The Southland Sharks head coach Judd Flavell is well aware of the importance of momentum in basketball.
The southern basketball franchise have won five games on-the-trot to sit second on the National Basketball League ladder, while their last two victories against the Canterbury Rams and Bay Hawks have seen them get on a final quarter roll to secure tight home victories in front of their passionate fans at ILT Stadium Southland.
They were made to work hard for both wins, which have helped them move to 16 competition points, with eight wins and three losses from their 11 matches.
In Thursday night's NBL game, it was an Everard Bartlett inspired 15-0 run by the Hawks in the second quarter, which put the Sharks on the back foot.
The Hawke's Bay team overturned a three point deficit in the second quarter, to hit the lead 48-36, on their way to a 19-point lead at one stage in the third quarter, the Sharks came home with a wet sail to grab a narrow victory.
"The Hawks they got on a good roll and we had a few ill disciplined things that fed their momentum as well in the first half," Flavell said.
"But in that second half I thought we came out with a much better mindset and attitude."
"We were able to keep that foot down and eventually we were able to grind them down and some big plays and in a close game like that it was down to a few big plays down the end we were able to pull down some rebounds and that was the game right there."
The Sharks face a short turnaround before taking on the third-placed Rams in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon, as they look for their sixth win-in-a-row.
"Now we are on the road in Canterbury which will be a tough environment, a tough team, obviously this is good for us playing these tough games, it is exactly what we need if we are going to go through the season and improve and continue to build," he said.
"When we get to Canterbury we are expecting them to come out full steam and we look forward to the challenge and embrace it, we don't hide from it and we know it is going to be a challenge, but the guys will get their recovery protocols and get ready to take on Canterbury."
With only two full days between matches it is important for the players to recover properly.
According to Flavell, it is up to the individual players to do what they need to be fresh for Sunday's game, while the team also had a recovery session the morning after the Hawks match.
"Everybody's got their own sort of routine what they do some guys like to get into the ice colds and work the hot colds," Flavell said.
Sunday's match between the Sharks and the Rams starts at 3pm in Christchurch.
At a glance
What: Southland Sharks vs Canterbury Rams
Where: Cowles Stadium, Christchurch
When: Sunday 3pm
Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times