Warrnambool Seahawks are more than capable of doing some serious damage in the Big V basketball division one finals despite their five-game losing streak, says coach Tim Gainey.
The Seahawks, currently eighth with a 7-11 record, have been cruelled by injury, with Josh Dean (hamstring), James Mitchell (knee), Oliver Bidmade (ankle) and Matt Rea (ankle) all sidelined.
And while Gainey said Dean and Rea could return next week, he was confident Warrnambool had the personnel ready to defeat the 12th-placed Whittlesea Pacers at home on Saturday and keep the door to finals ajar.
"We're still in with a chance," he said.
"And if we made finals in August I don't think any side would want to play us, because they know we're dangerous at full strength.
"When we've got everyone on the court I know we can beat any side.
"But in the meantime we need to limit our mental errors and better execute the game plan."
Gainey said the likes of Adam Lawson, Michael Barnes, Jack Patterson and Liam Osborne had taken the chance to play increased minutes as the side battled injury woes, while Dailin Toone would face the Pacers at Arc Stadium.
"The younger guys need to fill that void as best they can," he said.
"But it gives them a chance to speed up their development.
"You can't control guys getting injured or sick.
"So we've got to try to improve the guys out there playing."
Gainey also heaped praise on Xavier Johnson-Blount, who recently won division one's player of the month and has averaged four 40-plus point performances in his last six outings.
"It's great for the club to get that recognition, but 'X' has been playing like that all year," he said.
"He puts in all the work off the court - takes care of his body and always works on his game.
"So it's a credit to his regime of playing basketball, but we expect that from him every week."
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