BIG Storage Cheshire Jets get the chance to put their flagging BBL Championship campaign back on the rails this Sunday.
Paul Smith’s men have been distracted in recent weeks by the group stages of the BBL Trophy, which saw them pick up two wins over Leicester Riders but miss out on a semi-final slot to Everton Tigers.
With their Trophy dreams over for another season, Jets return to league action this Sunday with a Northgate Arena showdown against Plymouth Raiders (5.30pm). A win for the Jets would be their first in the league since mid-November.
Head coach Smith said: “Plymouth are an excellent team.
“They play some of the best defence in the league and are very well coached. Dru Lasker is their key player, lightening quick and an excellent finisher.”
Jets split last weekend’s pair of Trophy games, losing a thriller at Everton on Friday before comfortably beating Leicester on Sunday.
The Jets’ playcaller was pleased with his team's display.
“We competed well for three quarters but that is never going to be good enough against opposition of that calibre,” said Smith. “We worked hard though, despite being two guys down, we were in the game right to the end.
“Chez [Marks] is now back to full fitness and played very well. Special mention to Steve Gayle, though, who has had to play the full 40 minutes in recent games as we wait for Alto Virgil to recover from his injury.
“The Raiders game was a ‘dead rubber’ but we are really focused on trying to find some consistent form to take back into the championship.”
Raiders come into Sunday’s game on the back of a one-point win at Sheffield Sharks, and coach Gary Stronach thinks there is a lot of similarities between the Jets and Sharks.
“Both Jets and Sharks are going to be second half of the season teams,” said Stronach. “Jets have a very deep roster with a lot of BBL all-stars. They have really picked since the turn of the new year and we are expecting a very tough game.”
Jets will be looking to avenge their 84-79 home loss to Plymouth when the sides meet at the Northgate in December.
Chez Marks’ weekend heroics for Jets earned him a place in the BBL team of the week.