Rocky basketball reps head north for challenge
THE annual Rocky-Mackay Basketball Challenge has rolled around again and this year it's being hosted by Mackay.
Last year it was held in Rockhampton, but Mackay won by just one game.
Something the Rocky representative players from the boys and girls under 12, under 14, under 16, under 18 and under 23 teams want to reverse.
Among them is Alicia Smythe. This will be her third challenge against Mackay and she is hoping her under 16 girls' side can avenge last year's loss.
"It was pretty close last year," Smythe said.
"But in the end they just pushed harder towards the end of the game and we lost.
"But I think we'll do well this year. We have some strong players like Madeline Telford and Gabby Withoos."
Smythe won't say so herself, but she also is a very strong player. The guard/forward's height, speed and agility on the floor bolsters the Rocky rep team in both attack and defence.
Alicia, who has been playing basketball for six years, welcomes the opportunity to play high intensity representative basketball.
"We need the competition," Smythe said.
"Playing strong teams like Mackay really helps us improve as players and as a team.
"In games like these we also find out what we need to do to improve."
Tyreek Tatou said his boys under 16 team had put the work in since the last challenge and are hopeful of stealing back the two games they lost last year.
"Last year we lost both games," the shooting guard said.
"This year we have a better team and we have also worked harder in the off season."
Teammate Mylique Prior is a veteran of four challenges, but is looking forward to this one because it provides the chance to improve his positional play, having recently made the move to centre court.
"I haven't played centre very much," Prior said.
"I've only had one season there so I'm looking forward to get some more experience in the position."
Heading into his fifth Mackay challenge, does he rate his team's chances?
"We are looking for a win," he said.
"But we need to work as a team, not as individuals.
"If we do that, I am sure we can do well and hopefully reverse last year's result.
"That would be good."