Geraldton Buccaneers ‘perfectly placed’ for SBL title, says Senators coach Mike Ellis

Headshot of Peter Sweeney
Peter SweeneyGeraldton Guardian
Perth Wildcats legend Mike Ellis.
Camera IconPerth Wildcats legend Mike Ellis. Credit: Simon Santi

The Geraldton Buccaneers are “perfectly placed” to win their second SBL championship, says Warwick Senators coach Mike Ellis, who captained the Perth Wildcats to their inaugural title in the National Basketball League in 1990.

The Buccs play the Senators at noon on Sunday, the second leg of a tough road trip to Perth and the final game in the 2019 home-and-away season.

“What an end to the season,” Ellis said.

“I think there’s three teams who can finish top, a number who can make the top four and even more who can finish in the final eight.

“It is a testament to the quality of the SBL, it is what (local) basketball wants and needs.”

Ellis said the third-placed Buccaneers are set to make an impact in the finals — and repeat the premiership of 2000.

“I rate them very highly, they are a very good side,” he said.

“They are very strong, very deep. The newest import (Isby) has helped and I think the recent addition of young (Alex) Ducas has made them better.

“They have players in all positions and there are no weaknesses.”

Ellis said his sixth-spot-sitting Senators were “building up” to the play-offs after peaking too early in the season.

“No excuses at all, but we had a few injuries and a few fellas had niggles and a young fella had duty with the Emus,” Ellis said.

“I think our players lost confidence for a while and we fell off the pace. We’re pushing back a bit now.”

The Senators must beat second-bottom side Mandurah Magic on Saturday night to assure itself of a finals berth.

“They (Mandurah) are a bit of a mystery. They have played some atrocious ball; they have played some fantastic ball,” Ellis said.

The Saturday night fixture for the Buccs is against ladder leaders Lakeside Lightning, who came from 10 points behind early in the last term to beat the Buccs by 10 points at Activewest Stadium on June 29.

Lightning are on 38 points with two games remaining and are followed by the Joondalup Wolves (38, one), Buccs (36, two), Rockingham Flames and Perry Lakes Hawks, both on 34 points and with one match remaining, Warwick Senators (32, two) and the Kalamunda Suns and Goldfields Giants, both on 26 points with one game remaining.

The ninth-placed Willetton Tigers, also on 26 points with a game remaining, are the only side outside the top eight who can still make the finals.

The quarter-finals start next weekend, when the top finishing side play the eighth finisher, second meet seventh, third play sixth and fourth and fifth clash.

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