The Bears turned to their jujitsu training to get them through a tough night against a focussed Pirates outfit who were keen on acquiring a new bear skinned rug for their club house.
Winning the tip, thanks to Brett “Alfred” Butler, the Pirates squandered their first few opportunities at the hoop, costing them on the scoreboard as the Bears took to an early lead.
Yet the Pirates managed to keep pace in the first quarter and produced a solid seven point lead midway through the second period that took the Bears by surprise, much like their mascot, Yogi, kept taking the Pirates snack-bars from their courtside esky.
To be trailing by just five at half-time, the Pirates were comfortable in their position and coach O’Houlihan was reported to have reinforced among his troops that they just needed to keep pace with the Bears in the third quarter so that they could have a chance in the fourth.
The Pirates third quarter was surprisingly inconsistent with their previous form as they went about following their coach’s instructions putting on a solid seven points to remain within striking distance of the bears.
Unfortunately for the scurvy ridden scoundrels of the sea, their fourth quarter produced few points and with time ticking away, the Pirates were forced to foul in order to regain possession, albeit after two successful free-throws from the Bears.
For the first time this season, the Pirates scored more from beyond the arc than from within the paint with triples to Kel Dullihanty (6 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 rebound), Darren Jamieson (6 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal), Dan Bray (5 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds) and Taylor Sneddon (9 points, 2 assists, 5 steals, 4 rebounds).
For the Bears, Michael Verzosa (18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block) was devastating from three-point range, earning his side’s first 8 points. Working behind the scenes, forward Fred Ngyuen (11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) acted as an enabler for the rest of his teammates as they slowly pulled away from the Pirates.
The Pirates next face the Beavers at the Australian Institute of Sport in what will be another difficult night-out for the Pirates crew.