Veteran coach Graham “Ben” Gunn has warned against complacency as the City of Edinburgh Basketball Club chase a senior men’s and women’s double for only the third time in their history at the Scottish Cup Finals being held for the first time at the Lagoon Sports Centre, Paisley tomorrow and Sunday.
Gunn will be aiming to steer Edinburgh Kool Kats towards their sixth success and his fifth as coach when they play first-time finalists Tayside Musketeers in the last game of the two-day hoops bonanza on Sunday.
But, aware the Kats go into the game as strong favourites, as will Edinburgh Kings in the senior men’s final against Glasgow University tomorrow, he cautioned: “We may be favourites on paper but remember Tayside beat the (Glasgow) Rocks to get to the final.”
Gunn rates his current side as good as any he has coached: “It’s a well-balanced side and they probably go deeper than any previously,” he acknowledged.
By contrast his friend, Doug Reilly, is bidding for his first cup victory as senior coach though the Kings men will be pursuing their seventh success in 14 finals in the last 16 years.
With his two sons Craig and Lee also in the Kings line-up it will be quite a family occasion for a man who himself collected nine winner’s medals as a player with MIM/Bulls.
Kings will certainly not lack experience with Simon Flockhart appearing in a remarkable 13th final.
“I’ve won eight since 2001 including two with Livingston/Midlothian Bulls,” said the 6ft 9in centre, who will be a massive obstacle to a first success for Glasgow Uni who have lost their two league games to Kings this season by 19 and 44 points.
Reilly however is also cautious: “We need to forget the previous two games, approach this as a one-off game and look to play in the same manner as we have since the semi-final.”
“We’ll have to trust that’ll be enough to win.”
Like Flockhart, Kool Kats junior women are seeking their 13th Scottish Cup win, though coach Brian Findlay, in charge for most of their successes, admits they may not be favourites against home team St Mirren: “We hope to be close and maybe turn them over,” he said.
Also through to the finals are two more Capital sides, both from Boroughmuir Blaze.
Blaze junior men, led by Malcolm Winning, have the tougher task against unbeaten league leaders Tayside Musketeers while Blaze cadet men, who are in the final for the first time since 1968, meet Team Ayrshire Tornadoes.
Saturday: 11.30am, Cadet men: Boroughmuir Blaze v Team Ayrshire Tornadoes; 1.45pm, Junior women: Edinburgh Kool Kats v St Mirren; 4pm, Senior men: Edinburgh Kings v Glasgow University.
Sunday: 11.30am, Cadette women: Glasgow Rocks v St Mirren; 1.45pm, Junior men: Boroughmuir Blaze v Tayside Musketeers; 4pm, Senior women: Edinburgh Kool Kats v Tayside Musketeers.