The season is quickly coming to a close as we approach Playoff Finals Weekend on the 1st and 2nd April. The only games to be contested this week are the two Men’s Semi-Finals. Game of the Week takes us to Falkirk this evening for the final ever Sony Centre Fury game at their long-time home, The Mariner Centre.
The SBC League and Cup Champions host Glasgow Storm in a match-up between the 1 and 5 seeds that will determine who heads to the Finals at the start of next month.
Sony Centre Fury are looking to complete an unprecedented sweep of the SBC Competitions having already secured the League and Cup in the last two months. Their high powered offence, focused on the various 3-point threats they have in their arsenal, has been tough to stop all season long.
Fury have broken records on their impressive journey and in the majority of their games, opponents have been unable to provide any real contest to them. The only team that has been able to do so consistently was the 4th placed City of Edinburgh Kings who defeated Fury in both match-up’s this season, Fury's only defeats.
The team that recently eliminated City of Edinburgh Kings from the Playoffs was Glasgow Storm. Although they finished the campaign in the 5th seed with a 9-9 record, they have shown they are a force to be reckoned with, even to the top teams in the competition.
At the beginning of the season, Storm struggled to find consistency in their performances, holding a 2-4 record through 6 games. However as the season has went on, they gelled more as a team, and now seem to have peaked at the right team having beaten Kings twice recently, and competed with Saints, Blaze and Fury.
One of the better defensive teams in the league, they are a team which plays with lots of intensity, physicality and confidence in themselves, a combination which Kings utilised to defeat Fury twice.
There is no doubt around who the favourites are heading into this game, especially considering the 82-60, and 51-64 scorelines, both in favour of Fury through the regular season. On top of this, the home advantage of The Mariner, a building constantly filled to the brim with Fury supporters will provide an extra edge for Fury, as they bid farewell to the building that has been their home for 25 years.
However, Storm have definitely improved as the season has went on and have a habit of keeping games close right to the end, win or lose so we can expect a game that will go down to the wire as Glasgow Storm look to reach their first Playoff Final in their history.
Sony Centre Fury Head Coach John Bunyan was looking forward to the occasion: "To finish our 25 year history at the Mariner with a game of this magnitude is a fitting end to our great times at this venue. The Mariner staff and Falkirk Council have been very good to us over the years and we would like to thank them for that. Iain MacLean and I were recently doing the commentary together for a Rocks BBL game and now a couple of weeks later face off in one of the most important games of the season for both teams. Our two Championship games produced 22 and 13pt wins, but in game 1 we had GB forward Ali Fraser in our team so we as a team were certainly stronger on that occasion. We have averaged 10 more points than Storm per game on the scoring side and conceded 5 less per game - so there is not much between the sides over the season. They have a group of players that are solid in the guard spot and as a team under Iain's direction certainly work very hard at both ends of the floor. Former Saints player Michael Lynn has added to their size and ability beyond the arc. Overall I was happy with our quarter-final performance over Reign this week at practices we need to prepare to finish our time at the Mariner on a high and a place in the Play-Off Finals."
Glasgow Storm Head Coach Iain MacLean: "We head to the Mariner one last time following our very credible performance at Portobello last Saturday. My guys fully understand that we need everyone to play at the same level as last week plus ensure that we play the game at a good tempo – one that suits Storm.
Again we acknowledge that Fury have been very consistent this year with winning trophies the end result but we will head east on Friday believing that we can not only win the semi-final but indeed win the whole thing – we have two guys in a Storm uniform now that surprised all when playing with Glasgow University a couple of years back when they won the play-off final against all predictions – they and the rest of my guys have a taste for the same!"
Game of the Week tips off at 8:00pm on Friday night at The Mariner Centre. As always we will be reporting live from the game on Facebook and more regularly on Twitter.