'We want to' - Caledonia Gladiators boss reveals BBL playoff aim after 96-81 win over Plymouth Patriots

Caledonia Gladiators are looking to make history in the playoffs. Cr. Caledonia Gladiators.Caledonia Gladiators are looking to make history in the playoffs. Cr. Caledonia Gladiators.
Caledonia Gladiators are looking to make history in the playoffs. Cr. Caledonia Gladiators.
Caledonia Gladiators returned to winning ways as they defeated Plymouth Patriots 96-81 in East Kilbride.

Caledonia Gladiators head coach Gareth Murray says his team are aiming to go all the way in the British Basketball League (BBL) playoffs after their comfortable 96-81 win over Plymouth Patriots at the Playsport Arena on Sunday.

The Scottish side bounced back from defeat against Sheffield Sharks on Friday to register their sixth win in seven matches and the Caledonia boss feels momentum building with just one game left to play before the playoffs begin.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Again, it’s a win at home which we are happy about,” said Murray. “Everyone got plenty of minutes, 27 assists, so the ball was getting moved, the defence was there. It is about progression and continuing to improve. I thought we did that tonight.”

Currently in third place behind Cheshire Phoenix, Caledonia travel to Bristol Flyers on Friday for their final game of the regular season requiring a huge win to have any hope of clinching second spot. However, should Phoenix defeat Newcastle Eagles on the same night, it will confirm Caledonia’s third place finish regardless of their result.

With a third-place finish likely, a three-game series against whoever finishes in sixth position is the most probable outcome. Interestingly, if the standings remain the same, a mouth-watering clash against rivals the Eagles would await. However, Murray brushed off talk of potential playoff opposition and instead revealed the team’s target is simply to go all the way to the final at London’s O2 Arena.

“For the playoffs, we want to get to the final,” admitted the head coach. “With the changes to a three-game series I think it’s a lot better for the overall audience to watch. It is a much-improved format and hopefully it will keep more people entertained with each game.

“We want to continue playing good basketball, continue working on our defence and playing a bit quicker. The atmosphere was amazing tonight. The fans are showing their appreciation by coming out every week to see us. The fan zone still has 500-600 people in it even though the game finished 25 minutes ago so we are appreciative of people coming out to see us and we are trying to put a show on for them.”

Alongside an MVP performance from Patrick Whelan, Caledonia fans were introduced to a cameo from 16-year-old Cael Sweeney, who made his debut for the club in the final minutes of the clash. A graduate of Caledonia’s high performance academy, the head coach praised Sweeney and explained his plans for the teenager in the weeks and months to come.

“We tried to get him in a few weeks ago but the game was a bit closer,” revealed Murray. “He’s with us every day alongside a couple of the other younger guys. He’s 16-years-old and the youngest player we’ve had for the men’s side.

“We were desperate for him to get a shot at the end there but for him getting this experience and being around the professionals guys, seeing how they conduct themselves everyday, how hard they work in practice and then rewarding him by stepping on the court as a professional player at 16.

“It is perfect for him and he works hard everyday. It is about them developing and hopefully they can be the next Fraser Malcolm, Kyle Jimenez or Jonny Bunyan”.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.