Dave Ryan reports…
Levett Essex Leopards’ coach Thomas Baker was philosophical following his team’s exit from the NBL Division Two play-offs.
The Big Cats went down 84-80 against Westminster Warriors last week, leaving Baker frustrated:
“So the season is officially over for us. A bit prematurely for our liking but it is time now to reflect and grow individually and collectively” he said.
“On the night we couldn’t handle how direct Westminster were and our ability to finish strong at times as well as our shooting at the free throw line hurt us.”
Despite missing out on promotion, Baker was pleased with how his side performed during his first full year as head coach:
“Overall it’s been a season that has challenged all of us and I am proud of the resilience this team has shown across the season.
“Unfortunately in sport there has to be a winner and a loser and we lost on the night. “There have been some notable performances across the season, our captain Dougie [Bennett] stepped up numerous times showing his versatility in ways he can score, “Likewise Will [Ashby] has proven that time and time again. Shaq [Lewis] picking up the Most Improved Player award was hugely deserved and some of my college students in Jose [Morais], Wes [Moore] and Jordan [George] grew as the season went on.
“I will always remember this first full season in a men’s environment for two reasons; the sheer amount of work that goes into running a club and also the satisfaction you get when your team plays how you know they can.
“The support from people involved in the club from backroom staff to players has been massive. We need to build on this for next season. I look forward to taking some time out now to spend with family but most importantly reflecting to ensure that I can be back next year better for the organisation.”