The Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames’ quest for top four finishes in the NBL1 West remains well on track after the club returned home with three wins from four tough away fixtures last week.
The Flames posted a double-win at Warwick on Thursday after the women won 103-86 against the Senators and the men prevailed in a thriller 88-86, with the men backing up on Friday with a 77-66 win over East Perth while the women went down 69-82.
On Thursday, the women’s side welcomed Tayah Burrows and Alex Ciabattoni back into the starting lineup and the pair accounted for 57 points – more than half the team’s total – after the Flames jumped out of the blocks in the first quarter, leading by as many as 10 points late in the opening stanza.
The Senators reeled them back in in the second quarter, thanks to Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard and Chloe Forster, with the visitors holding just a single point lead at the break.
Flames switched up a gear in the third to lead by 15 halfway through the quarter, and continued to put the foot down as the stretched out to an eventual 17-point winning margin on the back of a massive 33-point seven-rebound effort from Ciabattoni.
Burrows and Zoe Richards both chipped in with 24 points, while Chris Boag was immense on the boards to finish with a 12-point 22-rebound double-double.
A lackluster second quarter and poor shooting cost the Flames on Friday night against the Eagles as the third-placed hosts registered the W, but the Flames remain in fourth position in the women’s competition with two rounds remaining.
The Flames men are also in fourth, despite their two wins, starting on Thursday against the Senators where Atem Bior and Cirkook Riak again dominated the box score despite the side trailing by eight points at quarter time.
A better defensive effort after the first break saw the Flames restrict their hosts to just 33 points across the second and third quarters, and despite being outscored in the fourth were able to hold on for a narrow win.
Bior finished with 24 points and six rebounds, while Riak added 21 points and nine rebounds, Ryan Godfrey scored 16 at 64 percent shooting with six assists, and big man Tom Jervis added an important 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Godfrey continued to shoot the lights out on Friday and led the way with 23 points at 60 percent shooting from the field as the Flames locked down on defence in the opening term to set up an 11-point win over the Eagles.
Jervis was busy again with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Justin Beard’s stellar run of form continued with a 12-point 10-rebound double-double.
The Flames will hope to take advantage of Mandurah’s cluttered schedule when the local rivals meet on Saturday at the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, with the Magic set to play twice, on Tuesday and Friday, before hosting the Flames from 5pm.