JACKSON Hussey continued his MVP level form in the West Coast Classic and got strong support from Ryan Godfrey and Travis Durnin as the Rockingham Flames bounced back from a disappointing Saturday night loss to beat the Kalamunda Eastern Suns on Sunday.
Hussey delivered a simply remarkable performance last Saturday night at home to the Joondalup Wolves with 45 points on the back of 30 in the opening half to lead the Flames to a win that kept them alive in the finals in the West Coast Classic.
However, those hopes were all but dashed on Saturday night with a loss in their final home game against the Perth Redbacks. But they shook off the disappointment of that to come up the hill to play a dangerous Eastern Suns team at Ray Owen Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.
While the Flames could never really shake the Suns in an entertaining, and eventful afternoon of basketball with some spectators not making it to the final buzzer, Hussey inspired their victory again and he got some strong support.
Flames skipper Ryan Godfrey had missed the previous couple of weeks but he came up huge when it mattered most with some dagger threes late in the piece as he hit six for the game while Travis Durnin produced an impressive double-double.
Then with Hussey leading the way once more with 36 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, the Flames just had too much firepower to beat a Suns team who showed plenty of impressive fight too despite Rockingham prevailing 96-90.
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Finals might be all but out of the equation for both teams with Rockingham having lost the previous night to the Perth Redbacks while Kalamunda had so far been able to win two of 10 matches including a loss the night before away to the Warwick Senators.
That didn’t stop it from being an entertaining and good quality contest, though, which even included some drama beyond the court with the officials twice stopping the game to eject spectators from the building.
On their home floor though, the Suns got off to a roaring start with three-pointers to Carl Aylett and Corey Easley. Ryan Blanchett then also landed from deep and it was an early 9-4 lead for the home team.
The three-point party continued for Kalamunda with another one from Nathan Drown to keep them up by four midway through the opening period. But Rockingham superstar back court was warming up with Ryan Godfrey hitting a triple and Jackson Hussey taking it to the rack to give the Flames a lead.
Josh Mills and then Godfrey connected on threes before quarter-time to keep Rockingham narrowly in front and then scores were level after one when a half-court prayer for Kalamunda from Cooper Lowe was waved away.
Brendan Dinardo and Travis Vogel traded three-pointers to start the second quarter but the Flames were working their way to a controlling position when Dylan Gilbert and Godfrey also connected from beyond the arc.
Godfrey hit yet another from three-point land to put Rockingham up eight and then Hussey made it a 10-point game which remained at an eight-point advantage for the visitors by half-time.
Rockingham maintained the edge through the third quarter and were still up 75-66 heading into the fourth.
Vogel put Rockingham up 11 to start the fourth quarter but Kalamunda showed signs of life with the next five points started by an Aylett three ball. Travis Durnin responded with a strong finish before Hussey knocked one down from deep and the Flames were up 11.
Hussey then finished the job with two more buckets for Rockingham and the lead was out to 15 before the Flames went on to score the 96-90 victory with late threes from Drown (two) and Aylett bringing that scorer closer by the end.
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The Eastern Suns had a brilliant three-point shooting afternoon going 19/36 from beyond the arc with Nathan Drown going 5/7, Carl Aylett 4/8, Corey Easley 4/8, Brendan Dinardo 3/5 and Spencer Alone 2/2.
But it still wasn’t enough for them to overcome the Flames who were led by stunning showings from their gun trio of Jackson Hussey, Ryan Godfrey and Travis Durnin.
Hussey continues to make a strong claim to be MVP of the West Coast Classic with another 36 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals on 12/20 shooting from the floor, 2/3 from three-point land and 10/10 from the charity stripe.
Godfrey had a hot hand knocking down 6/9 from three-point territory for 20 points, three steals and two assists while Durnin put up 16 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and a block.
Luke Roberts added seven points and five assists for the Flames, Josh Mills six points and three assists, and Dylan Gilbert six points and a steal.
It might have been a loss for Kalamunda but it was a game where they did so much right in a lot of areas, especially on the offensive side of things.
Ryan Blanchett finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists, Nathan Drown 15 points and three assists, Carl Aylett 14 points and seven assists, and Brendan Dinardo 14 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Corey Easley also finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, Cooper Lowe 10 points, seven boards and four assists, and Spencer Alone six points and an assist.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN
East Perth Eagles 100 defeated Lakeside Lightning 98
Cockburn Cougars 95 defeated South West Slammers 63
Willetton Tigers 92 lost to Warwick Senators 105
Geraldton Buccaneers 77 lost to Perry Lakes Hawks 114
Joondalup Wolves 87 defeated East Perth Eagles 54
Lakeside Lightning 99 defeated Mandurah Magic 77
Warwick Senators 109 defeated Kalamunda Eastern Suns 69
South West Slammers 73 lost to Goldfields Giants 79
Rockingham Flames 96 lost to Perth Redbacks 112
Mandurah Magic 84 lost to Goldfield Giants 98
Kalamunda Eastern Suns 90 lost to Rockingham Flames 96