Captain Ryan leads red-hot Flames in decider

THE National Basketball League (NBL)1 National finals took place last weekend, with the best sides from around the country facing off for ultimate glory in Melbourne. In the men’s competition, the Rockingham Flames defeated the Frankston Blues in the final on Sunday, to the tune of 11 points.

The Flames were too good for the Blues in the big dance, snatching the lead in the first quarter and never looking back, despite missing the talents of Devondrick Walker, who has joined the NBL as a member of the Brisbane Bullets.

With Walker’s absence, the Flames needed someone to stand up and take control of the team from an offensive standpoint, and there was no man better for the job than the skipper. Ryan Godfrey played a key role in his side’s win on the biggest of stages, and while he didn’t register the most points, his impact on the contest was undeniable and was named the Championship Game MVP, in what was truly a captain’s performance.

Rockingham Flames (85) def. Frankston Blues (74)

Ryan Godfrey – 23 points (4/6 3PT), five rebounds, three assists

Godfrey got off to the perfect start, nailing his first three-point attempt of the game, after teammate Tom Jervis used his smarts to find his skipper wide open in the corner. He chimed in for some crucial rebounds after reading the opposition’s field goal attempts and getting into ideal position when the ball was up for grabs. Godfrey displayed his veteran IQ on the fastbreak later in the term, finding fellow Flame Travis Durman for the layup, before draining one of his own a few minutes later by floating the ball high off the backboard. Godfrey could sense a weakness in Frankston’s interior defence, and attacked the hoop again and drew the contact, before nailing both free throws. With the clock winding down, Godfrey’s offensive dominance continued, taking advantage of miscommunication from Frankston in defending the pick and roll and draining the pull-up three, helping Rockingham take a nine-point lead at quarter time.

Godfrey showed no signs of slowing down to start the second term, drilling a deep three-pointer to help extend Rockingham’s advantage even further. The Flames’ skipper took a well deserved break shortly after, returning with a few minutes remaining in the half and getting going straight away with a nifty scoop lay-up, which rounded out a strong half from the guard.

It was evident that the Blues were instructed to limit Godfrey’s impact as much as possible, so the third quarter was not his busiest. The defence were looking to deny him the ball at any opportunity, and when he did take a shot, it was well contested. Godfrey’s only points came towards the end of the period, as he took advantage of how close Frankston was checking him and drew some contact, which sent him to the free throw line.

With just two points separating the teams heading into the final period, the Rockingham captain kicked things off with a crucial defensive rebound. It was a pattern that continued for the term, as Godfrey did what was required to get his side over the line, and crashed the boards in a big way. He chimed in for some big free throws down the stretch, and was a massive factor in the Flames winning it all.


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