Flames men pull off upset

An undermanned women’s team went down to last season’s grand-final opponents Willetton Tigers 83-54, while the men’s team pulled off an opening-week upset, downing the Tigers 106-100.

Missing head coach Ryan Petrik, as well as several key players in Sami Whitcomb, Darcee Garbin, Ify Ibekwe and Talisia Bourne, the Flames women were always going to struggle against a full-strength Tigers side.

Jacinta Bourne, fresh from a season with Perth Lynx as a development player, was the Flames’ best player, finishing with 17 points, four steals and three rebounds.

Lizel Buckley (10 points, seven rebounds, two assists) and Tarsha Fletcher (10 points, five rebounds, three assists) also had good games, while Rockingham product Rhianna Kilsura impressed off the bench in her SBL debut with seven points, seven rebounds and a steal.

The Flames men, despite going into the match without starting point guard Taylor Land, pulled off a six-point upset win against the Tigers men, who many in SBL circles have predicted to finish in the top four this season.

Cooper Land was in great form for the Flames, finishing with an impressive 34 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks, and was ably supported by captain Ryan Godfrey (23 points, four assists, two steals) and Chudier Pal (18 points, 13 rebounds and an assist).

Godfrey said he had looked up to previous Flames sides while growing up in the area and never thought he would have the chance to captain the side.

“Now that I’ve been lucky enough to be given this opportunity, I can’t wait to lead by example. I am definitely looking forward to working together as a unit and giving ourselves the best possible chance to be successful,” he said.

Both Flames teams have their first home game of the season on Easter Monday, playing the East Perth Eagles at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.

The women will welcome back a host of players from WNBL duty, and will host a pre-game presentation to unfurl their 2015 SBL Championship banner at 11:45am.

They tip-off against the Eagles at midday, with the men’s team to follow at 2pm.