Illawarra Hawks coach Rob Beveridge is confident his team is well placed to push for Championship glory next season, despite copping a 3-0 grand final sweep at the hands of the Perth Wildcats.
The Hawks' title hopes were dashed on Sunday when Bryce Cotton sunk 45 points to lead the Perth Wildcats to a 95-86 win at Perth Arena.
A 3-0 clean sweep doesn't make pretty reading for the Hawks, but the series was much closer than what that scoreline suggests.
The Hawks coughed up sizeable leads in the opening two games, and closed to within three points early in the final quarter of Sunday's match before being blown away.
Even making it to the grand final was a huge achievement for the Hawks, who were tipped to struggle this season after losing star shooters Kevin Lisch and Kirk Penney.
Beveridge was proud of his team's efforts this season, and he's confident they'll be in the thick of the title race next year as well.
"We're going to learn from it, and we're going to continue to build," Beveridge said.
"We've got the majority of our players on contract.
"I know we're going in the right direction."
Beveridge said his team deserved league-wide respect for their giant-killing run this season.
"Everybody wrote us off. It's amazing what this club has done," Beveridge siad.
"To lose Lisch and Penney was a pretty big hit, and we were tipped to come second last.
"Nobody rates us, nobody respects us, and that fuels the fire.
"You don't demand respect, you earn it. I think we've done that."