Injured Payne a massive concern for Lakeside

Lakeside Lightning coach Andy Stewart admitted the availability of injured star Luke Payne could be the difference in the semi-final decider against Perry Lakes Hawks on Saturday night.

Payne picked up an apparent leg injury in the third quarter of Lakeside's 92-88 game two victory and didn't return to the court. The import briefly returned to the bench after receiving treatment in the dressing rooms, but walked with a significant limp.

“The major thing (for game three) is whether or not we can get Luke Payne back on the floor,” Stewart said after Lakeside levelled the best-of-three series at 1-all.

“He’s in hospital at the moment (Friday night) so we’ll see what comes of it.”

Stewart conceded nerves played a big part in Lakeside’s poor first-quarter shooting, where they made just 3/24 from the field.

“I think it was mainly the event, we knew that if we lost tonight we’d be out (of the finals),” he said.

“All the guys were fairly pumped, and probably a little bit over the top.”

The Lightning overcame a 21-13 deficit at quarter-time, going on a 12-0 run to start the second term with the 700-strong crowd behind them at Lakeside Recreation Centre.

Stewart praised the performance of 28-year-old Jarrad Prue who finished with a game-high 29 rebounds.

“In our league he (Jarrad) is starting to turn himself into a bit of a legend.”

Perry Lakes coach Dion Dagastino was adamant his side must improve its rebounding if it wants to be the first team to defeat Lakeside on their home soil.

“Prue dominated the boards, we kept him to 19 last week but he managed 29 today,” he said.

“We can’t beat a team with him doing that.

“There’s no science to it, we’ve just got to work harder on the rebounds.”

Article by Jordan McArdle at Lakeside Recreation Centre
Photo by Mick Cronin

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