RISING FORCE: The Ipswich Force men’s basketball squad backed by the Coffee Club. The Force men host one of two exciting state league finals tomorrow night.
RISING FORCE: The Ipswich Force men’s basketball squad backed by the Coffee Club. The Force men host one of two exciting state league finals tomorrow night. CONTRIBUTED

Ipswich QBL final talent showcase

WHEN Ipswich Force take to the court in a sudden death final tomorrow night, it will be one of the most formidable basketball sides the city has fielded.

This year's Force outfit has a mix of American firepower, Aussie composure and exciting home- grown talent.

That will all be on show at Ipswich stadium when Force face the Bundaberg Bulls in tomorrow night's Queensland Basketball League quarter-final.

Coach Andrew Summerville is excited about how his team recovered from a slow start to gel as a unit.

While his imports have done the job, Summerville is also impressed with the young brigade.

Queensland Schoolboys representative Kane Bishop typifies the talented and ambitious players rising through the Ipswich Force basketball program.

While learning as the youngest player in the current state league side, Bishop is already looking to further his career, possibly in an American college.

The year 12 Ipswich Grammar School student wants to continue study in a sports field like exercise science if that opportunity arises.

However, his recent focus was part of the improving Ipswich Force side that worked hard to secure a quarter-final at home.

Bishop, 17, has been a regular squad member in his second season with Force.

"It's been a great experience,'' the teenager said, working with seasoned players like James Legan, Martin Iti, Zarryon Fereti, Kyle Harvey and Rory Sutton.

"A lot of them have helped me a lot with different things.

"I'm a guard and a big so I've been getting hints from James and Zarryon as a guard and a lot of help from Rory and Martin as a big guy.

"It's been pretty good to develop my game.''

Bishop said his second season with Force had been most productive, gaining more short bursts of court time.

One of his most pleasing moments was receiving more than 10 minutes against Townsville and hitting a three-pointer.

"Last year I probably only played two games,'' he said.

"But this year I've actually got a chance, not just playing in a game but actually training against the guys, which has helped me a lot, even on their teams during train- ing and hearing what they've got to say.''

Bishop is not alone as an Ipswich player of the future.

He's been joined by his older brother Anthony, 21, as well as Brendan King and Reid Norrey.

The most senior of Force's future brigade is Jason Ralph, who is a regular starter having also been a former Ipswich Grammar School basketballer.

"I just feel like all the younger guys have helped the team out a lot this year,'' Bishop said.

"I was in the squad last year and we trained and stuff. But this year, there is a massive bigger calibre of players playing for the Force.''

Bishop can't sit on the bench in tomorrow night's final as he'll be in camp with the Queensland Schoolboys side preparing to play next week's national titles in Townsville.

It's his first time in this state side, having also represented Queensland at club nationals.

He hopes Force have reached the semi-finals when he returns.

Bishop is also preparing to represent the Queensland under-20 club side later this year, a team being mentored by Force assistant coach Mick Conlon.

Around his Force and Queensland duties, Bishop is also in the Ipswich Grammar School team which has a win and loss from its first two GPS games.


Quality line-ups

Ipswich Force basketball squads who have worked hard to secure home QBL quarter-finals at Ipswich stadium tomorrow night.

Men (photo above) - Zarryon Fereti (captain, number 20), Rory Sutton (vice-captain number 15), Martin Iti (number six), James Kuon (number 51), Kyle Harvey (number 22), James Legan (number five), Reid Norrey (number seven), Anthony Bishop (number three), Jason Ralph (number four), Brendan King (number 10), Daniel Sims (number two), Kane Bishop, Kian Fonua, Andrew Summerville (head coach), Mick Conlon (assistant coach), Peter King (assistant coach), James Spargo (assistant coach), Brooke Norgrove (team manager), Ryan Taylor (director of bsaketball operations).

Women (team photo in yesterday's QT): Marney George (co-captain), Courtney Taylor (co-captain), Sigourney Thompson, Chelsie Schweers, Jessica Taylor, Sheridan Wilson, Brandi Brown, Stacey Howard, Meg Essex, Peta Eddington, Emily Davis, Cambridge McCormack, Brad George (head coach), Terry Lindeberg (assistant coach), Dwight Hicks (assistant coach), Nicole Griffin (team manager).

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