DAVIS DELIGHT AT STERLING WORK

glasgow rocks 568Glasgow Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis is ‘proud’ of his side for sealing a place in the BBL Trophy Final, and hopes it can provide boost in their quest for the play-offs.

The Rocks overturned a six-point first-leg deficit to defeat Cheshire Phoenix 172-157 on aggregate to reach their first final since 2010, to the delight of Davis.

He said: “I’m happy for the guys to experience this. Considering everything that has gone on with us this season and the ups and downs we’ve had, to be able to grit it out in a game like that, especially when it mattered most, I’m pretty proud of it.”

Despite their positive Trophy run, the Rocks currently sit outside the top eight in the league with a 10-15 record.

“We’ve got to take it one game at a time and hopefully that little boost of confidence will help us and see better results in our league play,” said Davis. “We’re right on the cusp of getting a play-off spot, but we have a tough challenge ahead with the games that we have left.”

In their bid to reach the post-season for the 13th consecutive season in the BBL, the Rocks face top four opposition five times, in their final eight league games, including this weekend’s home double-header Sheffield Sharks and Newcastle Eagles. Durham and Plymouth occupy the final two play-off spots at the moment, but are just two wins ahead of both Glasgow and Manchester.

Davis said: “We just have to be consistent in our team performances. I think over the course of the season, we’ve kind of struggled with having consistent performances on the floor, whether it’s on the defensive side of things or offensively.”

“We really have to focus on that and mentally concentrate, understanding that each games is different. Re-focus is a necessity.”

He added: “I think if we can put that together and get into a habit of playing a similar style of basketball every game then I think we will see a difference in results.”

Davis has made a few changes to his original roster with Alex Marcotullio replacing the released Chez Marks, now at London Lions, and Chris Johnson coming in for Antonio Di Maria, who returned to the US for personal reasons.

“It’s been going ok,” the 36-year-old said. “With changes comes that acclimation period. It’s been turbulent at times this season, but the guys are really starting to mesh and hopefully starting to better understand what each other can do.”

The whole of the BBL knows what Rocks’ centre Daniel Northern can do after his impressive 29 points and 21 rebounds in Friday’s 98-77 second leg win, televised on BBL TV. The American recorded season-highs in both categories and his performance earned praise from his coach.

“He really played to a level I was expecting him to play throughout the course of the season. I thought he really took it upon himself on both ends of the floor. I was really happy with the defensive game that he played and his activeness on defence, which doesn’t show up on the stat-sheets.

“For him to be that aggressive on the offensive side, he definitely helped us out on the rebounds and that’s what I brought him in for.”

Tensions have risen between Glasgow and Cheshire both on-and-off the court since their last league meeting in February with altercations and acts of unsportsmanlike conduct. However, Davis played down any talk of a rivalry and puts it down to the competitiveness of the sport.

“I don’t think it’s a rivalry as such. A few things have definitely been over-analysed and maybe blown out of proportion at times. I think it’s all in the competitive nature of the game. Throughout the course of the season, all teams – not just us – have battles with each other and that’s the only way I see it.”

As it was in last season, the Emirates Arena will play host to the BBL Trophy Final, which presents Glasgow the opportunity to take on Worcester on their home court.

Speaking of the home advantage, Davis said: “It will be good. I think it will give us a slight edge in that we will probably have a little more fan support there than our opponents. But at the end of the day, the game is played on the court so we’ve still got to go out and make sure we try to perform at a top level.”

Standing in Glasgow’s way of a first piece of silverware since the 2003 Play-offs are Paul James’ Wolves side, who are yet to win a trophy since joining the BBL in 2006.

Worcester have proved to be consistently strong this season and have already defeated the Rocks twice this season, in the league. Davis – a one-time BBL winner with 2002-03 cup champions Brighton – is aiming to contain the impact of the Wolves’ American trio.

He said: “We have to control their big three options with Zaire Taylor, (Alex) Owumi and then (Will) Creekmore. We really have to do a good job of limiting their contributions and make others, who are not usually main contributors on the offencive end, take a lot of shots. “

“So, I think it’s a bit of both and just grit it out and rebound the ball well. They have depth so it will definitely be a tough challenge for us.”

The Final is also live on BBL TV on Sunday 30 March and is preceded by an international friendly between Scotland and England.

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