Surrey Scorchers go into the final weekend of the season with lots still to achieve – and thoughts of what might have been.
Scorchers travel to Leicester Riders on Friday night before returning to the Sports Park arena for the final time, to host Bristol Flyers in a 2pm tip-off on Sunday.
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Last weekend’s double defeat, in overtime against Newcastle Eagles and then at home to Glasgow Rocks, contained enough positives that Coach Creon Raftopolous is optimistic his team can end 2018-19 on a high.
“When we look at our stats, and how we’ve played, I think we’ve had an opportunity to beat every single team that we played against,” he asserts. “But we’ve struggled to put a 40-minute performance together, and if you are going to beat anybody in the league you need that.
“We’ve learnt a lot from it. We’ve asked ourselves a lot of questions, as players and coaches, and we’ve always worked hard to rectify certain things.
“Against Glasgow, I felt we played a half of good basketball, and then one bad quarter let us down. So going into this weekend it’s about just putting it all out there and trying to get 40 minutes of basketball in the book.”
Scorchers can also still have a say in the BBL title race, with the Riders on a five-game winning streak and having at least a mathematical chance of usurping London Lions at the top of the Championship. “I’m sure they’ll leave no stone unturned, and we know it’s not going to be an easy one, but I feel very confident going into the game that.
“I expect the guys to be full-out and play right to the end, because we don’t want to go into the summer on a loss.”
The visit of the Flyers, too, should be a fitting way to end the season, in front of a passionate and loud Sports Park arena crowd.
“It’s been a story of ‘almost’ when we’ve played at home,” admits Creon. “The fans have seen the guys put in the effort and we’ve just fallen short. We know Bristol are one of a number of teams trying to make the playoffs, and they’re going to come here possibly needing the game more than we do.
“But our fans have been absolutely amazing for us throughout the season. Not many times has a team had such a bad run and the fans remained loyal and faithful, so we’d like to reward them and give them a little reminder of what we’re capable of.”