MIKE New admitted he was not quite sure how Matt Schneck’s presence would alter the Cheshire Jets’ style of play from their last encounter at Christmas.
It may be a little bit of kidology, as few people are unaware of Schneck, who is averaging almost 19 points and just under 11 rebounds per game, but at the Northgate Arena on Sunday the Lions will need to be on form to overcome a fired-up Jets side.
The Lions won 86-75 when they last visited in December as the Jets struggled without the injured Schneck. Lions guard Stefan Gill is expecting a tougher game this time.
“They’ve had injury problems and guys playing 40 minutes, but those players are back now and they’re more like Cheshire,” he said.
“Bill Cole is getting plenty of doubles-doubles and Matt Schneck played really well when Colin O’Reilly was injured.
“O’Reilly’s back now and he’s another three point threat, so we need to guard them on the perimeter. But we also need to control them inside and get the rebounds so we can get out and run in transition.”
Lions’ coach New is wary of the Jets despite Demarius Bolds’ success against them last year.
“The Jets are a team that are thirsty to win at any cost,” he said.
“Adam Brown and Bill Cole are standout players and really found their rhythm in Schneck's injury absence.
“The first time that we played them they didn't have Schneck, I'm not sure how different they will play but he will impact their rebounding ability and their ability to score around the basket.”