Force girls finish with style to clinch bronze
IPSWICH'S state title-winning Force under-14 girls basketball team will split up after winning a bronze medal during the school holidays.
The talented young side finished third in the Shield (Division 2) playoffs at the week-long Australian club championships in Brisbane.
While disappointed his team didn't qualify for the Division 1 finals, coach Chris Clarkson was thrilled how his girls finished, beating Tamworth 58-29 in their final game last Saturday.
"We were building throughout the tournament,'' Clarkson said.
"We were starting to get back into something that looked like what we were doing at the state championships.
"The girls loved the experience. They came away absolutely stoked. They will all be better players for going to the national tournament.''
The Ipswich girls had one win in their pool games, beating Northern Territory Southern Suns 77-23. They fought hard in their 61-51 loss to West Adelaide.
However, Force faced southern teams being in peak form having come off recent championships.
The Ipswich girls had a big representative break after winning the state title over Easter.
Despite the difference in preparation levels, Clarkson was impressed how his side battled hard through the crossover games and into the Shield finals.
"The tournament was great,'' he said.
"The talent of some of the kids there was absolutely amazing. Across all the states, I thought they (the 12 and 13 year old girls) were great.''
Ipswich missed a spot in the Shield final after losing the semi-final 54-50 to Cairns. That came after wins over Southern Tasmania (67-30), Manly (45-44) and Southern Districts 57-51.
A number of Ipswich players will be in different teams for the new Basketball Queensland Junior Basketball Competition (BQJBC) starting on Saturday.
"That was their last game together so it was a bit nostalgic for them,'' Clarkson said.
Clarkson is going to work with Ipswich's under-12 boys team in the new season.