Breakers defeat Vikings
THE Grafton Vikings hit the court on Saturday night for their first State Basketball League game in a month when they travelled to Ballina to take on the league leading Breakers.
As has been the case for all games this year, Grafton yet again had a number of stars out with Daniel Boorman, Anthony Kopcikas and captain Matt Moran missing.
And it told, with the Vikings copping a 49-point thrashing.
In a boost for the Vikings, Cameron Fishburn made a return to the court after an extended layoff due to injury, but looks to have suffered a broken nose in the process thanks to a stray elbow form an opposing player.
Nathan Darby was again promoted to the starting line up to cover for Moran and began the game well scoring four points in the opening term.
Vikings coach Nathan Martin was impressed by the promotion of rookie Dion McGregor.
“Dion added something that the Vikings have not had for a number of years, speed and intensity,” he said.
“He was constantly the first player up the court and dived on every loose ball.
“He has showed that he is worthy of much more game time in the future.”
The Vikings began the game netting 13 points for the opening quarter, but offensive rebounds hurt the team as it has in recent games and the Breakers were able to capitalise, scoring 21 points for the quarter.
The home team came out firing in the second quarter, scoring the opening six points before Vikings’ young gun Sam Wicks hit the court to give the team some much-needed scoring.
Wicks had four for the quarter, which included some great penetrating play, something the Vikings have missed in recent games.
The Breakers yet again controlled the offensive boards and added 22 to their score to go into the long break with a handy 16-point lead.
Lack of court time by the visitors and a short bench started to show early in the third quarter with the team using two of their time-outs in order to rest some players.
Coach Martin added four points to his tally in the quarter as did Fishburn before he was sidelined with injury. The Breakers dominated yet again tallying 25 for the quarter to the Vikings’ 13.
The final stanza started with a flurry with both teams trading baskets before turnovers and a lack of rebounding power started to take its toll on the visitors.
Ballina’s James Whitby, a league leading scorer in the State League for Ballina and youth league for the Vikings, took control of the game scoring six unanswered points for his top score of 29 points.
“It’s disappointing to see a score line like that, we didn’t deserved to lose by 49 points,” Martin said post-match.
Top scorers for the Vikings were Martin with 16 points, Fishburn 10 and Darby 8.
The Vikings are now looking forward to hitting the court this weekend with a double header against the Tamworth Thunderbolts on Saturday night and the Armidale Lions on Sunday. For the first time this year the Vikings are expected to field a full strength line and show the home crowed what the team is capable of.