Giants’ sights set on play-offs

By Jason Mennell – The Kalgoorlie Miner
20th July 2019

The Goldfields Giants will tonight and next weekend be making their final pitch for a play-off place in the State Basketball League.

The Giants men’s team sit in the final play-off spot with two home games to go in the regular season against lower-ranked sides.

If the side progresses it will mark a Cinderella season for the team that finished bottom of the ladder last season.

But there is still work to do and several permutations that could see the Giants competing at the sharp end of the season or being dumped agonisingly short of their quest for elusive silverware.

Giants coach Wayne Creek said it was critical the team notched up a win when they faced East Perth Eagles at Niels Hansen Stadium tonight.

“For us, our intention is to go out to win the games this weekend and next weekend — end of story,” he said.

“After last weekend we go into the game very confident after the way the guys played on Sunday, especially.

“It took us back to where we had been playing … bar the last four weeks.”

The Giants arrested a dramatic slump in form when they dispatched Cockburn Cougars 111-91 in Perth on Sunday after five consecutive losses.

It means they are desperately hanging onto the final play-off spot with only a small percentage separating them from Willetton Tigers, who are equal on points.

The Tigers will face cellar dwellers South West Slammers this weekend before playing fifth-placed Perry Lake Hawks next Saturday.

The Giants’ final match will be against the Slammers, but the Bunbury side cannot be taken lightly after notching up their only win of the season against the Giants at the end of June.

The Giants’ slump in form coincided with an Achilles injury to star import Jay Bowie, who came back into the side for a few minutes last weekend.

Creek said Bowie was a key player who should have a bit more court time tonight.

“Although he was on a minutes restriction, having Jay back in the team definitely gave us a different dynamic,” he said.

“He trained reasonably well on Tuesday night and on Thursday night again, so unless he pulls up with any extra soreness he should be fine. “We will still minimise his minutes as much as possible, but again we can push that out a bit further.”

Creek said securing a play-off spot was the team’s focus, but he had one eye on seventh spot, with the Kalamunda Suns just one win ahead.

“Kalamunda play the Lakeside Lightning and they also play the Joondalup Wolves, so they’ve got two tough games on their hands, so essentially if they drop one of those games and we win both of ours, we could leapfrog them into seventh spot,” he said.

“At the end of the day it is always nice to be higher on the ladder but I think we just want to make the play-offs because I feel, at full strength, we are a team that not too many other teams would want to play against.

“A couple of Perth coaches I have spoken to have basically said the teams they don’t want to face in the play-offs are Kalamunda Suns and us.” Creek said it made a big difference playing in front of a vocal home crowd.

“You come out playing basketball in Kalgoorlie and you have 700 or 800 screaming fans which get behind the club and get behind the team,” he said.

“It’s a massive advantage and you can’t underestimate how much some screaming fans push you along.”