Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

IPSWICH BRACING FOR RIVAL FORCE; QBL Battlesto Measurehow Menprogressing

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

IPSWICH BRACING FOR RIVAL FORCE; QBL Battlesto Measurehow Menprogressing

Article excerpt

Byline: David Lems david.lems@qt.com.au

HAVING two weeks free of school duties from tonight, Ipswich Force coach Chris Riches is planning to devote more time to his team's state league preparation.

The Ipswich State High School teacher will take his trademark thorough approach to another level when he incorporates more video and individual sessions.

"That's the benefit of working as a teacher. You get to have those extra hours on holiday periods,'' Riches said.

However, the meticulous Ipswich mentor has to guide his team through one of their toughest doubleheaders first before looking further ahead in this year's Queensland Basketball League.

The Force men tackle fourth-placed Gold Coast at Ipswich stadium tonight before meeting competition leaders Brisbane Capitals, also at home, tomorrow night.

Gold Coast is being coached by Mick Conlon, a former Ipswich Force official Riches worked with before his move to a new team.

"He's a very good coach,'' Riches said, still keeping in touch with Conlon.

And being a "big budget'' team, the Coast have recruited well this season.

The Capitals side includes high-scoring threat Jason Cadee, who Riches describes as the "heart and soul of every-thing they do''.

However, as he always does, Riches welcomes the chance to measure his team against powerhouse sides like the unbeaten Capitals (10 from 10) and Gold Coast (eight wins, two losses).

"It certainly will be tough,'' Riches said, preparing to return home after last week's away victory over South West Metro.

"Both teams (Capitals and Gold Coast) have been playing well this season.

"At the end of the day, this is where you've got to earn it (victory). That's what it is all about.''

The Force team (three wins, seven losses) have displayed patches of their best this season.

Being big on improvement, consistency and performance, Riches knows those three elements will need to come together this weekend. …

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