Edinburgh Kool Kats are out to buck a trend when they defend the Scottish Women’s Basketball Cup in the finals at the Lagoon Centre, Paisley on Sunday (3.30pm).
Although they have won the trophy six times, Kats have never made a successful defence of it and coach Ben Gunn would dearly love to end that sequence against Glasgow Rocks.
The Lady Rocks, as they like to call themselves, have beaten Kats twice in three finals as well as winning their first Scottish League clash of 2013-14 at Portobello last year.
Gunn is not setting too much store on their opponents’ form in their more recent league encounter, which Kats won 74-68 at St Maurice’s High. Rocks, till then the unbeaten league leaders, were without Scottish cap Tony Carvill for that game and were short of game practice.
Gunn, who is also the Scottish women’s coach for the upcoming European Small Nations Championship in Austria in July, said: “I expect to see a fast, exciting game as there will be a number of talented players on show on both sides.”
Scotland point guard and Kats captain Emma Findlay, though not as experienced as the amazing Tracey Phillips, who played in the Kats’ first win back in 1994, is playing consistently well this season but refuses to blow her own trumpet. “Our main strength is our teamwork and experience,” she said.
That experience includes players who have represented Scotland many times, such as Leanne Paige, also having a splendid season and Lauren Walker, whose return from Holland was certainly a big part of why Kats won last year.
This year, that wow factor is being supplied by Rose Anderson, who played for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics and last year’s European Championships.
Hannah Walker, Scotland’s top rebounder, continues to improve and could give Kats a vital edge on the boards.
Coach Steven Dickson looks to have a tougher task when he steers the Kings cadets tomorrow (11am) in their third final in four years against unbeaten St Mirren, who are at home.
But with City of Edinburgh taking a busload of spectators, there should be enough support to inspire the under-16 side.
Unbeaten Boroughmuir Blaze are favourites to defend the Scottish Junior Cup against Perth Phoenix, who upset Tayside rivals Musketeers in the semis. That game tips off at 1.15pm on Sunday.
In tomorrow’s Scottish senior men’s final (3.30pm), St Mirren aim to upset unbeaten Scottish League leaders Falkirk Fury.