POSITIVE: Grafton Vikings' co-captain Sam Wicks praised the efforts of junior Lane Delaforce.
POSITIVE: Grafton Vikings' co-captain Sam Wicks praised the efforts of junior Lane Delaforce. Matthew Elkerton

Vikings sting Beez to ignite new dynasty at The Cage

BASKETBALL: Lane Delaforce has shown a level head above his years to help Grafton Vikings to victory in their first home game of the Sunshine Conference.

The 16-year-old showed direction and a crisp shooting game as the Vikings streaked away to a 80-65 second round victory against the Byron Beez at 'The Cage'.

Grafton basketball stalwart and junior development coordinator Hamish Denshire was also strong in a dominant 27-21 fourth quarter.

Captain Sam Wicks, who stepped on court in the absence of co-captain Dan Boorman, praised the home side for jumping out of the blocks early in the opening stretch.

"We hit a few good shots early, and kept the intensity and pressure on them in defence for a lot of the first quarter," Wicks said.

"Intensity dropped there in the second for a little bit, but they gave us a good talk in the half-time break.

"We talked about the defensive intensity and how important that was. When we came back out for the third that changed the whole game and we got that early 10-point run."

The Vikings were dominant off the ball in the third quarter, with senior members of the starting five settling the game down to play a high intensity defence.

"That was the goal, we did talk about it but then the starting five that went back out on the court made a note of it, to just not overplay the ball and not go for those intercepts, we put our hand up just and got in front," he said.

"It was good having Nate Martin out there slowing it right down, and pretty surprised with the way Lane slowed the ball up as well."

It was a ten-unanswered point run for the home side in to start the third which switched the momentum back in their favour.

Strong work off the ball also worked in the Vikings favour keeping the visiting Beez to just 11 points in the third quarter.

The Beez were light on troops, meaning the players on the floor were too exhausted to capitalise on a string of misdirected passes and cheap turnovers from the home side to start the final quarter.

It was then when Wicks and Denshire turned the screws along with Delaforce to close out the strong win for Grafton.

"They were missing a few tonight," Wicks said. "With only six players, they struggled to keep up with the pace of the game and had to use their timeouts pretty regularly.

"There were certain points where we did go really well, and we need to be able to maintain that throughout the whole contest, we slackened off a bit and gave a few silly turnovers and missed shots that helped them get back into the game and if it was a little closer they might have had a real chance."

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