Cayla George #22 reaches over Suzy Batkovic #8. (Photo: Cameron Lucas)

Boomers hang tough against the Fire

It was a flying start for Lindsay Allen and Maddy Garrick, who had to hold their nerve for the Boomers as Micaela Cocks and the Townsville Fire came roaring home.

After extending their lead to 15 points at one stage, the Boomers held on to beat the Fire 79-75 at the State Basketball Centre . With 1,876 raucous fans covered in purple to celebrate the Maddie Riewoldt foundation, this game had it all.

Three technical fouls went against the Fire through the course of the game, but it was their inability to get match-ups right in the first half that would ultimately cost them.

When Fire captain Suzy Batkovic was rested, her opposite number Cayla George added eight points in quick succession. Lindsay Allen then cooly ran down the clock and sunk a three pointer with .4 seconds remaining before half time.

Maddy Garrick #23 drives over Townsville Captain Suzy Batkovic. (Photo: Cameron Lucas)

None of the matchups Fire coach Claudia Brassard tried were working and Maddy Garrick was doing whatever she liked, with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists going into the half time break.

The Boomers led by 13 points and looked likely to run way with the game thanks to some slick ball movement and superior running game.

Momentum shifted in the second half as Micaela Cocks, Ally Mallot and captain Suzy Batkovic began to get their hands on the ball. The Fire was making its way back into the game through a tightening defense and the Boomers had a challenge on their hands.

Brassard altered her combinations on the floor, the Fire’s offense began firing and by game’s end their bench would contribute 27 points to the final tally. Kalani Purcell meanwhile was in everything for the Boomers: throwing her body around with reckless abandonment, winning loose balls, freeing up teammates and providing more footage for the weekly highlight reel.

Kalani Purcell (purple) and Micaela Cocks (white) battle in the dying seconds. (Photo: Cameron Lucas)

Purcell would finish with 9 points, 4 assists and 15 rebounds,  but it was her continued second and third efforts that pleased coach Guy Molloy most.

“It was a magnificent job,” he said. “We shot the ball and moved the ball really well offensively in the first half.”

The Boomer shot 53% from the perimeter and had 13 assists in the first half.

But he also believed that the playing six games in 16 days, including a trip to Perth may have taken its toll on his players.

“Probably a combination of fatigue and losing concentration in the second half, our offense went away,” he said. “With their experience, talent and leadership by Suzy you know they’re going to feature at some point so I’m really glad to have gotten the two wins over them that we have.”

Fire coach Claudia Brassard was pleased with her team’s performance after a poor first half, especially the spread of four players hitting double figures.

“We’ve been asking for more contributions from our guards,” she said “Tessa (Madgen) stepped up, Micaela Cocks and a few of the other guards hitting shots has really helped us.”

Micaela Cocks (white) defends Maddy Garrick (purple). (Photo: Cameron Lucas)

Micaela Cocks finished the night with 19 points and 4 assists for the Fire.

“We play well when she’s aggressive,” Brassard said. “I think she’s too much of a selfless player at times and she always wants to try and set up others, but when she is that little bit more selfish she’s very tough to defend.”

Cocks’ lay up in the dying seconds didn’t get the desired result for the Fire as they went down to the Boomers for the second time in a week. While for Guy Molloy’s girls, they come out of a tough double-header round with two wins.

The Boomers will take on the Canberra Capitals this Friday evening before a Sunday afternoon game hosting the Adelaide Lightning. Meanwhile, the Townsville Fire will travel to Bendigo to battle the Spirit on Saturday.