Elite players shoot for glory in long-awaited state events
AFTER months of uncertainty, Basketball Queensland officials are stepping up plans to stage a series of high quality championships.
They include a newly-formed Queensland State League (QSL) and junior titles at venues around the state.
Ipswich senior and junior teams are expected to be involved.
The QSL will feature a number of regular state league associations, some of which were preparing for this year's innovative NBL 1 North competition before the coronavirus shutdown.
The higher profile NBL1 North competitions for men and women have been delayed 12 months.
However, that means many of the state's leading basketballers can now play in the revamped QSL series scheduled to start on August 7, leading to grand finals in late October.
Association teams will line up in women's and men's Division 1 and Division 2 competitions. They include sides from Ipswich, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Logan and the Sunshine Coast.
Ipswich Basketball Association president and men's team head coach Chris Riches is excited about what is in store.
"The big thing about it is that with NBL1 not going ahead, I think you will find that there will be a lot of players that were to play in that will now step back to the QSL,'' Riches said.
"It should actually be quite a good competition.
"A lot of the local talent that is running around the area will play in that.''
Riches said coaches were being finalised having just received confirmation of the Basketball Queensland competition dates..
The other major boost for the sport is Basketball Queensland working on plans to host annual age group club and school championships throughout September and October.
Traditionally, state championships from under-12 to open level have been held at different times of the year, around Queensland.
Under the revised structure, the junior finals will be staged over two months at stadiums in Logan, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and Mackay.
The first championships planned are the CBSQ Open titles in Logan and Brisbane from September 17.
In another important development for fans, the Courier-Mail and News' regional titles are working with Basketball Queensland to ensure livestream coverage of as many of the junior competitions and some must-see senior matches.
As a basketball enthusiast as much as a coach and official, Riches welcomes what the state body is organising.
"Right now with so many sports either not going ahead or starting later, or deferring their competitions, anything that you can offer where people can consume sport at semi-professional level is going to be good thing,'' he said.