THE Ararat Redbacks showed the large home crowd its development and commitment to each player on Saturday night with a win against the Bellarine Storm.
Before the round four clash, the Redbacks previously had succumbed to hands of the aggressive style of basketball, but on Saturday night it was the hosts turn to shake things up and put its stamp on the competition.
Coach Marcus Jenkins retained the focus for the team of "just making finals" and didn't want to buy into further possibilities since his chargers were now undefeated in the 2020-21 CBL season.
Jenkins said when all is said and done, he puts a few tweaks here and there, and it's the players themselves that now have the belief.
"It's part maturity from the players and we're starting to get into plans I've been working on since day one," he said.
"I never thought it would happen overnight, but with some patience, the proof is now in the pudding. We're slowly getting where we want to be. All the players have set a goal every week of what they want to do. My goal is to play as best we can."
Jenkins said the game on Saturday night showed the players capacity to play "good team basketball".
The Redbacks took a 31-20 lead in the first quarter and only improved in the second.
Their dominance was emphasised early on in the period when Ethan Fiegert sunk a three-pointer with only seconds left on the shot clock.
The game was all but finished at half-time, with the Redbacks up 71-41.
The Storm put in a far better showing in the second half, but the Redbacks were able to control the game regardless of what combination of players they had on the court.
An opportunistic three-pointer by Thomas Cousins in the final quarter ensured all of the Redbacks' 12-man squad had managed to score.
The scores would finish 120-85.
It's part maturity from the players and we're starting to get into plans I've been working on since day one.Marcus Jenkins, Ararat Redbacks coach
"It was a great scoreline out on the court," Jenkins said.
"Mixing young players and experienced players has definitely brought a different dynamic to the team. We work hard each week, and we work hard together. We have some younger players who have really stood up for us in previous seasons and are really now adding depth to our side.
"Some of those younger players can really enjoy their basketball and work on what they need to without the added pressure, which has been there the past few seasons. The game against Bellarine has really showcased just what Ararat can produce."
The Redbacks maintained a full-court press for most of the game; something Jenkins brought in for the season. He said it was a manoeuvre he "throws around".
"Last said we were a team that was undermanned and we had to work and control the play with the players we had on the court," he said.
"This season we've got a lot more depth and can rotate more through. We always talk football season and basketball but since there was no football last year it's actually helped our season immensely. The players are fit and not fatigued."
After four rounds the Redbacks are now the only teams in the South West Men's division to remain unbeaten.
This Saturday, February 13, the team will travel to Colac to face the Kookas, before returning home the following week to play the Terang Tornadoes.
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