Buccs in the box seat for top two finish but tough away trip looms to end regular season

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Willeton's Gorjak Gak takes on Liam Hunt.
Camera IconWilleton's Gorjak Gak takes on Liam Hunt. Credit: Arctic_Moon_Photography Arctic Moon Photography/Arctic Moon Photography

The NBL1 West regular season has gone in a flash as the Geraldton Buccaneers prepare for their final two games, with a top-two finish and home final on the line.

After one of the Buccs’ best wins of the year against Perry Lakes on the weekend, they have control over their own destiny with two wins this weekend guaranteeing them second place and a home final.

They will take on teams at opposing ends of the ladder in a double-header on the road, with the 12th-placed East Perth Eagles up on Friday night and fourth-placed Willetton on Saturday.

However, regardless of ladder positions the two sides are in hot form both winning four out of their past five and coach Dayle Joseph won’t be taking either team lightly.

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“Without stating the obvious, they’re both very important games,” he said. “East Perth are fresh off a couple of good wins, they’re probably, one of the most dangerous teams outside the eight.

“They got their team together late in the season and although we beat them a couple of weeks ago, they were without one of their guns in Sebit Reath.

“We’ll probably find that a pretty tough game to get through on Friday night and that’s our main focus at this stage and then hopefully, taking care of business on Friday means we can deal with what we need to on the on the Saturday.”

Buccs on the road is a different beast to what they’ve shown at home, splitting results on every away weekend so far, making securing a home final all the more important.

“I think the record sort of shows for itself our home records pretty good, it’s a pretty tough environment to play in, and you get the full support of over 1000 people,” Joseph said.

But the Buccs were impressive against the Hawks and with Liam Hunt back on the court the Buccs could be choosing the perfect time to break their road worries.

“I say it was probably one of our better games as far as overall, we had a few lapses along the way, which I think were limited compared to what we’ve done in the past, so I feel that’s a plus,” Joseph said.

“Obviously, Liam was a little bit rusty early on, but what he provided in the last quarter for helped us get over the line.”

The Buccs may only need one win to secure second if the Hawks fall to the Joondalup Wolves on Friday night but Joseph said they are not thinking that far ahead.

“We’ll play our strongest side no matter what, we’re still trying to kind of fine-tune what we do and playing Willeton on Saturday whether it has importance or not will be a great opportunity to improve for finals.”

With Willetton also fighting for top four it is also a chance to gain a mental edge over a potential post-season rival.

“The psychological advantage of winning may put some doubt in the opposition team, you know if we can get another win on them,” he said.

“But basketball is a funny game, teams can lose by 30 then turn it around next week it’s all about taking the opportunities that are in front of you on the night.”

The Buccs will take on the Eagles from 8.30pm on Friday before taking on Willetton at 12pm on Saturday.

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