Ipswich team fine-tuning master plan
ALL the ingredients are there for Ipswich. It's just getting the right mix blending together for long enough.
That's the assessment of Force state league coach Mick Conlon preparing for tomorrow night's vital home clash with Toowoomba at Ipswich stadium.
Since upsetting pool rivals Gold Coast in their opening game, the Force men have been in strong positions before losing to Townsville, Logan and Brisbane last weekend.
"I'm really frustrated,'' Conlon said, setting high standards in the Queensland Basketball League competition.
"To be up at halftime against last year's grand finalist (Brisbane) and lose is one: not acceptable, but two: just no-one being happy about the result.
"We're just mentally not strong enough.''
However, Conlon believes his players are putting in the effort at training.
"The guys know what I expect of them. They are willing to do the work,'' Conlon said.
"It's a good bunch of guys.
"We've got a pretty inexperienced team overall.
"There's not a lot of veterans on this team and that's the one thing lacking in this group at the moment.''
Conlon praised captain James Legan for his recent inspired performances, including 38 points in last weekend's 101-85 loss to Brisbane. The American import also made eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.
"He's setting the challenge this year of making the All Stars five and I think he's good enough do to it,'' the head coach said.
"He's one of the better imports in the league. He's putting on numbers.
"Unfortunately he's not getting enough support at the moment.''
Conlon also welcomed back Ipswich product Jason Ralph after his college stint in North Dakota.
Ralph received nearly 27 minutes court time to shake off the cobwebs last weekend.
"He's not in shape yet but that's something we are working on,'' Conlon said.
"He'll get better each week as he gets more used to the group and they get used to him.''
The competitive and team-minded Ralph is one of those players who responds quickly to a challenge.
Tomorrow night's game is important because it is Ipswich's second match in their QBL pool.
The top two teams in each pool qualify for the quarter-finals.
"Win all your pool games and you will essentially top your pool so that's our main goal this year,'' Conlon said.
"Yes I want to win more games (featuring other pool sides) but our priority of the year is to make the finals.''
South West and Gold Coast are in the same pool as Ipswich and Toowoomba.
Conlon is also gaining confidence knowing his team are traditional slow starters and have already played some powerhouse sides like Townsville and Brisbane.
"We know what we are doing is right,'' he said.
"We're right there with all the top teams.
"Townsville and Brisbane are probably two of the best teams this year.
"We're really hoping we can get a run going.''
The Force women play Toowoomba in tomorrow's 5pm clash at Booval.
Force broke through for their first win last weekend with their full playing roster.
Queensland Basketball League: Saturday night - Ipswich v Toowoomba at Ipswich stadium, Booval.
Women's match at 5pm before the men's game at 7pm.