FLAMES FIRED UP TO REAP NET EFFORT
The Rockingham Flames fired a warning shot at the rest of the State Basketball League on Friday night with the men’s and women’s teams registering impressive wins without key personnel.
On an emotional night for the club, which saw the retirement of the late Anthony Exeter’s No. 8 jersey, the Flames women took nearly three quarters to hit their stride before prevailing 85-72 over Perry Lakes, while the men’s team came out all guns blazing against last season’s champion Hawks to run away with a 107-90 victory.
As she did throughout 2018, centre Maddie Allen stood tall for the Flames registering 20 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, Paris Duffield and co-captains Ella Kennedy and Chelsea Petrik added 11 each, while Chris Boag grabbed 13 rebounds to go with 7 points, and Janelle Adams dished out 6 assists to go with 8 points.
Coach Craig Reynolds said his side was rusty in the opening exchanges and it wasn’t until after half-time they got into a rhythm offensively. “We settled after half time and we found our identity a bit better in the second half,” he said.
Despite the win, Reynolds said his team had improvements to make and that it would be hard to get a read on the league until about eight weeks into the season.
“There was definitely good stuff we have to take out of the game, but we weren’t good in a lot of areas,” Reynolds said. “We can’t judge where we are against the rest of the competition until eight weeks in. We’ve got to improve, we’ve got to get better but it’s a great start.”
In the men’s game, the Flames went some way to avenging last season’s three-game semifinal series loss to the eventual champions, with the side’s accuracy from three-point range leaving the Hawks with no riposte early in the contest.
Captain Ryan Godfrey was instrumental in the 17-point win, hitting five of 10 from three on his way to a 27-point, 9-assist night, while Luke Travers and Josh Ritchart each helped themselves to 22 points and 9 and 10 rebounds respectively.
The Flames’ fast tempo, quick ball movement and accuracy overwhelmed the Hawks in the first half, with the gap at the main interval an imposing 24 points.
Coach Ryan Petrik admitted his side took their foot off the pedal and tried to conserve the lead in the second half but overall was happy with a much better performance than in last week’s loss to Geraldton.
Petrik said the strong home support was worth a bonus 15-20 (points) per game and hoped fans would turn Mike Barnett Sports Complex into a “cauldron”.
“If we play a style that’s attractive to watch and gives you wins fans will keep coming back,” he said.
The Flames travel to Cockburn to take on the Cougars at Wally Hagan Stadium from 5pm on Saturday.
Rockingham Flames president Warren Boucaut presents the late Anthony Exeter's wife Kelly and children Jaden and Mia his retired No. 8 jersey.