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Scotland

SBC 18/19 Season Preview

The Scottish Basketball Championship returns this evening as eight teams take to the court to open the 2018-19 campaign.

How did last season play out?

Women: City of Edinburgh Kats retained their League Championship, while Edinburgh University dominated the postseason to add Play-Off honours to their Cup triumph.

Men: St Mirren took the League Championship, but it was City of Edinburgh Kings that stole the show with a Play-Off and Cup double.

Have there been any changes?

Women: The Women’s League has moved away from a two-tiered top division in favour of a standard nine team format. The move followed the dissolution of Tayside Musketeers.

Lady Rocks became the primary beneficiary of Tayside’s demise, the side snapping up both Kat Martin and Yhana Van Wees. The new look Rocks will hope to challenge Kats and Edinburgh University for silverware this season.

Men: Edinburgh Lions will travel to St Mirren on opening night, having being promoted from Division 2.

What are they saying?

Women

Falkirk Fury – Ailie Gardner told us:

“Preseason for me has been a lot more of an individual process than for the rest of the team.

“I’m in the final stages of rehabbing from knee surgery so have been focusing on building strength, whilst regaining my agility and speed. Hopefully this will make sure I’ve got my confidence back and I’m 100% match fit and finally ready to get back on the court.

“With regards to the season ahead, we have a team filled with experience and are fortunate enough to have players who have played together for well over 10 years.

“This, combined with the influence of the younger U18 and U16 girls, will really allow us to compete at the top end of the SBC league table.

“We hope to replicate our Play-Off success of two seasons ago and I think a key focus for us will be to remain consistent throughout the entire SBC League and Cup campaign.”

St Mirren – Anna Mitchell told us:

“The preseason for us has been about keeping up fitness levels and focusing on developing as a team.

“I’m really looking forward to the season ahead, building on last season’s success. Starting with our game against West Lothian Wolves at home on Sunday.”

Lady Rocks – Yhana Van Wees told us:

“I’m looking forward to Friday’s opening game and the season ahead with Lady Rocks.

“Our offseason preparations have gone well, we have been working hard on defence and how we can beat Polonia Phoenix.

“I think we will do really well this season and hopefully win a title.”

City of Edinburgh Kats – Emma Findlay told us:

“Last year was a mixed bag for us, we played really well in the league campaign – wrapping it up with a few games to spare but this year we will be looking to do better in the cup competitions, we went out in the first-round of the Scottish Cup and didn’t do ourselves justice in the Play-Off Final.

“We still have the core of our team that has been very successful of the past few years but we have also added a few strong players from last year’s junior team that won a clean sweep at their own age level. I think they alongside second-year senior Casey Morrison among others will be able contribute for us right away.

“Like every season, our aim is to try and win every game but we know the league could potentially be tighter than it was last year.”

Edinburgh University – Pollyanna Storie told us:

“I am looking forward to this upcoming season.

“We hope to match last year’s achievements and improve on some areas.

“With a great coach and a new, young team I have high hopes we can do well in the league again.”

Men

Falkirk Fury – Adam Hammerschmidt told us:

“Unfortunately, our preseason was shorter than anticipated and only included one game against Reign.

“We won the game but there are still certainly areas for improvement as we are not in peak condition just now.

“That being said, the team has played together for many seasons and we should be able to ‘click’ soon.

“Our expectations for the season are very high. In essence, we have the same team as two seasons ago and, assuming we stay healthy, will be competing for another treble.”

City of Edinburgh Kings – Garreth Lodge told us:      

“We’re really excited about this season. We’ve gone through a bit of change this summer losing Kyle Jimenez to Loughborough University and club legend Paddy Campbell retiring but we’ve added Konrad Kantorski, one of our former junior stars who has been tearing it up for the last two years at Myerscough Basketball Academy in England.

“We’ve got a young team this year, the average age is just 22 but we’re mixing that in with some solid experience in myself, Simon Flockhart, Ali Mackay and Calum Nicol. Players such as Neil Rowan, Ryan Armour and Rory Milne will be ones to watch this year.

“Obviously we had a great season last year winning the Scottish Cup and the Playoffs, sadly we finished 2nd in the league to St Mirren but we’ll be gunning to make it three titles out of three this year.”

Boroughmuir Blaze – Eoghann Dover told us:

“The offseason has been good; it’s been short but positive.

“We have a few new faces and people coming back from various trips away so the whole team feels reenergised and it’s been fun so far.

“We have a trip to Poland for a few games out there which will be great to help prep us for the season.

“This season it’s about us recommitting to our values which helped us be successful a few seasons back so I don’t know what our expectations are in terms of wins- losses. We just want to enjoy the season and be as competitive as we can and play the right way.”

St Mirren – Chris Barron told us:

“Coming off the back of winning the league our preseason has been productive and has prepared us well for the upcoming year.

“We are looking forward to another competitive season with the prospect of more silverware.

“We face Edinburgh Lions on opening night at home and look forward to welcoming them to the league.”

How do you follow the action?

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Image: C.Cox

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