Basketball: Rockingham Flames extinguished by rampant Geraldton Buccaneers

Curtis Washington sinks a free throw in the Flames 99-63 loss to Geraldton.
Curtis Washington sinks a free throw in the Flames 99-63 loss to Geraldton.

TURNOVERS and inaccurate shooting cost Rockingham Flames as it was easily defeated 63-99 by Geraldton Buccanners at Mike Barnett Sports Complex yesterday.

The Flames kept pace with the Buccs early on before Geraldton pulled away thanks to an 8-0 scoring run with about two minutes remaining in the first quarter to lead 24-14, from where it was never caught.

The Buccs asserted their dominance in the second quarter, forcing the Flames to cough up possession a number of times and making them pay with superior accuracy, with Gokul Natesan especially effective as the Buccs added 33 points to lead 57-30 at the main break; the Flames only avoiding a 30-point half-time deficit thanks to a Jarryd Griffin buzzer beater for 3.

Star Flames recruit and former Wildcats vice-captain Greg Hire had a game to forget and appeared hampered by injury as he limped through most of the second and third quarters.

Hire, a three-time NBL champion with the Wildcats, shot 0-8 from the floor – his only points coming from two free throws – and turned the ball over six time in just over 21 minutes on the floor.

The Flames played better on defence in the second half, restricting the Bucc to just 42-second half points, but continued to struggle on offence themselves.

Natesan and former Wildcat Earnest Ross did most of the damage for the Buccs with 27 and 20 points respectively, with Natesan shooting at 80 per cent from inside the arc.

Griffin hit 14 points for the Flames, with Justin Beard (11) and import Curtis Washington (10) the only other Flames in double figures.

Washington was dominant on the glass pulling down 10 rebounds, including three offensive boards.

On Friday night the Flames weren’t good enough for Willetton, going down 94-103  despite 23 points and 19 rebounds from Hire and 20 points from Joshua Ritchart.

The Flames women had a better showing with an easy 91-53 win over their Willetton counterparts, D’lesha Lloyd the standout with 22 points.

The Flames take on Kalamunda Eastern Suns at Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Friday, with tip off for the women at 6.30pm and the men at 8.30pm.

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