Power forward, Tanner McGrew stepped up when needed most to lead a depleted Pirate crew to victory over the previously undefeated Townsville Heat. The Pirates were down to seven players. Reserve power forward, Alex Boardman was out with a shoulder injury, centre Jason Conrad was still recovering from a knee injury, Steve Kiir was winning championships at the National South Sudan Basketball Tournament in Melbourne, Luke Pittle was nursing a hamstring tear and Jack Williams out the flu all week.
McGrew was a monster on the boards and efficient enough to keep the Pirates in the game and take control in the second quarter. Two consecutive blocks, the second, Lebron like, in the dying minutes, demonstrated a tenacity and commitment to contest every play. Shooting a perfect 2 from 2 from the three point line secured McGrew his first Player of the Week honours.
McGrew, Teys and Vines all saddled up for the full 40 minutes of game time and Jarred Bairstow battled through back pain for 38:24 minutes. Shaun Guy was inserted into the line up and did a great job in matching up against the seven foot and ex NBA player, Luke Schenscher. Jai Blackman minutes while limited were invaluable hitting a three point bomb on the buzzer to help swing the momentum to the Pirates. Adam Tolo came up with some big plays down the stretch to close out the game. It was a great defensive effort by the Pirates that kept one of the highest scoring teams in the QBL to just 66 points.
The Gold Coast Rollers arrive at the Ship on Saturday night with the aim of putting a damper on Pirates aspirations for a home playoff final.
Jason Conrad will return from injury, as will Luke Pittle. Stephen Kiir is back and Jarred Bairstow has been cleared to play. Add in Jack Williams and the ship, while a little banged up, is nearly at full crew.
It is unclear whether Adam Gibson will be playing for the Rollers, after the Boomers team for Rio was announced during the week. Gibson is a game changer and was the key player in the Roller's 87-80 win over the Pirates in round 6 on the Gold Coast.
The women tip off at 5.30pm, the men at 7.30pm