IT HAS been Durham Wildcats’ best season so far, but Lee Davie will only consider it a success if his side qualify for the play-offs.
The top eight sides in the British Basketball League go through to the post-season tournament, and with Durham sitting seventh before this weekend’s visit to Manchester Giants, they are well placed.
“We have already broke our franchise record for wins in a season with six games to go, but ultimately, all that that matters is making the playoffs,” said Davie.
“That would then mean that as a team, we would have truly had the best overall season in club history.
“We also have to remember that we got out of the first round of the BBL Cup which was also a first for the franchise, while we have also taken key wins both home and away – including some against teams we had never previously beaten in franchise history.”
The last time Wildcats faced up to Giants it left a bitter taste in the mouth of Davie – they lost 111-105 last time out – and it’s one he is now eager to clear.
He explained: “We were really disappointed with the result of our last game against Manchester and defensively, I feel it was one of the worst performances of the year for us.
“I think this time around, we need to really do ourselves justice at both ends of the floor.
“The break has been good for us, because it has allowed us to get some guys back from injury and reintegrated back into the team.
“It has also allowed us to regroup and get ready for this last big push to solidify our play-off spot.
“This weekend is a must win for us, because it would make a seventh place finish very realistic.”
Davie, who replaced Dave Elderkin last summer, admitted that the play-offs has been the goal for Durham, in their third season in the BBL, since he took the reins.
He said: “Making the playoffs has always been a club aspiration this year and it is within our grasp and within our control. As a club, we have shown good signs of growth this year, the team have improved, and we have achieved great success already, but ultimately, we all want to make the play-offs.
“We have a good set of players and from a coaching perspective, it’s good to know how players are going to react with each other, and if I send someone on court I know exactly what they can bring, and how they can change the dynamics of a game. That’s a great position to be in for the remainder of the season.
“We have the advantage of the head to head against Glasgow and Plymouth which could prove pivotal, but Manchester hangs in the balance, that’s why Sunday’s game is crucial as we can’t be tied on points with Manchester at the end of the season.
“As much as the play-offs are an exciting time for myself and the team, our focus is still to win as many of the next six games a possible. I believe this team has the ability to make the final eight, and for the efforts they have put in this season, that’s exactly where we deserve to be.”