Rockingham Flames v Perry Lakes Hawks Preview
Current Standings - Flames (2-11) thirteenth, Hawks (9-3) third
The Flames had the toughest challenge going last weekend facing top side Lakeside on Friday followed by second placed Geraldton on Saturday evening without captain Travis Moore and import Trey Clarkson who is still awaiting his immigration clearance.
The team led by the hot shooting of Ryan Godfrey (72pts @ 53% for the weekend) were right in the hunt again until they ran out of legs and couldnt overcome the hump which has been the teams stumbling block to date going down by 11 on Friday while they Buccs went on a late run to win by 17 points 24 hours later.
The Flames faced the Hawks only three weeks ago with Coach Utleys men taking it right up to the highly fancied opposition playing a spirited 48 minutes without Moore and Godfrey on that occasion as Brendan Della and Joey Harrell stood up that night. The Flames eventually went down by just 2pts with Tom Garlepp landing a 3pt bomb to secure the win but it will be interesting to see what adjustments both teams make.
Now to perennial finals contender in Perry Lakes who are coming off at 21 point win against Mandurah on the road without court general Joe-Alan Tupaea (17pts, 5.6rebs & 4.9asts) which shows the depth the Hawks outfit boast.
Tom Garlepp (27.9pts, 12.7rebs & 4.5asts) has been the standout and is within an elite group considered to be front running for the league MVP award as no opposition have been able to restrict him to less than 20pts in any game to date. In recent times the visitors have also added to their talent pool with Wildcat Peter Crawford (16.5pts, 5.8rebs & 3.0asts) rejoining the fold while import Danny Hawkins (13.0pts & 11.3rebs) has overcome injury issues to be another contributor and continues to get better each week. The stars are complimented by a solid local contingent in Purcer, Vahala and Dixon which is a reflection of how deep their roster is with 7-8 of their players legitimate starters on most teams in the league.
Current Standings - Flames (8-2) second, Hawks (9-1) first
The Lady Flames come into this round following from a slip up against Lakeside last Friday where the team got off to a hot start but couldn't sustain their play eventually going down by 11 points.
This week the girls and face the hottest team going who have without question the best all-round player in the league in Australian Opal Deanna Smith (31.2pts & 6.8rebs) but the key to the Hawks success has been the supporting cast of Kelly, Walker, Gardiner, Kautsky and Wardrope all stepping up across the season.
In the preceding contest some 20 days ago the Hawks full court defence caused our girls major issues as they coughed up the ball on 33 occasions but on the other side of the fence if Smith is absent due to Australian duties tonight its a different ball game all together so stay tuned on this one.