Watch live: Ipswich’s highly successful junior side
WHEN a professional coach speaks so confidently about their players, there's every chance the team has the special ingredients needed to be successful.
That's exactly the case for Ipswich Force head coach Charlene Notoa.
She is overseeing an outstanding young girls side at the Queensland under-14 championships starting in Mackay on Friday.
"I'm so proud of the girls,'' Notoa said, excited to be preparing for her team's latest Division 1 basketball challenge.
"They listen, they soak everything in and they work so hard.
"I could not have asked for a better group of girls this season.''
The Force under-14 team is unbeaten this year, having won the recent BQJBC series after clinching gold at last year's state titles.
They advanced to last year's national championships before resuming their impressive run early this year.
The Ipswich junior team's latest matches are being livestreamed on the QT website starting on Friday and continuing over the weekend.
The Ipswich Force under-14 girls squad is: #8 Isabella Kichen, #12 Alexis Beasley, #11 Sharni Reisinger, #9 Hayley Rogers, #14 Rhyanna Ape, #5 Isabella Mirkovic, #4 Tereise Reupena, #7 Prasayus Notoa (captain), #15 Harmony Seumanutafa, #10 Artiria Ormsby.
Coach: Charlene Notoa. Assistant coach: Max Seumanutafa. Team managers: Clesia Ape and Seta Reupena.
After Ipswich's under-16 boys and girls teams won Division 2 finals last week, Notoa is in Mackay and eager to see what her talented team can achieve in Division 1 at the latest Queensland championships.
"We've been successful when being undefeated all season,'' Notoa said.
She praised her players for the extra work they did before, during and since the COVID-19 sporting shutdown.
The Force girls won all their early BQJBC games before continuing their own training when matches were halted.
In recent weeks, the Force girls maintained their tremendous lead-up to the state titles by overpowering Gold Coast in the BQJBC final.
"Every single season all the girls work very hard but these girls had COVID to tackle and go through,'' Notoa said. "And we had road blocks there where they pushed through.
"We've got a group of girls that are all just willing to put in the hard work.''
That included doing additional sessions on their own during COVID or when back together as a team.
"They also did boxing training, fitness acceleration training and they had personal training . . . to make sure they are sharp on the court,'' she said.
"The results speak for itself really.''
Preparing for the latest state tournament, Notoa also thanked the players' families for their valuable support during a restricted season.
"These girls are just willing to play and that is a testament to their parents as well,'' the coach said.
The close-knit team's opening game is against Logan at 8am on Friday before a livestreamed 2pm match against the South West Metro Pirates.
Ipswich's games on Saturday in Mackay will also be livestreamed at qt.com.au
Day 1 (Friday) livestream schedule
8am: Girls Division 2 - Mackay Comettes v Brisbane Capitals Bronze
9.30am: Division 1 - Southern Districts Spartans v Sunshine Coast Phoenix
11am: Division 2 - Mackay Stars v Northside Wizards 1
12.30pm: Division 1 - Mackay Meteorettes v Logan Thunder
2pm: Division 1 - Ipswich Force v SWM Pirates Purple
3.30pm: Division 2 - Emerald Chargers v Mackay Stars
5pm: Division 1 - Brisbane Capitals Gold v Mackay Meteorettes
Day 2 (Saturday) livestream schedule
8am: Girls Division 1 - SD Spartans v Townsville Flames
9.30am: Girls Division 2 - SD Titans v Mackay Stars
11am: Girls Division 1 - Brisbane Capitals Gold v Ipswich Force
12.30pm: Girls Division 1 - Mackay Meteorettes v SWM Pirates Purple
2pm: Girls Division 2 - TBA
3.30pm: Girls Division 1 - Logan Thunder v Brisbane Capitals Gold
5pm: Girls Division 1 - Ipswich Force v Mackay Meteorettes