Creon Raftopoulos admits that last night’s overtime defeat to Bristol Flyers was hard to take after his Scorchers side relinquished a 17-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.
“That was probably one of the worst-case scenarios in a basketball game,” he conceded after the first BBL Cup tie of 2019-20 ended in 106-99 defeat. “You learn the hard way, that the game’s never over. Everything that could go wrong for us (in the final 5 minutes of regulation) went wrong.
“We couldn’t make a jump-shot, we couldn’t make a layup, and more importantly we couldn’t rebound the basketball. That was compounded by them making shots. That hurt the most, in not being able to close it out.”
Whilst quick to credit Flyers – “they never threw the towel in, they kept on swinging right until the final whistle and they got their rewards” – Creon also stressed: “We’ve got to take a good look at ourselves.
“We did pretty good to get where we were. For the first three quarters we showed the type of defence that we’ve been aiming to play. And then to give up 32 points in the fourth quarter… that’s not going to win us any games.”
Suggesting “we might have got a little bit fatigued,” Creon highlights one particular area where he will be looking for improvement next weekend as Scorchers return to the Sports Park Arena to host Worcester Wolves: “We fought but we gave up 21 offensive rebounds, and I think that was one of the key stat lines in the game. It showed that their size took its toll in the later stages.”
For 35 minutes, Scorchers had seemed set for an impressive opening night win, with six players shooting double figures in points.
“But it’s a 40-minute game,” corrected Creon. “The last 10 minutes (including overtime) are the ones that we’re going to focus on making sure never happen again.
“To have a spread of scorers was really good. We want to have a spread of scorers but we also need to have a spread of rebounders as well.”
Raftopoulos knows the impact a passionate Sports Park crowd can have on his team next weekend, and is already relishing the prospect of welcoming a resurgent Wolves side to the Dragons Den.
“Coming back home will be key,” he concludes. “We know it’s not going to be easy, Wolves are looking very good and they had a great win against London Lions.
“It’s going to be a tough week for us, so we’ll try to push this (result) to the back of our minds and focus on not making the same mistakes twice. But the best way to get rid of this horrible feeling is to get a win.”
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