Time for Force to finish with winning flourish
IT IS time for the Ipswich Force men to turn the recent lessons into wins.
That's the message from coach Andrew Summerville, ahead of his team's round six Queensland Basketball League match against South West Metro at Booval tonight.
The Force showed some of what they are capable of last weekend, pushing Bundaberg to the wire before going down 85-77.
"It was an even game up until the last minute and a half," Summerville said.
"The positive for us was we got off to a good start.
"In the last four or five matches we've started poorly and gone into half-time down by a big margin and having to fight to get back into it."
It proved the Force had learnt a lesson, but closing out the close games is another they must master.
"The only way to overcome it is to get experience," Summerville said.
"We've got nine guys who have never played QBL before. But we've had five or six games with similar trends.
"It's time to stop making excuses and put what we've learnt into action."
SW Metro sits one spot above the second-from-bottom Force and is in the same pool. A win for Ipswich tonight will go a long way to building confidence and restoring any semi-final hopes.
"It's an important game," the Ipswich coach said.
"They're in the same conference as us so it is like a two-point game.
"It affects the overall ladder and you need to beat the teams in your pool to make the play-offs.
"We're only one game out of play-offs."
After getting 38 minutes out of centre Martin Iti in his first game for the club following a finger injury, the coach hopes to see a bigger contribution this week.
"His finger's still troubling him," Summerville said.
"But him at 70 percent is good for our team. He's got the potential to be good but has to turn it into action. They're not an overly big team so there should be some easy scores around the basket.
"I want us to pressure them defensively.
"Because they're young and inexperienced, pressure can panic them.
"I'm sure they'll try to do exactly the same thing to us.
"I think whichever team does it best is likely to win."
Force have also lost promising teenager Tom Howard for the season after it was confirmed this week that he needed knee surgery.
"We've had a horrible run of injuries," Summerville said.
"Howard was a huge loss for us. He was scoring 10 points and 10 rebounds a game.
"We've had a real tough time, playing the top teams like Mackay and Gladstone and starting the season with an away double header. "It's a tough time for the group but I think it will benefit them in the long run."
QBL tonight: Ipswich v South West Metro. Women tip-off: 6.30pm, men at 8.30pm. Games at Ipswich stadium, Booval.