Christmas comes early for second-placed Cyclones
BASKETBALL: Rockhampton Cyclones star import Jessica Thomas says there's just one other thing that comes close to the excitement of playoff time.
"The only way to compare it is like Christmas ... there's no other feeling like it,” she said.
"It's just a different feeling. You start the season off zero zero, nothing really matters from what happened before, everybody's got a clean slate.
"People play their tails off in playoffs and crazy things happen.”
The Cyclones are ready to "take care of business” on their home floor when they take on Ipswich Force in their QBL quarter final on Saturday.
The Cyclones finished in second place after winning 14 of 18 games this season, while the Ipswich Force were seventh after going 11 and seven.
The Rockhampton Rockets, who finished fifth, head north to take on the fourth-placed Cairns Marlins.
Thomas said Ipswich had versatility across their roster.
"Everybody scores, everybody attacks, everybody is very aggressive and makes defenders play on their back foot.
"It's going to be very important for us to lock in tactically and make sure we stay out of foul trouble, take care of business and play straight up defence and get stops.”
Cyclones coach Chris Muggeridge is excited to be taking on Ipswich, the team he rates the second best in the league.
"This is a cut-throat game. This is the game that I thought would be the grand final,” he said.
"They're danger and we need to make sure that we take care of business this weekend, which I know we will.
"We need to make sure that we do the little things right and stay true to how we play and don't let them dictate to us.
"We're the best defensive team in the league and if we make sure we don't give up open shots and contest, everything we'll be fine.”
Muggeridge said the four quarter finals would deliver some quality contests.
"If you have a look at the match-ups in every single game I don't think you can pick a clear winner - except for the Cyclones.
"We know we can beat any team in the league, especially at home, and that's what we plan on doing.”
The Cyclones game starts at 7pm at Adani Arena.