The Sunbury Jets will need to do it the hard way if they’re to claim the Big V men’s division 1 championship.
The Jets find themselves down 1-0 in the best of three grand final series against Warrandyte Venom.
The Jets, who had home court advantage for game one, struggled at both ends of the court at stages throughout the game. It proved costly, with the Venom winning 78-64.
Jets coach Ryan Addison said they weren’t where they needed to be for a lot of the game.
“We had a slow start and weren’t where we needed to be defensively,” he said.
“It’s something we spoke about all week, obviously there was a bit of confusion about the game plan and we weren’t quite where we needed to be.
“Luckily we have best of three, we have next week to redeem ourselves.”
After a slow start, the Jets were still in the game at half-time, trailing by eight points.
The group had been hoping to come out and really push the Venom but it was to be the opposite, the Jets losing the quarter 24-11.
The Jets scored just two points nearly seven minutes into the quarter, with the Venom making most of their shots in that period.
“We came into the half thinking we’ve been in this position before, just a matter of turning up our intensity,” Addison said.
“Obviously the start of third was not what it needed to be, we made it harder for ourselves.
“They are a good team and they scout well. They are hard to score against.
“We really have to rely on our defence to carry us through the game.
“We kept playing hard, to the guys credit, but just had a couple of lapses early which hurt us.”
The Jets saved their best for last with the defensive pressure turned up a level in the last quarter.
While they won that quarter 16-9, it was too little too late.
Addison said it was pleasing to see them finish on a high note.
“This group knows what they’re capable of, it’s just whether we do it for 30 or 40 minutes, or a quarter.
“We need to be better than we were and we have to be there mentally.”
Ish Sanders top scored with 22 points for the Jets, but didn’t have his usual impact.
Arthur Trousdell, Nathan Marshall and Nathan Baker also scored double figures.
The Jets will now travel to Warrandyte this weekend for game two, and if needed, game three.
Addison said they still had the faith that they could get it done.
The Jets won their semi-final series in three games, needing to win game three on the road.
“The group we have here is resilient and will keep working,” Addison said.
“I have no doubt, there’s no quit in these guys and we will respond and play a good game.
“Hopefully we can push it to Sunday for game three.”