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Power running out of season, not firepower

Brandon Robinson was named the NBL's Player of the Week for the second time recently. Robinson and the Power have been on a four-game win streak as of late.

By Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express

After picking up a key win against the Saint John Mill Rats last Wednesday, Oshawa Power Head Coach Robert Brickey commented he'd like to have another live body on the bench as the season closes.

"I think if we add another piece here...then we'll be a much better team," he says. "We can't do a lot during the week. If we practice hard and somebody turns an ankle we have an even shorter bench."  

Enter Jushay Rockett.

An original training camp invitee for Oshawa, Rockett had gone home to attend to some personal issues. When he tried to return to Canada he was barred, until recently.

Rockett returned Sunday night during the Power's fourth-straight victory, this time over the Moncton Miracles. The 101-100 win saw Rockett play 22 minutes, picking up nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks before - toughness being one of the things Rockett was praised for under former coach Mark Strickland - fouling out. 

Now the Oshawa Power are 14-19, right alongside the 14-17 Mill Rats for that last playoff spot. Now Brandon Robinson has been named the NBL's Player of the Week for the second time; after a stretch of games that has seen him become the league's leading scorer at 19.5 points per game. 

It's almost unfair. Oshawa's fate will be decided by Saint John's performance, and away from home as the Power have wrapped up their season at the General Motors Centre.

Unless, of course, there's a postseason.

Coach Brickey is now presiding over the best stretch of basketball Oshawa has played in its history. The team has won six of its last seven and has two more games against Saint John to try pop that team's playoff dreams.

"Overall, everybody's playing better. I think it's an overall team improvement," explains the coach. "I had to understand my personnel before I could help them understand their roles. I think they understand now, when we rebound and defend we're pretty good. When we try to go it along and focus on the offensive end we're not very good because we can't outscore people, we have to get stops."

What's more, the attitude is right says the coach.

"They're saying all the right things when I'm not around," he notes. "I think they've bought in to what we need to do."

Coach Brickey also praised Robinson for rounding out his game down the stretch, which has helped the team get rebounds from its perimeter players. 

Although it is reported every week, it is true that Oshawa's postseason hopes will require some luck, good for them and bad for Saint John. The Power will square off against the Mill Rats on Thursday at 7 p.m. and then again the following Thursday in New Brunswick. Both games can be watched online at Error! Hyperlink reference not valid..

Oshawa, now with Jushay Rockett as part of its arsenal, absolutely must win the pair to keep the playoff dream alive.

The Power managed to escape Moncton with that dream intact despite former Oshawa standout Akeem Wright notching 35 points in the contest. 

Against Saint John last Wednesday, Oshawa relied on its Player of the Week honouree and were paid back when Robinson uncorked a 37-point performance during the 120-119 nail biter.

Oshawa has won its last four games by an average of four points, including the two one-point margins over Moncton and Saint John. 

After the back-to-back games against the Mill Rats, Oshawa will finish its season on March 2 against Summerside.


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