Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Stu­art Hor­ton

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.

Pic­ture: Stu­art Hor­ton

Rock­ing­ham Flames pres­i­dent War­ren Bou­caut presents the late Anthony Ex­eter's wife Kelly and chil­dren Jaden and Mia his re­tired No. 8 jer­sey.

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