BASKETBALL star Ricky Fetske is purring at the prospect of reaching his first ever final with Bradford Dragons.

Last Saturday, an 85-82 victory against the City of Birmingham Rockets saw the Dragons book their KitKing Trophy semi-final spot where they have been handed a home tie against the reigning champions, Hemel Storm, with the fixture date to be announced in due course.

Looking ahead to the fixture, Fetske admitted that he and his teammates will take any advantage they can get against the current holders of the competition.

He said: “We’re very pleased that we’ve been fortunate enough to get a home tie. We know the Hemel trip very well and it’s a long trip down there, so we are happy to take any advantage we can get in this semi-final; which being in a comfortable environment at home certainly does give us.

“Not only that, we are facing a great team in Hemel who are the defending champions in not just this competition, but in all the competitions they were able to play in last season. To go unbeaten, which they did, is extraordinary and we are expecting a formidable challenge. Essentially, they are the team to beat.”

It's not often you get to reach the semi-final of a competition and that’s certainly the case for Bradford Dragons, who are determined not to let the opportunity slip through their fingers.

Ferske said: “To go all the way would be amazing for me personally and the team. I’ve been playing basketball in England for 12 years now and I’ve managed to reach one semi-final in that time, while Bradford as a club has made two whilst in Division One. So, the fact that we are in a semi-final this year is massive because you don’t know whether this opportunity is going to come up again.

“Keeping in mind that these chances are so few and far between, we are going to take full advantage of a home tie, we will prepare well and be ready to go when that board goes up.”

Reflecting on the dramatic quarter final victory against Birmingham, Fetske admitted: “It was an intense game to play in, that’s for sure. Both sides lost their highest scorers so it was about which team could step up in their absence to get the victory in the final quarter. We just had the edge in quality and were able to get the job done, which we were all delighted about because we were behind for a large period of the game.

“It took a lot of grit and determination to get the win, but that’s a sign of a good team and a sign of an experienced team. We have guys who have played at multiple levels throughout their careers and that helps to breed confidence in one another because even when we were down, we just knew that if we stuck together, we could see the game through in the final quarter and that’s exactly what happened.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Dragons take on Team Newcastle University in the Kitking TrophyBradford Dragons take on Team Newcastle University in the Kitking Trophy (Image: Alex Daniel)

Away from Bradford’s promising cup run, it’s the small matter of the league action commencing today, as the Dragons get their campaign underway at home to Thames Valley Cavaliers.

Discussing his goals for the season both at personal and team level, Fetske said: “As I’ve already alluded to, we are determined to make the most of our cup run; we want to win the semi-final and make the final because that has evaded me thus far during my time in England. That would be a huge goal for me and the team.

“In the league, as a team, we want to compete strongly on a weekly basis, not just here and there. It’s key to get big wins on the road, just as it is key to protect your home court. Come the end of the season, we want to be able to say that we’ve given our all and that we’ve given ourselves every opportunity to fight for the playoffs, and even more, win the playoffs.

“To control our controllables is what we can do and will do, and from there we’ll fight till the very end. We are all extremely excited about the new season getting underway.”