Pirates homing in on finals

By Andrew Johnston

THE CHARGE to a finals berth starts now.

And for the final time this regular season, Echuca hold the home floor advantage.

The top of the table Senior Pirates will host third placed Maryborough on Saturday night, as the Pirates look to win at least one of their final two games to all but lock down a home final.

And there will be some added spice to this match.

The Pirates’ most recent meeting against Maryborough saw the Pirates suffer a 33-point loss to the Blazers — a defeat they will be desperate to avenge in the run home.

Coach Leo Tenace said his side is excited by the prospect of the finals more than anything.

‘‘It is in the back of our minds that this side have beaten us,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re one of the best sides in the competition, so how we see it is that if we do get the win in this game, that should lock us down a home final.

‘‘We’ve had a really good year on our own floor, so for us to continue to play our best basketball at home gets us that win back, and secures us another shot on our floor as finals begin.’’

A victory will also relieve some pressure for the team’s final season road trip to Mildura.

‘‘They’re a really solid side,’’ Tenace said.

‘‘It’s not an easy trip to make to get down to Mildura. We obviously have a lot of belief in this side from what we have produced so far this season, but it would be great to get the job done this week and then put a strong performance in against Mildura as well.’’

Tenace said his side has not been too focused on basketball during their recent break.

‘‘I didn’t want our side focusing purely on basketball while they were on holidays,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re young athletes. We knew they were going to come back in good shape, so I think it was helpful to give them a bit of a circuit breaker from what was happening so they can be fresh heading into finals.’’

The Lady Pirates will also play their final home game on Saturday, which marks the end of their season, with a 4pm showdown with Maryborough.