Vikings tip off 2019 with a bang in tough Breakers battle
BASKETBALL: The Grafton Vikings got off to a strong start to the Sunshine Conference season with a well contested 66-58 victory over the Ballina Breakers last night.
The Vikings took to the Grafton Sports Centre hoping to erase any memory of a poor finish to last season and coach Nathan Martin's men got off to a lightning start.
"That's the way we like to play, we like an high-tempo type of game,” Martin said.
"It's hard with just three guys on the bench but we'll have some more guys back in the next few weeks and we'll be able to play more to that style.”
Big man Hamish Demshire and the returning Lane Delaforce had an immediate impact on the game getting into the paint and grabbing some early baskets.
Captain Sam Wicks and new defensive guard Diasuke Kinoshita looked hungry to get a strong hold on the game and the pair started to find their rhythm.
"That's exactly what we wanted out of Diasuke, it wasn't all about steals, it's about getting deflections and taking charges and he did that really well,” Martin said.
"It was up and down, going on the first quarter I thought we might have got it done a bit easier but credit to them for the comeback.”
Ballina pulled it back to a two point gap after trailing 20-13 in the first quarter and the visitors even took an early lead in the second half but Martin was happy with his sides resolve.
"We thought if we could control the rebound count that we'd win the came. They got back into it but sorted that out in the end,” he said.
"Our boys did well, they hung on and we changed a few things during the game that worked for us.”
The Vikings will now have three weeks off before hosting the league newcomers, Bellinger Valley Braves as they hope to carry on winning games.
"We'll get back into our game, focus on transition and getting those few guys back will help,” he said.