A week of “brutal reflection” and work on their defensive game has helped the Rockingham Flames men’s team to an 84-74 win on the road against Goldfields Giants on Saturday night.
The Flames downed the Giants at Mike Barnett Sports Complex the previous Sunday, but the side’s effort on defence left coach Ryan Petrik unimpressed and demanding more despite a come from behind win.
Petrik said he showed his team 39 clips of “really bad defensive plays” at training on Tuesday from that first encounter, with the week’s two training sessions dedicated to improving that aspect of the side’s game.
“We spent the whole week on defence (because) a lot of the things I asked them to do against the Giants the first time they didn’t do at all,” Petrik said.
“We had a really brutal film game review… the players said they’ve never seen that sort of film review on themselves before, or at least not one that brutal. They were all pretty ticked off and honest with themselves and said they needed to be better.
“They spent the two training sessions trying to fix it, and to their credit they were brilliant. We dealt with the Giants’ threats a lot better, most won their individual ties and stopped their own man from scoring. On that aspect it was through the roof compared to the week prior.”
The Flames “started fairly well” and Petrik said he felt his side had the Giants at arm’s length for most of the night, leading by at least seven points at every change and looking comfortable without being dominant.
However, the Giants rallied in the last quarter to cut the margin to two points with about five minutes to play.
“I said after the game that when they were within two, going into a time out, that it shouldn’t have been a two-point game,” he said.
“We’d have been robbed if we lost from there as we were in control for most of the game but somehow we were only up two.”
Enter Ryan Godfrey; the Flames’ 13-season SBL veteran helped arrest the slide, scoring successive baskets with the game on the line, including a fade away three pointer against the shot clock that Petrik called “ridiculous”.
“He stepped up on two or three more drives at the rim after that when we just had to get a bucket,” he said.
Godfrey finished with 14 points, while Josh Ritchart led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds and Caleb White added 17 points.
Petrik reserved special praise for Justin Beard, who stepped up in the absence of Greg Hire to grab a number of big rebounds in the final quarter when it seemed the Giants were coming up with every ball off the glass.
“Justin Beard flies under the radar. He didn’t have a big offensive game but he kept (David) Humphries to three points after he had 20 against us at half time in the previous game,” Petrik said.
“He was exquisite. He does the little things that help you win that generally go unnoticed.”
The win moves the Flames to fourth on the ladder ahead of Thursday night’s showdown with first-placed Joondalup. The women also return to action against Joondalup in a top of the table clash at HBF Arena from 6.30pm.