The odds of an upset may have shortened for the Sun City Plumbing Buccaneers with Cockburn’s Wildcat talent Damien Scott ruled out of tomorrow night’s clash with injury.
Cougars coach Stephen Charlton rued the absence of development player Scott as a “big loss” on Tuesday and confirmed the shooting guard would sit out the Geraldton fixture with a wrist injury.
Cockburn, currently third, fell seven points short of fifth-placed East Perth Eagles last week.
But Charlton said the defeat, the Cougars’ second to the Eagles this year, had weighed heavily on the mind of his players, who were keen to rebound against the Buccs.
“We came out of the game on the weekend a little beat-up, both physically and spiritually. We took a licking again — that’s twice East Perth has got us now,” he said.
“It’s important for us to get back to playing our best basketball.”
The Buccs, 11th, have won three of their past four games and ended Kalamunda’s three-game streak last week.
Import Morgan Sabia hit a season-high 35 points for the Buccs, including seven shots from beyond the arc.
Charlton expected a stern outing and circled the form of the Buccs’ big Yank.
“The Buccs got over an in-form Suns side last week so we know it’s always tough, but with their tails up (it) will make this weekend that little bit tougher,” he said.
“On paper they put out a hell of a team that everybody’s got to be worried about.
“It looks like Morgan has settled into the league and is starting to produce on a more consistent basis.”
With fortune weighing heavily on the Buccs’ finals aspirations, the game could be the second-last appearance for the Geraldton crowd to rally in the corner of the blue and gold.
Former Kalgoorlie boss Charlton said he wanted his players to use the crowd to their advantage.
“You want the guys to ride the line of really enjoying the crowd,” he said.
“I think everyone in the league would agree, you’re probably better playing in front of a big crowd that’s against you than a small crowd.
“We played the biggest Perth crowd at Lakeside, we’ve been to Kalgoorlie and didn’t have a problem in those games and hopefully we won’t (have a problem) this week.”