Key trio return as Heat start crucial trip
THE Townsville Heat have all hands on deck for what coach Rodney Anderson believes could be the road double that cements their home final aspirations.
Peter Crawford, Josh Wilcher and Jamell Anderson have made full recoveries from injury ahead of this weekend’s double against the Brisbane Capitals and Brisbane Spartans, starting with tomorrow’s game against the Capitals.
Anderson says all focus is being placed on tomorrow’s first clash, and will adopt a “come what may” approach for the Spartans.
The Capitals have dropped just one game this season and sit third on the men’s Queensland Basketball League table, one ahead of the Heat who can leapfrog their big city opponents with a strong win.
The road trip also ends a run of five home games for the Heat, who won four of those crucial encounters including last weekend’s 86- 72 mauling of the Cairns Marlins.
“On a road trip like this we really want to try and get that first game and then give it a red- hot crack in the second,” Anderson said.
“After a really good win at home last week it’s going to be crucial to try and consolidate on the road here.
“Our defence has improved out of sight since the start of the year and last week was a great defensive effort.
“Holding Cairns to a score way below their average is a really good sign for us, but now we have to take it on the road and do the same thing against a Brisbane team that likes to get a lot of possession up, shoot a lot of threes and they’re averaging almost 100 points.
“So our defence is going to be crucial in that first game.”
With a roster featuring NBL veteran Dusty Rychart and inform imports Aaron Anderson and Princeton Onwas, the Capitals have been in the habit of winning games through fullblown offence early in the piece.
Dictating their own terms is what Anderson believes will give the Heat a shot.
“Brisbane play this really weird style where everyone’s got the green light,” he said.
“They try and get a shot up in the first eight seconds of offence, and they just run and gun. It’s not just one guy; they’ve got Dusty Rychart who is just so efficient and they have guys around him who just score so well.
“Both their imports are really high scorers, so we just have to go back to our defence, make them grind it out and we can’t get caught up in their upand- down pace. Controlling the tempo of the game will be a big factor in this one.”
The Heat’s ability to allow import Justin Baker to dominate inside the circle will also play a key role in limiting the Capitals’ ability to dictate terms.
“He’s easily our most consistent threat inside, and not only is it good for him it’s good for outside guys as well.
“If we can get Baker going inside and make a really big target, it’s more room for Peter Crawford to shoot, more room for Josh Wilcher to drive and Jamell can go inside outside.”