A big weekend for basketball

By STEVE SPINKS

sport@northernstar.com.au

THE side that helped kickstart Brad Davidson's professional basketball career will be playing in Lismore tonight.

Davidson, of Mullumbimby, made his debut for the Australian Boomers this year after playing for a decade in the National Basketball League.

But the point guard started on his road to professionalism with the Grafton Vikings NSW State League team.

The Vikings will be playing the Lismore Storm Open representative team in an exhibition match at the Lismore Basketball Stadium from 5pm.

The State League is the highest-rated amateur competition in NSW before players start becoming semi-professional in the ABA (Australian Basketball Association) or go on to the NBL.

Grafton are in pre-season training for the League, which sees them travelling as far south as Albury.

The Storm used to be part of the State League but a combination of playing strength, money and time commitments saw the team pull out of the League a few years ago.

According to Lismore basketball officials, the Vikings are fielding a young and very enthusiastic team.

But they won't get it all their own way.

The Storm boast a mix of youth and experience, with much placed on the shoulders of recently graduated Under-18 players.

Lismore are coached by Michael Willemsen, who is expecting a hard-fought game.

Entry is free and full canteen facilities will be available.

On Sunday the weekend of basketball will continue with a host of junior match-ups, with Lismore taking on the Phantoms from Bellingen.

Games will be played in Under-11, Under-13 and Under-15 boys and Under-13 girls and will provide the locals with a good hit-out before the coming Coffs Classic.

Tip-off will be at 10pm. For further information contact Steve on 6621 6657 or 0417 462 245.



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