Tough challenge for grand final berth

Tough challenge for grand final berth

ON THE LINE: Lakers men’s coach Kane deWit is hoping to take his team to the Country Basketball League Grand Finals. Image: FILE

Trevor Jackson

THE Mount Gambier Lakers men have reached the business end of the 2022-23 Country Basketball League season with only one chance of reaching the Grand Finals.

Semifinals are played this weekend and it’s a do-or-die scenario, with winners moving on to the grand finals and losers mothballed in the off-season.

In the harsh reality of competition, the Lakers face their nemesis Horsham Hornets, a team they’ve beaten on both occasions this season.

The first time was in Round 9 where the Hornets won by just two points.

It was a disappointment after the Lakers led early but went under in the second half.

The last time was a few weeks ago when the Lakers traveled across the border and returned home after a six-point loss.

A full roster took on the Hornets in that game, but still without joy.

The Lakers have been one of the dominant teams this season, but it doesn’t matter if they can’t win that one game.

Coach Kane deWit and marksman Simon Berkefeld will be key to success, but both need to lead by example to inspire their teams.

Berkefeld returned to the competition with a bang and is consistently a dangerous player for opposing teams.

Likewise, deWit controls the floor from the spot and his NBL1 experience is invaluable to the Lakers’ success.

Ben Young is a young player who has made a splash this season.

He’s proven his skills week after week and will be one the Hornets will have to watch out for.

If he finds some space he’s bound to do some damage, as does Toby deWit, who provides plenty of entertainment when he drives hard to the basket.

Nelson Forbes is a young tomboy with plenty of class while Braiden Ousey provides a big target around the basket on either end of the floor.

Unfortunately, injuries to Kyle Tipene, Matthew Berkefeld and Jack Wilkinson will have some repercussions, but the Lakers would still start as a real opportunity to advance to the Grand Finals.

The Hornets were served well last time out against the Lakers by Cody Bryan, Mitch Martin and Austin McKenzie.

If the Lakers can close those three, they have a real shot at moving up to the big dance the following week.

With home field advantage, the Lakers should be up to the task this weekend with the game scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday night.

It’s going to be a big afternoon at the Icehouse with the Lakers women leading the men after the Millicent Magic women’s early clash.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *