ning of year we’re one of the deep­est teams in the league and triple- head­ers are the time when we can back up that claim,” he said. “We’re com­fort­able with the group we’re tak­ing away be­ing able to match it with any­one. We’ll only travel with nine on Fri­day, but we’ll have the full group of 10 by Sat­ur­day, so our goal is to go 3- 0.

“We’re a process- driven team and we know the ef­fort that we put in at train­ing bears fruits on the week­end.

“We’ve been build­ing to­wards be­ing a good team all year.”

The Townsville Heat still have a shot to claim the men’s mi­nor premier­ship af­ter notch­ing their fifth­straight win against the Lo­gan Thun­der 100- 75.

Josh Wilcher, Justin Baker, and Peter Craw­ford all scored 17 points in a well- rounded per­for­mance from the home side as they dom­i­nated every quar­ter.

The win sees Townsville move to an 11- 3 record ahead of this week­end’s triple- header, set­ting up a show­down with the Bris­bane Cap­i­tals ( 12- 3) on Sun­day which could de­cide top spot.

DRIV­ING FORCE: Rachael McCully in ac­tion for the Flames against the Lo­gan Thun­der at Townsville Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium. Pic­tures: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

Darcee Garbin yells sup­port from the bench.

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