Ipswich boys mix talents with best sides in the country
DENIED the opportunity to compete at a state titles, the Ipswich Force boys travelled to the national club championships as the third-ranked Queensland team.
They returned from Albury in NSW as the second-best team in the state after convincingly defeating BQJBC champions Southern Districts Spartans 43-24.
That match was the playoff for ninth place in the Shield (Division 2) competition at the Australian under-14 Boys Club Championships.
Coach Calvin Hegvold was pleased the boys finished in style after a tough start at the six-day national tournament.
"Ruthless defence underlined the performance, with the Force restricting Spartans to only three points in the third quarter,'' Hegvold said.
"This match underlined the improvement the boys have shown in the past 13 months, having previously lost to Spartans by five and one in the BQJBC season.''
Drawn in a difficult pool, Ipswich lost its first three matches. They were to NSW champions Norths Bears (60-56), South Australian champions Central Districts Lions (51-33) and Victorian Country champions Warrnambool Seahawks (73-33).
In the crossover pool games, Ipswich were beaten by South Australian Woodville 57-48 and Southern Tasmania 59-34 before a strong final day performance.
"Our Ipswich boys learned a lot over the week,'' Hegvold said.
"I was very proud that they showed they could mix it with the best in the country despite a uniquely difficult preparation and losing one of our point guards to a broken arm two weeks out from the competition.
"They appreciated the opportunity, played some great basketball and proved that they are one of the best under-14 teams in Australia.
"Our whole city can be proud of their efforts.''