Fire clinch first Grand Final

January 13, 2018 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire are one win away from a third WNBL championship in four seasons after defeating Melbourne 69-64 this evening.

While the Fire clinched a five-point victory, the series moves to Melbourne for game two at the Victorian State Basketball Centre on Thursday night with the Boomers intent on keeping the series alive.

With little separating either side at the main change, a Darcee Garbin (eight points and four rebounds) triple of the stroke of three-quarter-time opened up an eight-point cushion.

The Fire’s ability to convert from beyond the arc – the hosts stroked 9/21 in comparison to the Boomers’ 3/23 – proved the difference in the opening Grand Final of the 2017/18 series.

In particular, Sydney Wiese, who finished with 14 points on 4/8 from distance, struck several daggers, while Cayla George (13 points and 10 rebounds) also proved telling.

Fire skipper Suzy Batkovic (16 points and 15 rebounds) celebrated her 150th game for the club by brining up 3000 points for Townsville and fought valiantly trying to guard Liz Cambage.

The Boomers centre proved a handful, however, as she finished with a game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the visitors within a whisker of victory.

“It was pleasing to get the result but there is still a lot of basketball left in this series,” Fire coach Claudia Brassard said.

“Finals basketball is always tough and this is no different.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position to be able to contend for another title, but we know the Boomers will throw everything at us in Melbourne.”

With the game going down to the wire, Kelly Wilson (seven points, four assists and three rebounds) was able to get to the rim to provide a small buffer.

Laurin Mincy (nine points, four assists and three rebounds) also played a key role and stood up in the pressure of finals’ basketball to provide the Fire with a nine-point advantage in bench points.

Game two of the 2017/18 WNBL Grand Final series will be held at the Victorian State Basketball Centre on Thursday night from 6.30pm (QLD time) and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.

Click here to see full box scores between the Fire and the Boomers.