Red­backs well on track

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE -

THE coaches of the Perth Red­backs' men's and women's teams are pleased with the progress of their re­spec­tives sides this sea­son.

THE sea­son might be over for the Perth Red­backs but the men’s and women’s team coaches are pleased with the progress of their re­spec­tive sides.

Both teams had im­proved sea­sons, fin­ish­ing 7th in the reg­u­lar sea­son af­ter miss­ing out on the play-offs dur­ing the 2015 sea­son, bu losses in the quar­ter-finals saw their sea­sons come to a halt.

Men’s coach Nik Lack­ovic said it was a pos­i­tive and en­joy­able sea­son as the team rose from 11th in 2015 to achieve a play-off ap­pear­ance.

“It was our goal to make the play-offs and al­though we were dis­ap­pointed to lose in the first round, it was against a high-qual­ity team,” he said.

“We es­tab­lished our­selves as a top team and gained the re­spect of the rest of the league.

“Play­ers such as Ben Smith shone at the shoot­ing guard po­si­tion, Michael Vigor showed that he is one of the elite big men in the league, while our im­port Jour­dan De­muynck was tremen­dous.”

Lack­ovic said a lack of in­juries and dis­rup­tions helped the team im­prove af­ter miss­ing the play­offs last sea­son.

“The team was com­mit­ted to each other and proved them­selves to be very coach­able,” he said.

“There was also a blend of ex­pe­ri­ence and youth with a lot of the young guys get­ting some time on the court.

“We will look to build on what we have es­tab­lished next sea­son, I don’t think we need to change much.”

Women’s coach Keith Hor­wood said the in­tro­duc­tion of new play­ers and the im­prove­ment of ex­ist­ing play­ers pro­pelled the team up the lad­der.

“Re­cruits such as Re­becca Ben­son, Lisa Wall­but­ton, Ajay Jones and Bianca Dono­van were all stand­outs,” he said.

“Some of our strengths this sea­son in­cluded our three-point shoot­ing, and our abil­ity to score in the paint.

“I felt like we lost a cou­ple of close games that would have meant that we would have fin­ished higher on the lad­der and not met the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Rock­ing­ham.”

Hor­wood said he would find out in the next few weeks whether he would coach next sea­son.

“I’m re­ally proud about how the team played this sea­son and I think they can con­tinue to im­prove next year,” he said.

Michael Vigor slam dunks.

Ajay Jones in ac­tion.

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