End of an Era?

Playing in what could be their final ever match at the Tuggeranong Treasure Dome, the Pirates were soundly beaten by a 66’ers side who were on fire nailing everything on the court, including Mrs. Davy Jones’ locker which was in need of urgent attention.

The Pirates needed to lift for their final game of the season if they were to stand a chance at upsetting the 66’ers but it looked more like business as usual for the plank-walking buccaneers when their first possession of the evening was carelessly thrown away.

After Ashley Forrest (5 points) posted first points for the Pirates from an offensive rebound, some smarter passes had the 66’ers scrambling to adjust defensively, allowing Brett Butler (4 points) to hit a sweet shot from the right side elbow to give the Pirates a brief two point lead over their rivals.

Having one of his better games of the season, a free-wielding Matt Dallwitz (3 points) was instinctively driving to the hoop, finding open teammates and pulling down some desperately needed offensive boards.

All throughout the game fortune seemed to favour the 66’ers with the Pirates shots hitting the inside of the bucket only to jump back into the arms of a green-eyed defender, then at the 66’ers offensive end, the Pirates struggled to close-out Lennart Menne (15 points) who seemingly could not miss from beyond the arc. Even some of the heavily contested shots made by the 66’ers dropped easily through the net much to both the frustration and admiration of the Pirates bench who could be seen applauding good play by their opponents.

Trailing thirteen to seven at quarter time, things looked bleak for the Pirates but a superb no-look round the back pass from Daniel Lillicrap (4 assists) to Todd Gregory (4 points) opened the Pirates account for the second period with an easy lay-up and had the Pirates bench on their feet searching to ignite their own involvement.

Another bucket and the Pirates were trailing by just two points and looked like getting even with some patient and observant passing among Dan Bray (3 points), Jamieson and Lillicrap afforded the Pirates several opportunities to sink a shot right underneath the ring, their attempts falling painfully short of success.

A Dan Bray special from just below the foul line brought the Pirates the closest they would get to the 66’ers lead by bringing the scores 15 to 14 in favour of the 66’ers.

Some more clever passing, this time from Lillicrap and Frank Fernandez (2 points) exposed the eager 66’ers defence and allowed Ashley Forrest to get to the line for two.

Often throughout the game, the Pirates were caught napping in transition allowing the 66’ers to push the tempo and threaten the Pirates basket before they had a chance to settle into their defensive positions. This, combined with early Pirates turnovers, the natural fortune of the 66’ers and misfortune of the Pirates were the factors that allowed the 66’ers to run away with the game in the second half.

Adding a further thirteen points across the two quarters, the Pirates were still outgunned as the 66’ers provided fourteen points in the third period with another seven points in the fourth to seal a convincing 43 to 28 point victory.

The post game press conference seemed to focus more about the North Korean threats made against the Pirates for use of their long-range strike weapons, Darren Jamieson, Dan Bray and Daniel Lillicrap, than questions about the actual game. Geoff Kleinbrenner, Pirates Vice-President, attempted to quell concerns that North Korea will use its own long-range weapons to eliminate the Tuggeranong Treasure Dome as well as other strategic sites in Australia such as Summer Bay and Ramsay Street: “our offensive strike capability has a range of twenty-eight meters so I don’t know how North Korea is threatened by that. But rest assured that if they (North Korea) do strike we will retaliate doing what we (Pirates) do best; pirate the s#!t out of all North Korea’s music and movies.”

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