Cheshire Phoenix coach Ben Thomas believes his team is in a good place going into the most important stage of their season so far.
The Nix returned to winning ways on Friday in the BBL Championship when they stormed to a 101-83 success at Leeds Force.
But their hopes of following up that victory with another were dashed on Sunday when they went down 87-76 at home to table-topping Newcastle Eagles.
It was a case of sweet revenge for Newcastle after they were beaten by Cheshire in the BBL Cup quarter-finals the previous weekend.
But the Nix could take heart from the fact that they led the Eagles, who have won every other game they have played so far this season, until the fourth quarter.
Cheshire now have a weekend off before they return to action with back-to-back BBL Championship clashes against Leeds and their huge two-legged BBL Cup semi-final against London Lions.
And Thomas said: “I was happy with the weekend. We got the win that we needed on Friday and then on Sunday we performed well for a large period of the game.
“Unfortunately we didn’t perform well for the whole game.
“But the guys are playing well and, while I’m disappointed with the loss, I am happy with the way they performed.
“And we’ve got to take pride from that. We’ve beaten the best team in the league [Newcastle] once already this season and we could have done it again.
“That should give us confidence going into a very, very important period. We’ve just got to carry on the way we’re playing.
“There is still room for improvement, of course, but I feel we are improving and we are moving in the right direction.
“And it is a big period for us. Leicester [Riders] are out of the cup, Newcastle are out of the cup, and now we’ve got a very good London team to get past. But we’ve beaten two very good teams already to get to this stage, and we’ve given ourselves a chance.
“If we can just do what we’ve doing, and make the improvements we need here and there, we should be ready come December, when it’s really going to matter.”
The Nix ripped up their roster in the summer and the strength in depth that was assembled by the club is beginning to show.
And Thomas said: “The bench contributed 35 points against Leeds on Friday and, again, on Sunday, we had good contributions off the bench.”
Malcolm Riley has been named in the BBL All-Star Five after scoring 19 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win over Leeds on Friday.