Southern Tigers vs. Norwood Flames @ Morphett Vale Basketball Stadium 7:30pm
Norwood coach Kevin Brooks says his side is confident it can put an end to its recent struggles against Southern when it faces the Tigers in a qualifying final.
The Flames have lost five of their past six meetings against Southern over the past two seasons, including the most recent by 26 points at Morphett Vale.
Brooks said Norwood had adjusted to playing without import Jerrell Sanders (knee) since the last meeting.
“At Morphett Vale that was the first time we didn’t have him (Sanders) and they jumped on us,” Brooks said.
“Everyone has stepped up now and we have a handful of guys who can do some really good things ... we’re very balanced.”
The Flames started the season 3-5 but are 9-1 since.
Brooks said his side had improved its defensive game in the second half of the season.
“We’re pretty happy with making the finals and our second half of the season,” he said.
“With a new coach and a new system this season it took some time to adust but they (the players) did an outstanding job.”
Norwood’s only loss in the run home was to Southern.
“We didn’t shoot well (in that game) but defensively I thought we did a good job on them, we just didn’t have the points on the board,” Brooks said.
“The first game (this season) we were very much in it but we put on the foul line too much down the stretch and they pulled away from us.
“They’ve got a whole lot of talent on that team so we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
Southern coach Dean Nyberg said he was expecting a battle more like the round six fixture between the sides than the Tigers’ 26-point win later in the season.
“The first game was a real interesting chess battle,” he said.
“It was a bit back-and-forth and quite high-scoring.
“I think we can trouble them a little bit with our size which is a focus, but they’re a smart, savvy, group and they won’t beat themselves.
“We have to go out there and make sure they’re not getting their preferred options.”
Norwood has missed just one finals campaign the past decade, giving it a significant edge in major round experience over the Tigers.
“They are so experienced and have some veterans so you know come finals time they will put up a pretty good fight,” Nyberg said.
“If you allow them to hang around and get a sniff with a veteran group they will get a win.”