Suns put the heat on Vikings

State League Basketball

By Bruce Leonard

Basketball writer

THE Grafton City Vikings were downed in a highly entertaining game by the Coffs Suns in Grafton on Saturday night.

Before a huge crowd at the Grafton Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre, Grafton pushed all the way before losing the game 72-53.

The game was close until the last five minutes when the Vikings lost their two big men in Cameron Fishburn and Jason Bashforth with five fouls, allowing Coffs to dominate the boards and seal the game.

The game was a lot closer than the score indicated and although Coffs was the better team on the night, the 19-point margin was not a true reflection of the game.

The game started at a fast pace and Coffs skipped out to a five-point lead at quarter-time. The Vikings clawed it back by two points in the second quarter while the third quarter was level. The fourth started with both teams lifting their intensity and it was a great contest.

Then disaster struck for the Vikings ? first Bashforth fouled out, followed not long after by Fishburn. This left the Vikings without any tall timber and then man of the match, Shaun Murphy, cut loose for Coffs, scoring almost at will with no defence left to hold him.

The Vikings, playing without Glen Boorman and Stuart Tait, and only a half-fit Matt Moran, played very well to stay with Coffs for as long as they did and it was a good performance from all players.

Very pleasing was the form of Dylan Parbery having to start for the first time and acquitting himself very well to the point that he received the players' player award.

Steve Smith again led the team well and was everywhere on the court. Dan Boorman shot well and was top scorer.

Bashforth and Fishburn played very well and apart from their foul trouble would have won the game for the Vikings.

Next week the Vikings travel to the Hunter and play Raymond Terrace and Muswellbrook.

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