FLYERS FALL SHORT IN GRAND FINAL
Flyers unable to turn the tables in Game 2
It wasn’t to be for the Flyers in Game 2 of the Grand Final Series at the State Basketball Centre on Wednesday night. After an uncharacteristic ‘shocker’ in the first game of the series in Townsville on Saturday, the Flyers said they would come out a different team at home, and they certainly did.
This was a tight game throughout with the Fire’s a 6-point margin at the end of the first quarter reduced to just 2-points when the teams left the court at half-time. It was a battle and both teams were up for the fight with a WNBL Championship on the line.
The third quarter was more of the same with the Flyers grabbing the lead for the first time in the game with 7:25 left on the clock. The Fire regained the lead and the teams then traded baskets and the lead; the Flyers back out to a 4-point lead with 3 minutes remaining. The pressure continued to build and neither team scored for the next two minutes until the Fire made one free throw and then a lay-up to trail by just 1-point with 34 seconds remaining. A Flyers turnover with 8-seconds to go gave the ball to the Fire and a driving lay-up gave the Fire a 1-point margin at the end of the third period.
In the final period the Flyers home crowd (3,100) had the State Basketball Centre rocking and the Flyers responded, taking a 5-point lead with 7:25 to go in the game. A 3-pointer and two successful free throws for the Fire tied the game within a minute. This was the start of a 13-3 by the run by the Fire that saw the Flyers go from a 5-point lead to a 5-point deficit in less than three minutes. During this time, and for the remainder of the game the Flyers struggled to score.
Bec Cole broke this drought with a 3-pointer to bring the Flyers within a point (67-68) with 4:28 to go, however the Flyers only points in the last four and a half minutes were two successful free throws by Bec Cole. The final margin of 13-points (69-82) was certainly not a true indication of the game as it was a tight struggle all game and with less than three minutes remaining the Flyers were only 3-points down but were not able to hold out the Fire, while unable to score at the other end.
In the lead up to the game Bec Cole said the Flyers would leave it all on the floor in game 2 and the team was hellbent on atoning for the demoralizing loss in Game 1. The Flyers certainly did just that, and Bec not only talked the talk, she walked the walk, finishing with a game high 26-points.
Losing a Grand Final is always disappointing, but it is still better to make the ‘Big Dance’ than not be a part of the Championship series. While the disappointment is real, the way the Flyers bounced back shows the character of the team and they certainly went down giving it there all.
Yes, it is disappointing, but it is a huge step from missing the finals altogether in 2022.