Ben Thomas insists that his Cheshire Phoenix side have not given up hope on their BBL play-off aims but admits that they face a tall order.
The Nix, who won the BBL Cup at Arena Birmingham in January, were beaten 87-84 at home to Surrey Scorchers at Cheshire Oaks Arena on Sunday night to leave themselves with a mountain to climb in order to reach the post season competition.
Cheshire sit ninth on 24 points from 28 games, six points behind Worcester Wolves and Bristol Flyers, both tied on 30, and have five games remaining.
And while not a mathematical impossibility for head coach Thomas and his side, the odds are stacked against them.
But a home game against Bristol Flyers tomorrow night (7.30pm tip-off), a game screened live on the BBC Sport website, now represents a must-win game.
“We were really disappointed with how things went against Surrey as we forced them into a lot of turnovers and took 20 more shots than them, but we were missing a lot and that ended up hurting us in the end,” said Thomas.
“The defeat means our play-off challenge is getting harder and harder each passing week but it isn’t something that we have given up on and we are totally committed to making sure we do all we possibly can to give ourselves the best chance we can.
“A couple of weeks ago had we won a couple of close games we ended up losing then things would have still been in our hands at this point. But we couldn’t do that and it’s looking a big task for us to be able to reach the play-offs, but it remains our goal and we will be giving our all.”
Regardless of whether Cheshire reach the post season or not this campaign has been a successful one for the Nix.
The stunning BBL Cup win brought the club its first silverware for 13 years and the club, who have suffered from off-court tumult and a high turnover of players in previous seasons, have managed to keep a settled group together.
And that is one of Thomas’s biggest successes.
“Over the seasons where I have been a fan there has been controversy that has gone on off the court and it is something that I wanted to address this season,” said Thomas.
“We have achieved some of our goals this season and we are growing as a club on and off the court and we are seeing our attendances grow week on week.
“The play-offs was one of those aims and still is and we won’t be giving up on that at all until it becomes impossible.”