Phoenix hoping to bounce back in blockbuster home opener

WELCOME HOME COACH: New Phoenix basketball coach and general manager Dale Ryan brings a world of experience. Picture: Warren Lynam, Sunshine Coast News.

WELCOME HOME COACH: New Phoenix basketball coach and general manager Dale Ryan brings a world of experience. Picture: Warren Lynam, Sunshine Coast News.

The Sunshine Coast Phoenix is aiming to hand the Brisbane Capitals their first defeat in tonight’s NBL1 North sold-out home game at Maroochydore Basketball Stadium.

Sunshine Coast Phoenix men’s head coach Dale Ryan says that after starting the season with a comprehensive wire-to-wire victory over USC Rip City, the team is looking to make amends for relinquishing a six-point lead in the dying stages of a three-point loss to Northside Wizards last week.

“I was really pleased with the first game but then obviously a bit disappointed with the result last week considering I thought we played well enough that we should’ve won,” he says.

“Credit to the Wizards. They did a great job of hanging around and down the stretch they did a better job of executing.

“We looked to address a couple of things in training this week like tweaking our press breaker and hopefully we’ll be better for the experience.”

INTRIGUING BATTLE AHEAD: Sunshine Coast Phoenix guard Darnell Robateau has the unenviable task of trying to quell Nicholas Stoddart’s influence on tonight’s game.
Picture: Sunshine Coast Phoenix, Facebook.

The 45-year-old former Brisbane Bullets assistant coach says that avoiding the lapses in concentration which cost them last week will be key to securing victory tonight against last year’s QSL Division One champions.

“I think a commitment to playing consistent basketball across the entire 40 minutes will be crucial,” he says.

“I think we showed at times that when we play our best basketball we are as talented as anyone in the league, but we also showed an ability to drop off the mark a little bit.”

The Phoenix’s off-season coaching recruit says his team’s ability to slow down red-hot Capitals guard Nicholas Stoddart will go a long way to determining the outcome of the highly anticipated matchup.

“It’s about trying to minimise his efficiency,” he says.

“It’s not so much what he gets, but how he gets it.

“He’ll be a focus for us but I’m quite confident in Darnell [Robateau] and Zeke’s [Meehl] ability to do the job similar to what they did against Isaih Tueta in our first game.”

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Forward Jess Habgood works on his free throw technique at training ahead of the big game against the Capitals. Picture: Dermott Chatwin

Sunshine Coast Phoenix power forward Jess Habgood says that he is focusing on bouncing back following a disappointing personal performance last week.

“I really lack confidence especially when I’m not touching the ball often so it’s important that I try to get a couple of shots in early to hopefully build that up,” he says.

“I’m also looking to improve my energy and communication levels as I feel I was lacking in those last week and those attributes are why I’m in the team.”

The 25-year-old former Sunshine Coast Clippers junior says he thinks the team will be up to the challenge of taking down the Capitals in front of their home fans tonight before backing up tomorrow night against last year’s QSL Division One runners-up Red City Roar away from home.

“As a team I feel as though physically we will be fine as long as we do the right thing by eating right and stretching after the Capitals game in order to recover and prepare for Saturday night,” he says.

“Mentally we just need to focus on executing our plays and staying sharp.”