Brandon and Cadle seek consistency

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The Independent Online
Basketball

The coaches, Jim Brandon and Kevin Cadle, admit to being baffled by their teams' performances this season, but hope their players can focus on Wembley when they line up tonight in the second legs of the Budweiser League play-off quarter finals.

Brandon's Sheffield Sharks and Cadle's London Towers won the opening away games in the best of three series at the weekend. The Sharks won 77-72 in front of over 11,000 Giants fans at Manchester's Nynex Arena, while the Towers beat the Eagles 91-79 in Newcastle.

Victories at home tonight will give the Sharks and the Towers decisive 2-0 series victories and a place in the finals at Wembley Arena on the first weekend in May - but neither coach is taking success for granted.

Brandon is especially wary. Last season Manchester lost their opening quarter-final game at home to the Leopards, then won both the returns in London to qualify for Wembley.

Sheffield, title contenders until the final weekend of the regular season, lost two of their last four games to finish only third. Brandon said: "If I knew what it was that makes my players tick, I might be ahead of the game. Recently, though, we've become more tightly knit... we can win the whole thing."

The Leopards, the League champions, have already qualified by beating Leicester City Riders twice at the weekend. Birmingham Bullets, last season's play-off winners, must win both home games against Chester Jets tomorrow and on Friday to go through.

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