CAMBRIDGE – It’s playoff time.
After a big win over Islands Consolidated this week, the Central Kings Gators boys’ basketball team is getting ready to tackle their upcoming regional tournament at Northeast Kings Education Centre this weekend.
Coach Paul Daley says his team is feeling great after their big 114-33 win over Islands Consolidated School Feb. 11, followed closely by a 94-80 win Feb. 13 over Barrington Municipal High School.
It’s been a challenging season for the team, but Daley is hoping with a serious set of practices under their belts and this latest upswing, the team will hit the tournament stronger than ever.
“This is the time to have our best games of the year,” he says.
Plenty of progress at playoffs
This is Daley’s first year with the team. Before Feb. 11’s game, the team was in a “win or go home” position, according to the coach.
Their win propelled them to a fourth place finish within the conference, and on to regionals, where they’ll face off Feb. 16 against Northeast Kings for their first match.
In what is commonly called one of the toughest conferences of the province, Daley says he’s proud of his boys for their strong finish.
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“We’ve been playing really well down the stretch,” says Daley.
“Now it’s just one game at a time.”
The season has been one of learning for them, and they’re gearing up for a strong finish, says Daley.
“We’re more experienced than we were at the beginning, that’s for sure. Each player has grown, and I’m really impressed with these guys,” he says.
Defensive focus key to winning
The team has struggled with keeping their minds on their defensive play, according to the coach.
With many games they’ve lost still having reached scores of 60 to 70 points, Daley says he’s not as worried about the team’s offensive play.
“Games are won on the defensive end of the floor. We’ve been scoring plenty, so we’ve got to keep the other teams from doing the same,” he says.
Defensive plays will be a focus for spring and summer training, according to the coach.
The team is also young, counting seven grade 9 to 10 players alone.
Daley says his team can also struggle with maintaining momentum, but that this has improved significantly over the past few games.
“Our goal starting out in November was to be better by February. We’ve achieved that, and now we’ve just got to keep our momentum going,” he says.