THE final round of the Country League Basketball season kicks off Saturday and Ararat Redback's coach Marcus Jenkins said the double header will determine the side's finals chances.
The team currently holds ninth position on the ladder and lost its last game against the Portland Coasters by a mere 10-point margin.
"We've got a double header, so we play Saturday night at home against Geelong, which is a top team, so that will be a good encounter for us and make it a tough challenges," he said.
"We'll be up for it though. I'm happy with how we're going with it all at the moment.
"Then we play Terang in the last game of the year, so it will be a bit of a hit and miss game this weekend."
Following the match will be a waiting period while results are worked out and finals teams determined.
"We've got to wait for results to come in to see if we made finals," Jenkins said.
"Last year when we lost to Portland all the results had to go through to see if we'd made the finals.
"It's a nervous wait for sure, just due to the fact that we can't know if we do make the finals who we'll be going against.
"It makes it tough to have any game preparation plans for it."
However, Jenkins said it will be a big challenge for the side to make the finals.
"You never know," he said.
"We could get a couple of results that go our way and it will slide us into that fourth position."
It's Jenkins' second year coaching the team and he said the two seasons were like "chalk and cheese" when comparing them to each other.
"The teams are a totally different outfit and I think this year we're a bit better team orientated," he said.
"Where last year we had stars - obviously Zac Dunmore is a huge star and it's a bit of a loss for us - but we've come together really well this year.
"It's been a good season not just in the win loss ratio but it's been good for team building and stepping forward to next year.
"We'll take a fair bit away (from this season). Game preparation stuff and the mental side of it - there are games were we just fade, and it's all mental.
"We're good enough to compete with anyone on any night but there is just a lackluster three or four minutes (in a game) and that three or four minutes can cost us a game."
There were plenty of highlights to celebrate too.
"The whole team has just stepped up but Josh Fiegert and DJ Woods have stepped up really well and they are two goers at the moment - but everyone has played really well this year," Jenkins said.
Stawell Wildcats coach Alistair Beard was unavailable for comment by the time we went to print.
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