Talented teenager can smile through QBL disappointment
FROM a disappointed Ipswich Force dressing room, one player of the future emerged beaming with excitement.
First year state league player Catherine MacGregor savoured every moment of representing her city in a thrilling, high intensity semi-final.
Although Ipswich lost 89-84 to Southern Districts Spartans, MacGregor was grateful for the support head coach Brad George gave her this season, including time in Saturday night's Queensland Basketball League duel with the defending champions.
"It was a really good experience,'' said the 16-year-old West Moreton Anglican College student. "The opportunity Brad gave me was huge.
"The fact that we got this far with the young team that we had, we did really well.''
MacGregor only missed two games in her debut senior season, including Ipswich's previous week quarter-final win over Mackay.
But she was stoked to be back for the seesawing semi-final, even if it meant a long flight home from Darwin.
She only arrived in Ipswich hours before the game having spent the past week helping the Queensland Schoolgirls team finish third at the national championships.
"We did really well up there too,'' she said, averaging 12 points a game.
"I flew in at five o'clock this morning. I had about three hours sleep (before preparing for the QBL semi-final).''
Contesting the nationals was also her first year representing Queensland Schoolgirls, adding to what she achieved in Ipswich Basketball's productive development program.
"Making the semi-finals was a huge achievement,'' she said, playing against older students in Darwin. "I'm really proud.''
However, anyone who has seen shooting guard MacGregor play at school or club level would have noticed her abundance of promise.
She's quick on her feet and loves slotting three-pointers at key stages of a match.
After coming on late in the first quarter, she nailed one of her trademark three-pointers early in the second term to consolidate Ipswich's 29-26 advantage.
As the semi-final tightened up, MacGregor shared in what it was like to play a quality opponent like the sharp-shooting Spartans. "It was very tough. I wish I could have done a bit more,'' she said.
MacGregor has been in the Ipswich program for more than six years, being part of medal-winning Force junior sides at state titles.
"I've played at the stadium for about 10 years now,'' the year 11 student said.
"It's the first year with the girls but it's been a real opportunity and I've taken a lot of things away.''
She's "100 percent'' keen to continue with the Force women next season after focusing on more under-18 representative club commitments starting in October.
Experienced Ipswich mentor Terry Lindeberg is coaching that side after MacGregor also enjoyed earlier success with another loyal coach Calvin Hegvold.