Surrey Scorchers again head west to the SGS Wise Arena this Saturday hoping to complete back-to-back wins against Bristol Flyers.
Captain Tayo Ogedengbe led by example last Saturday, with 33 points, in a 89-83 victory, and coach Creon Raftopolous wants to maintain that momentum.
“It’s a tough one for both coaches to figure out what the gameplans are going to be,” he warned, with last weekend’s game so fresh in the memory. “We had the winning gameplan last weekend, and the key thing for us is remembering the defensive aspects of last weekend’s performance. But we know that we’re going into a lion’s den because they won’t want to lose two-in-a-row.
“It’s tough to win two-in-a-row on the road, especially playing the same opponents, and we know that in any basketball game there are things that we can do better and they can do better.”
Nonetheless, the confidence from such a strong team display augurs well for the Scorchers.
“We very much deserved the win,” agreed Creon. “The players all locked in defensively, we had just one bad quarter but we were solid in the other three quarters. I’ve gone on and on about our defence for the whole season, and the scores show that that is where our Achilles heel has been.
“Pairing a great defensive performance with our captain having an outstanding game was enough to get us over the finishing line.”
What does the Coach think was the biggest factor in that stronger defensive display? “We were all on the same page. One of the biggest things that we had spoken about was communication and helping each other, and I think that was pretty evident in this game – everybody was talking and helping each other. Hopefully that was signs of better things to come.”
Whilst full of praise for his entire squad, Raftopolous reserved special praise for his veteran captain – especially his 18 first-quarter points which set the Scorchers on the road to victory. “Having a good start is always going to be important, and at different times in the game Tayo came up really big. It was a brilliant performance from him.
“He’s been fighting the whole season, next to me. We take the losses really tough, so I was really happy that he had that performance, but more than anything we were both really happy with the win, and hopefully we can bring the same levels this weekend.”
Scorchers will still have a major say at the top of the table, with five of our remaining nine games coming against the teams currently occupying the top three places in the BBL Championship, but Creon is still eager to see positives from his side, regardless of the opposition.
“We want to pick up wins, but performances are of utmost importance to me – if the performance is great but we don’t win, at least we know that we did all that we can. Saturday showed that everybody played to the best of their ability and played full-out, so that’s all I can ask for in every single game.
“Hopefully they can push on from that performance, because they showed that they are capable.”