Basketball: Swanson eager to maintain Rocks' progress over challenging weekend

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The Independent Online

Steve Swanson has already led Scottish Rocks to a final in his rookie season as a head coach, but the Glasgow-based franchise can legitimately be eyeing more success as the British Basketball League season heads for the new year.

The Rocks meet Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Cup final at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena on Sunday 11 January, and are one of three clubs with only two defeats in the Championship, along with Brighton and Sheffield. They are also heading for the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy. A run of seven straight wins from late October earned Swanson the November coach of the month award - a sequence which crashed to a halt in a 92-53 loss against Brighton in early December.

That loss will be on Swanson's mind tomorrow when he returns to Brighton for the first time since quitting as Nick Nurse's assistant in the summer. But first, Swanson is focusing on tonight's trip to Crystal Palace to face the under-achieving London Towers. Brighton and the Rocks have four games in hand on Sheffield and need to maintain the pressure. But Swanson describes away games at the Towers and the Bears on successive nights as "the biggest challenge of the season".

Also tonight, the Bears need to avoid losing by more than 12 points at Thames Valley to reach the BBL Trophy semi-finals.