God­frey, Hire ig­nite Flames

Southern Telegraph - - Sport - Stuart Hor­ton

Rock­ing­ham Flames have one foot in the State Bas­ket­ball League grand fi­nal af­ter a dom­i­nant 92-73 win over Perry Lakes Hawks at Ben­dat Bas­ket­ball Cen­tre on Satur­day night.

Led by cap­tain Ryan God­frey and Wild­cat Greg Hire, the Flames dom­i­nated for all but a brief pe­riod in the first quar­ter to run away with game one in the best of three semi­fi­nal series.

Cur­tis Wash­ing­ton reg­is­tered the first score, and first of his 18 points, with the Flames’ first shot of the match to set the tone for the night as God­frey hit 20 points, Hire 19 and 20 re­bounds and teenager Luke Travers 17.

The Hawks suf­fered an early blow when star and reign­ing league MVP Ja­cob Hol­men was forced off with what looked like a se­ri­ous knee in­jury in the first five min­utes, and his side never re­cov­ered.

The fi­nal mar­gin could have been more, with the Flames out by 27 points at one point in the fourth quar­ter, but coach Brad Sa­muel­son rested his starters and gave rare min­utes to young­sters Kyle and Cal­lum Beard and Melusi Mkhwananzi.

Sa­muel­son was “very pleased” with how his play­ers car­ried over their good form from their up­set quar­ter­fi­nal series win over top seeds Ger­ald­ton and hoped the Rock­ing­ham com­mu­nity would show its sup­port for the team at home this Fri­day.

“We’re all ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity that’s been pre­sented to us . . . it’s a very ex­cit­ing time be­cause this is the best po­si­tion (men’s) bas­ket­ball has ever been in in Rock­ing­ham,” he said.

“The guys are en­joy­ing them­selves. Most of them have been to­gether since ju­niors; seven have been to­gether since they were nine or 10, and we’ve got some brothers and fam­i­lies in­volved. (Be­cause of that bond) they’re pretty laid-back and my big­gest chal­lenge is get­ting them to lift the in­ten­sity in train­ing be­cause they’re en­joy­ing each other’s company so much. Luck­ily come game time they’re able to switch on pretty quickly.”

De­spite be­ing in a strong po­si­tion to get to their first grand fi­nal, Sa­muel­son said his play­ers were fo­cused on cut­ting out lapses in con­cen­tra­tion that had cost the side this sea­son. “We’ve had lit­tle lapses af­ter breaks, whether af­ter a time out or com­ing off a quar­ter break or half-time. Of all our losses this sea­son I’d say in 60 per cent of those we lost our way for about three min­utes and that’s cost us the game,” he said.

“If we con­tinue to work on our con­sis­tency and fol­low our sys­tems and pro­ce­dures we will be OK. I do be­lieve we will be suc­cess­ful if we can keep that up.”

The Flames take on Perry Lakes in game two on Fri­day night at Mike Bar­nett Sports Com­plex. Tip-off is at 7pm.

Pic­ture: Stuart Hor­ton

Rock­ing­ham's Luke Travers takes flight in the Flames’ big semi­fi­nal win over Perry Lakes on Satur­day.

Pic­ture: Stuart Hor­ton

Ryan God­frey top scored for the Flames.

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