Warrnambool Seahawks point guard Dailin Toone says intensity on the court will be one of the deciding factors in Sunday's Country Basketball League semi-final against Portland Coasters.
Toone - who will co-captain the Seahawks on Sunday alongside Adam Lawson with captain Daniel Kingsley out with injury - said his group was up for the challenge.
"Compared to last year when we kind of rolled into the semis with not a lot of confidence, it's probably been the best training we've had all year just this week," he said.
"We were full of energy and everyone's feeling really good about Sunday's final."
Toone described the Coasters as a "terrific side" who were well-coached, putting the onus on the Seahawks to match them in intensity every step of the way.
"Their structure is awesome and the reason they've beaten us previously is that they're just such a tough team and play with pure energy," he said.
"It is tough to match up with them, but if we can match them in intensity it'll go a long way.
"Ultimately the team that works the hardest will come away with the win."
The Seahawks had a strong win against the Coasters only a month ago in round five, winning 78-65 on the very court they travel to on Sunday.
Toone said the win back in January instilled great levels of confidence.
"It shows what we're capable of, they didn't have crowds because of COVID, but the way we were able to create energy was great," he said.
"Our record on their court in the past has been really good, and I believe if we stick to our game, and we don't get stuck playing their game, we can get the right result.
"We want to really push them to the edge."
On a personal level this season, Toone has relished the leadership opportunities given to him and hopes to carry that form into the finals.
"I think I started the season really well, and I've had a lot of help in keeping my confidence up," he said.
"It's been tough stepping up as a junior into a starting point guard role this year, but I feel like I've held it together well.
"The last weeks have been a bit tough after the Horsham loss, but I think heading into finals the experience I've had over the last few years will help me keep my cool on the court. That's my role as point guard, to just get through our stuff and not let them play their game."
The massive semi-final clash starts at 2pm at Portland Basketball Stadium, with the winner to advance to the grand final on Saturday February 12.
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