Ipswich Force basketballer Josh Spiers has been one of the
Ipswich Force basketballer Josh Spiers has been one of the "great characters'' in this year's state league side. Megan Low

Why losing Ipswich coach positive about future

BASKETBALL: Through the disappointment of just missing this year's state league playoffs, Ipswich Force head coach Chris Riches maintained his trademark positive outlook.

He was heartened to hear all the players keen to return next season and a number of Ipswich's promising youngsters excited about the under-21 competition starting soon.

The Force men bowed out of the top eight race after losing 107-100 to the Gold Coast Rollers on Friday night.

"You're always disappointed when you don't move onto the next level, especially once we started to find a real bit of form,'' Riches said. "Developing that belief in what we're doing.''

However, Riches was upbeat knowing how far his new-look team had progressed this year.

"The boys are already talking about next season,'' Riches said, having done a terrific job in his first year as head coach.

"Being a young group, that's the resilience that you get.

"Just because you've got the youth on your side, you are able to take those disappointments in stride and move onto the next thing even more hungry.

"Everyone that we've spoken to wants to come back so they are all super focused on basically sticking together, especially after going through the hardship that we went through this year.

"We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that basketball court.''

Ipswich Force head coach Chris Riches
Ipswich Force head coach Chris Riches Franca Tigani

Riches said Force had opportunities to win their final game of the regular season.

But the lasting legacy from this season's rebuild was the work ethic and close bond the players formed.

"It's just a situation where everyone is now focused on getting better over the off-season and moving forward next year,'' Riches said.

"There's a really tightknit group there and they kind of feel that through that, they are better for that on the court because they had a better relationship with one another.''

He said new signings like Joe Owen and Josh Spiers were "great character guys as well as being good basketballers''.

Signed as head coach for three years, Riches is also keen to continue building a pipeline to the state league.

He'll work with Force's under-21 players in the next South East Queensland competition.

QBL men: Gold Coast Rollers 107 def Ipswich Force 100 (Kyle Harvey 32, Josh Spiers 23) at the Gold Coast.



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