THE Stawell Wildcats have said farewell to the 2019-20 season after they failed to get up over Geelong at the weekend.
Geelong defeated Stawell 131-points to 77-points.
The final match against Geelong was a tough but left clues as to how the side will approach the 2020-21 season.
"The boys played well. Geelong are clearly the best side in the league," coach Alistair Beard said.
"They've only lost once. They all train with the (Geelong NBL1) Supercats, which you can see by their shooting but you need to be on your game. They are going to be tough to beat in the finals.
"It was nice to not get blown away and actually have the guys fight through to the end of the game. We had a couple of highlights now and then and it was nice to see them still trying.
"They could have said it's the last week of the season so who really cares, but they kept fighting all the way through, which was nice."
Fitness was one thing the side will work on in the break.
"I think the boys realise they need to get a lot fitter," Beard said.
"There's a difference between being after season football fitness and actually being fit. And practice. Yes, we train twice a week but you need to be out there by yourself and actually getting shots up. These guys (Geelong) probably play five times a week and train two or three times a week."
Beard listed some of the final match's highlights.
"We saw some nice (work) from Joel (Freeland) and Aidan (Marr) who got some of the other teammates involved," he said.
"We gave Luke (Matthews) his first start. Luke's come through at 17 years old and we gave him his first start. I've been working very closely and working on a few things, and he's listening and learning. Geelong opened up the match bang-bang-bang and to see that side of things was good for his development."
The match ended in a fantastic three-point shot by Joel Freeland, capping off his basketball career.
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"It was Joel's last game, which is a bit sad in one way," Beard said.
Coaches and other positions haven't been determined yet but Beard expects they will be locked in as soon as possible so the side can maximise recruiting time.
It was also a tough weekend for the Ararat Redbacks, who lost both games in their double header against Geelong and Terang, losing them any chance at the finals.
DJ Woods injured himself in the first quarter of the Saturday night game.
Round 14 will be played next weekend between Mt Gambier and Terang.
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