IT might not have been their prettiest display but it didn’t need to be, the Rockingham Flames shook off a slow start to keep their winning form going against the Mandurah Magic on Friday night heading into Saturday’s clash for second spot with the Geraldton Buccaneers.
It might have appeared a mismatch on paper coming into Friday night’s game at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre with the Flames on a five-game winning streak to be in second spot while the Magic were second last on a four-match losing skid.
That’s not how the game started though. The Magic were on fire early racing to a 19-9 advantage but the Flames dominated the rest of the way.
Mandurah would only score 29 points over the game’s last 33 minutes and while Rockingham never clicked into top gear, they did outscore the Magic 57-29 over that period following the slow start to end up winning 66-48.
The win is a sixth in-a-row for the Flames to improve them to a 16-5 record heading into Saturday night’s clash with the 14-5 Geraldton Buccaneers at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
Despite the pleasing start, it turned into a night that Magic coach Aaron Trahair was lost for words about afterwards and for one of the few times in his tenue in Mandurah, he found himself questioning the effort of his players.
In the end, they scored just 48 points after having 19 in the first seven minutes and lost a fifth straight match to now hold a 5-17 record.
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It was a start to give the Magic great hope when they shot out of the blocks made all the more stunning considering the Flames did score the opening four points.
But then Cousteau Kyle hit a three for Mandurah and then when Jerami Grace hit from downtown, the home team was up 11-7. That became 14-7 with a Travis Durnin three, then 17-9 nine with another Kyle triple.
A Shaun Stewart layup threw the gauntlet right down to Rockingham with Mandurah leading 19-9, but that would be as good as it got for the Magic.
The Flames would go on to score nine of the last 11 points of the opening quarter and then dominated the second period with 21 points to just nine to have turned that 10-point deficit into a 10-point half-time lead.
Rockingham never got going offensively and added just 27 points in the second half, but at the same time they held Mandurah to just 19 to claim the comfortable 66-48 victory to start their double-header weekend.
The Flames ended up with more rebounds than shots, 67, to just 40 from Mandurah to make up for hitting just 3/25 from three-point territory.
Greg Hire was a dominant presence for the Flames with 16 points and 16 rebounds while Chudier Pal contributed 10 points and 10 boards.
Caleb White added 10 points, Callum Beard nine points, five boards and three assists, Ryan Godfrey eight points and six rebounds, and Brad Robbins eight points, seven boards and four steals.
It was a tough night, or least final 33 minutes, for the Magic as they finished the game shooting 26 per cent from the field and 23 per cent from deep while only getting to the foul line eight times in what was physical affair and with 107 rebounds to collect.
There were some positives for the Magic with Travis Durnin finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds and Jerami Grace with 13 points and four boards the standouts.
Jake Cannell fought hard for four points and five rebounds too while Akau Deng did battle inside for two points and five boards.
But what the Magic needed to be competitive was their imports to stand up and that didn’t happen. Shaun Stewart had just two points on 1/9 shooting and Marvin Smith had five points, six rebounds and four assists on 2/11 shooting.
Afterwards, coach Aaron Trahair was as flat as he has been at any point in the past three seasons he’s been in charge of the Magic and for the first time, had to question the effort and attitude of some of his players.
“Obviously the first six or seven minutes was actually really good, we moved the ball and played as a team and got some good look which we knocked down. But as quickly as we were playing well we started playing badly, we’re a bit Jekyll and Hyde at the moment,” Trahair said.
“It’s obviously disappointing and it’s happened a few times this year it’s fair to say that when teams start to pick up the ante and put a bit of pressure on us that we haven’t handled it very well. Tonight was certainly a similar scenario.
“I thought that for the most part most of the boys competed and to hold Rockingham to 66 points I guess is a positive. But to score under 50 ourselves is never going to get the job done.
“It’s disappointing and I thought that the effort from a few boys wasn’t where it needed to be, and the way we are built at the moment we need everyone on board and giving everything they’ve got to be competitive.
“That certainly wasn’t the case tonight which from my point of view is as disappointed as I can get. We try to base everything on effort and we didn’t do that tonight.”
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 17
Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves 89 lost to Lakeside Lightning 92
Mandurah Magic 48 lost to Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames 66
Texture WA Perth Redbacks 77 lost to Kalamunda Eastern Suns 115
Lakeside Lightning v Schweigen East Perth Eagles – Lakeside Recreation Centre 6.00pm
Round 1 Fitness Cockburn Cougars v Scarboro Toyota Perry Lakes Hawks – Wally Hagan Stadium 7.00pm
Northern Star Resources Goldfields Giants v Willetton Tigers – Niels Hansen Basketball Centre 7.30pm
Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames v Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8.00pm
Print Sync South West Slammers v Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves – Eaton Recreation Centre 8.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Bethanie Warwick Senators – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm
Texture WA Perth Redbacks v Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers – Belmont Oasis 12.00pm