Vikings Mitch Wicks responded well to coach Nathan Martin's new fast-flowing style earning MVP in the season opener.
Vikings Mitch Wicks responded well to coach Nathan Martin's new fast-flowing style earning MVP in the season opener. Matthew Elkerton

Vikings open Sunshine season in sizzling fashion

BASKETBALL: Jack Roberts-Field could not have asked for a better start to life as a Grafton Viking after he led the side to a first-round win in the 2018 Frigid Air Sunshine Conference.

The 18-year-old scored a game-high 21 points against former club Byron Beez, as the Crown Hotel Vikings ran out 93-67 winners in front of a home crowd at the Grafton Sports Centre.

Vikings big men Hamish Denshire (18) and Mitch Wicks (19) also came to the party for the side with massive efforts on the boards.

It was a pleasing result for new coach Nathan Martin who has brought a different game style to the side in 2018.

"They did everything we trained to do, I could not have asked for more,” he said.

Vikings Hamish Denshire on his way up for a silky lay-up during the Frigid Air Sunshine Basketball Conference final between Grafton Vikings and Ballina Breakers at the Grafton Sports Centre.
Vikings Hamish Denshire on his way up for a silky lay-up during the Frigid Air Sunshine Basketball Conference. Matthew Elkerton

"I can't see that going on all season but it was very pleasing for the first game.”

Martin said he voted Wicks as the side's best on court with the big man impossible to stop for the Beez defenders.

"To have three blokes scoring around 20 points in the game is always going to put you in good stead,” he said.

"Mitch was just unbelievable. He almost didn't miss a shot all night, and they just couldn't shut him down.

"We worked hard on a more transition-based offence and it really paid off. I don't remember the last time the Vikings scored 90 points in a game.”

Grafton will now have a long turnaround before their next game at Lismore on April 21.

Martin said he would be looking for improvement from his players in that game.

"We might have won by a big margin, but there is always areas you can be better at,” he said. "We will just put a lot of work into training over the next month.”

GRAFTON Vikings junior women showed their fighting spirit in the second round of the Northern Junior League at Coffs Harbour at the weekend.

The Vikings Under-18 girls pulled out all the stops to defeat Newcastle Hunters (63-59), Byron Beez (73-34) and Taree Tornadoes (55-49) with only one player on the bench for each clash.

The side is led by Grafton Vikings senior women's star Grace Boorman and also includes fellow senior players Alex Dahl and Kyra Predo.