We could have won the title with better luck, says Plymouth Marjon coach Matt Hatchell
MATT HATCHELL believes that with more luck Plymouth Marjon could have won the EBL Division Three South title this season.
Marjon are currently fourth in the 10-strong standings behind leaders Ipswich, who are two wins up on them.
Only the top four reach the play-offs. Marjon can clinch fourth spot if they beat London at Tor Bridge High tomorrow (5.30pm).
London defeated Marjon narrowly 63-60 in the capital last Sunday, keeping alive the race for the post-season.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"I think we'll be pretty pumped up to play London again," said rookie boss Hatchell, coming to the end of his first season in charge.
"Things didn't go our way on Sunday, but we feel once we play better we can and should beat them."
Marjon dominated Sunday's opening quarter 27-14 before being decisively outscored 49-33 in the final 30 minutes.
Hatchell said: "In the first five minutes that was the best basketball we've played all season. We were 24-4 up.
"London realised they couldn't stay with us playing man-to-man on defence and switched to a zone. We didn't adapt.
"London had a couple of big bruisers and made their shots down the stretch. We had our chances.
"On another day we'd have taken them."
Marjon complete their regular season schedule at the University of St Mark and St John against Hackney on Sunday (4pm).
Of his first year in charge, Hatchell said: "I have mixed emotions really, because I genuinely think we could've won the league.
"You need a bit of luck and we didn't have it all the time.
"Losing at (strugglers) Ealing was big for us (in late-January), because we've beaten everyone around us at the top.
"We had a few injuries early in the season; we didn't have our court available at Marjon (because of water damage from a leaky roof) and couldn't train for three weeks over Christmas.
"All those things add up.
"At the same time we've done well to compete and put ourselves in the position we're in after dramatic changes to the squad."
Centre Tomas Janusauskas led Marjon's offence in style early in the season, averaging 26.0 points per game before joining runaway Division One leaders Reading.
The 7ft Lithuanian has since joined German division five club Schwenningen.
"If we had kept Tomas, we could have gone unbeaten, but we always knew it was a stop-gap for Tomas until something better for him came along," said Hatchell.
"We had a wobble and looked at a few things, and asked some questions and changed our focus in practice."
Hatchell added: "We've got a really dedicated group of players.
"I'm hoping everyone's going to return next season, that's the first thing.
"We've not yet had those conversations, but it's always at the back of your mind.
"I'd like to think this season has been a positive experience for everyone. We've all enjoyed it.
"You can see players are motivated to perform. Hopefully, they'll be motivated enough to return next season."