Walker wonderful in decider defeat

ALTHOUGH it may not go down in the history books due to the result of the game, Devondrick Walker‘s performance in the NBL1 Men’s National Final was still terrific.

Walker’s Rockingham Flames were bested by the Knox Raiders as the South teams took out the win in both the Men’s and Women’s competition. The Flames missed the initial selection for the tournament, but were given an automatic spot given they won it all last year, and bar a shock loss in the penultimate final, had a strong campaign.

However, the Raiders delivered an outstanding performance in the big dance, fighting back after Rockingham stormed out to a double-digit lead early in the match. The Flames were always within arms’ reach of the opposition, but the Raiders were able to hold on for a thrilling five-point victory. This denied the Flames back-to-back titles, despite the game being held in their home state and a strong level of crowd support.

The Flames would not have even been in the contest if not for the performance of reigning consecutive MVP Walker, who was electric on the big stage.

Rockingham Flames (85) def. by Knox Raiders (90)

Devondrick Walker – 37 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block

In the most important game of 2023 for Rockingham, the team turned to Walker on the offensive end and he delivered in a big way.

The former Brisbane Bullet was at his high-scoring best in the National Final, producing a game-high 37 points and looking extremely aggressive when looking to put up a shot.

He nailed 14 shots on 22 attempts from the field, although most of these came from behind the arc. Walker splashed home a whopping nine three-pointers as his sharpshooting ability took over to lead the Flames offensively. Remarkably, he did this on just 12 attempts from downtown, displaying an excellent level of accuracy.

One of the most notable parts of his performance is the fact that he top-scored for the match without attempting a single free throw, a stat that was largely due to his high amount of long range shots.

Although his scoring was spread out, Walker gave it his all in the fourth quarter to try and inspire his side to a comeback victory. He knocked down four three-pointers in the last period alone, nearly dragging Rockingham to an unlikely win.

Although his efforts fell painfully short, Walker still delivered for the Flames as much as he could, registering over a third of the team’s points in an outstanding offensive performance.

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