Three-time reigning champions New Zealand are in for a shock if they expect the Wollongong Hawks to be fearing the worst on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre.
The Breakers (9-12) have beaten Wollongong by an average of 10.6 points in three meetings this season, but the Hawks (9-13) are convinced they are ready to turn the tables.
Wins over Adelaide, Townsville and Sydney, have put Wollongong in sixth spot with six games to go. They can climb to fifth by beating the titleholders, who have been plagued by inconsistency.
‘‘It’s about time we knocked them off,’’ guard Tyson Demos said.
‘‘It’s pretty amazing how quick your confidence can turn around from losing a couple of games to winning three in a row, and we’re playing with a crazy amount of confidence at the moment.
‘‘Every game from here is massive,’’ Demos said.
‘‘We pretty much have to win out the rest of the season or only drop one game, so every game is big.
‘‘We’ll just take it one by one and first up we have to knock off New Zealand, who we haven’t beaten the whole year. It’s going to be a pretty big challenge, but we’re going to have a lot of confidence going into this game.’’
Demos missed last month’s road clash with the Breakers because of a leg infection.
New Zealand prevailed in a high-scoring shootout 106-101.
‘‘We do match-up pretty well with them, and we’re playing better and with more confidence this time,’’ the 25-year-old said.
‘‘It feels like we’ve turned the corner in the last three games. Everyone’s taken a step up in their playing.
‘‘We’ve started to gel over the last three weeks and we feel like we’re going to finish off the season strong.
‘‘Hopefully we’ll keep stringing wins together and make the play-offs.’’
Demos will come off the bench and is looking forward to getting up close and personal with some of New Zealand’s three-point bombers.
‘‘There’s a few guys we have to worry about, but what’s been good for us over the last three games has been our team defence,’’ he said.
‘‘Our switching zone has been real good and everyone’s rebounding. It seems that whenever we get a win, we’ve rebounded well.
‘‘It plays a massive part.’’