Lismore’s Tim Anderson (with ball) looks for support in a Northern Junior League game against Tamworth. Teammate Duane Willemsen is in the background.
Lismore’s Tim Anderson (with ball) looks for support in a Northern Junior League game against Tamworth. Teammate Duane Willemsen is in the background.

Breakers are back with high hopes

AFTER an 18-month absence, senior representative basketball returns to Ballina with a vengeance tonight when the new-look Thursday Plantation Ballina Breakers men’s and women’s teams open their NSW State League season against the Tamworth Thunderbolts.

Both Ballina representative teams have had a productive pre-season, with the men in particular starting to gain momentum after claiming the inaugural Clarence River Pre-Season Prawn Bowl Championship at Yamba last weekend.

They also had a highly competitive hit-out against national second division team the Toowoomba Mountaineers a fortnight ago.

Head coach Marty Smith has a squad of 12 senior players and two junior development players vying for places in the final team.

While much has been made of Ballina’s ‘tall timber’, it could be the form of the team’s court generals that decides the game.

“There’s little doubt we have the ‘big guns’ that we need to dominate Tamworth inside the paint,” Smith said.

“But as a team the key for us early is to prove that offensively, particularly when we get good looks at the hoop from mid-range and beyond the three-point line.

“Tamworth have lost a couple of better known players but they will still be tough. There won’t be any easy games this season.”

Tip-off tonight is 6pm for the women and 7.30pm for the men at Southern Cross K-12 School, East Ballina.

The Lismore Storm women’s team will open its State League season on the road against Coffs Harbour on April 11.

Lismore has not entered a men’s team.

The most talented junior basketballers in Northern NSW hit the hardwood today with the first round of the 2010 Northern Junior League in Lismore.

Twenty-eight teams in age divisions from 10-17 years will compete at Lismore Basketball Stadium and Trinity Catholic College.

Teams from Armidale, Tamworth, Quirindi, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Coffs Harbour, Bellinger Valley, Grafton, Ballina and Lismore will field teams in the 2010 competition.

Northern Junior League inquiries to Michael Willemsen on 0412-363932.



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