Everyone at Leeds Force thrives on the label of underdog – it means we don’t have to be afraid of anyone, and we’re never scared because nobody expects us to win games.
Down in Worcester last week, we fought superbly and could easily have shocked them – we never give up, and that’s what this team is all about.
Clearly, the Wolves didn’t think we’d be up to the challenge after their pair of heavy victories against us earlier in the season, so it was great to turn up and give them more than they bargained for in the first half.
We lost our composure though and that cost us, basketball is a game of runs as I always say – we need to start making sure we have the final run of points, and not the other team.
Our next opponents Surrey are a good team with some high-quality personnel.
We’re certainly not going to under-estimate them, but at the same time we truly believe this is a winnable game for us.
If we can cancel out their strengths, there’s no reason why we can’t spring a surprise on Friday night.
Even with Sunday’s game against league leaders Leicester Riders looming large, we’re firmly fixing our sights on Surrey – we’ve already played Leicester three times previously, so we know a lot about what to expect from them.
It’s always great to be playing at home – it gives you the chance to arrive at the arena nice and early, find a rhythm and become comfortable before the game starts.
We look forward to playing in front of the Leeds crowd, because you give us plenty of belief and we thrive on the noise that you create as I’ve said all season long.
Playing twice in the space of 48 hours is a unique task you don’t often face in other sports, but it’s commonplace in basketball, and we’re used to the both the physical and mental challenges it provides. Of course, it becomes a lot more difficult if you have to travel a considerable distance for the second game – we’re hoping to take advantage of playing two teams who might be fatigued after long journeys up to West Yorkshire.
As the end of the season approaches, it’s a good time to talk about players I think have really stood out for us across the course of the campaign.
A special mention has to go to the guys who’ve been with Leeds since the start of this rollercoaster season – Aidan Appleyard and George Brownell.
They’ve both been fantastic, and have really improved individually as players across the last few months.
In terms of players who have been drafted in to help us mid-season, Adrian Kuyinu has really developed and is becoming better and better with every passing game.
He has a great work ethic, and has blossomed into an incredibly important player for us having been initially drafted in as a try-out.
After almost complete turnover last summer, seeing a couple of familiar faces was certainly a relief when the team came together before the season began.
The key to success in my opinion is retaining players across the off-season, and that’s something I hope Leeds Force can achieve in what’s going to be crucial next few months for the team and the organisation as a whole.
That’s it for this week’s column, I hope you enjoyed it and we’re all looking forward to seeing you down at Carnegie Sports Arena this weekend for our crucial double-header – your support means a lot to us and we can’t thank you enough.
Interview: Seb Gigner