STAWELL - Stawell Wildcats are hitting the road again this weekend in search of their first win of the Country Basketball League season.
Stawell travels to Mount Gambier to take on the Lakers tomorrow night and after a tough couple of weeks prior to the Christmas break, coach Trevor Holmes is hoping the side can finally break through.
"One of my concerns was that the boys would drop off a bit after the losses this season," he said.
"They did a bit in the last couple of games (against Corio Bay and Colac) but hopefully the next three games, they can get back on court and are raring to go."
It has been a challenging season for Holmes and his new side, with the coach trying to turn everyday basketballers into a competitive CBL side.
Holmes said there have been minor successes and good successes along the way.
"The low point is we haven't got any wins on the board which is a bit disappointing but the high point is that we have unskilled players who are on a big learning curve," he said.
"Some have adapted, some haven't but we've come a long way since we started in September - it's that not long ago.
"When you're playing teams that have been in the CBL for up to 10 years, it's a big learning step but it sets ourselves up for the future and for the future of basketball in Stawell."
Holmes said the goal at the start of the CBL season was to get a competition team on the court and improve along the way.
He said Jarred O'Hayon has been a standout, while Rory Jones, Zach Salmi, James Hallett and Michael Hackwill are among the big improvers.
The coach also praised the effort of Matt Bourke, Ryan Logan and Aiden Lee, saying 'all signs are good for next year.'
During the off season, the Wildcats will be working on their fitness as well as learning new skills including proper and varied defensive skills.
Holmes said the support from Stawell and the community has been 'terrific' this season.
"The crowds have been fabulous. To see how many people come watch the boys play has been fantastic - one of the highlights of the season."
Sponsorship hasn't been a problem for the team either, with the club receiving enough funds to cover the season.
"The sponsorship covers the cost of the uniforms and the entry fee for the CBL and what we've got left over after that is a bonus for the club," he said.
"We've really got to take our hats off to the Stawell people."
Now the Stawell Wildcats are looking to the future of basketball in the town, with the introduction of under 14 and under 18 junior squads as well as a 'Wildcats Cubs' program for children aged between six and 10 years old.
Stawell Gold Mines have given the Wildcats a $1200 thanks to the Community Mine Grant Program, which is enough to supply the under 14 and under 18s with their uniforms.
Now the club is hoping to get a second court fully operational at the Stawell Leisure Complex so these teams can train.
"It's just one of these goals along the way. It'll take time," Holmes said.
Stawell Wildcats take on Mount Gambier Lakers tomorrow night at Bern Bruning Basketball Stadium, Mount Gambier. Tip off is at 7pm.