Basketball: Port Macquarie Dolphins to host Central Coast Crusaders

Progressive: Brad Barnett looks for support during the Dolphins loss to Manly earlier in the season. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Progressive: Brad Barnett looks for support during the Dolphins loss to Manly earlier in the season. Photo: Ivan Sajko

THE withdrawal of leading point scorer Lance Guild unsettled Port Macquarie Dolphins during their 66-65 loss to Coffs Harbour.

Guild was taken from the venue in an ambulance early into the third quarter as the Dolphins had begun to claw their way back into the contest.

Coach Mark Champion said Guild suffered chest tightness and had to be replaced.

“He turned an awful shade of grey so we had to get him to the hospital,” he said.

“He won’t play for us again until they find out what’s wrong with him. They have done different sorts of tests and still are unsure.”

Luckily for Champion, Josh Smith could return this week after returning from a stint in the United States playing college basketball.

“We’re just waiting on a clearance for him to take his place on Saturday,” the coach said.

“If he doesn’t play this weekend we’ll definitely need him next week because Beau will be away with cross-fit.”

Champion wasn’t too disappointed at the one-point loss to the Suns and said the Dolphins played without the luck required to win on the road.

“I can’t get too upset when we lose and we’re playing well because in the first half at Coffs our shots just weren’t dropping,” he said.

“Then they started to drop in the second half and we came home strong.”

I can’t get too upset when we lose because in the first half at Coffs our shots just weren’t dropping. - Dolphins coach Mark Champion

The Dolphins are back at home on Saturday night when they aim to avenge their early season loss to the Central Coast Crusaders.

Port Macquarie played arguably their worst match of the season in the round-three encounter where they suffered a 24-point hammering.

Champion believes his side are in much better form this time around.

“We played really badly against them when we played earlier in the season,” he said.

“But they are the sort of team we historically have problems with because they have a lot of big bodies who try to push you around.”

The success of the Dolphins is based on their ability to play their game.

“That’s the key for us – to play the way we play and not the way they play.”

Champion admitted the Dolphins chances of playing in the post-season were diminishing.

“It’s getting harder and harder for us to make the finals, but for me it isn’t necessarily about winning or losing – it’s about the process.,” he said.

Tip-off is at 6pm on Saturday.

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