DOWN TOWN: Talayah O’Meara takes the ball down court for the Rocky rep under-18 side in the Women’s Rockhampton Basketball League game on Saturday.
DOWN TOWN: Talayah O’Meara takes the ball down court for the Rocky rep under-18 side in the Women’s Rockhampton Basketball League game on Saturday. Chris Ison Rokcwbask

Rocky club basketball back in spotlight after QBL season

ROCKHAMPTON club basketball has a long and proud history.

Basketball was first played at club level in Rocky in 1951 and the women's competition began six years later.

But with the success of the Rockets and now the Cyclones in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL), club basketball has taken a back seat. But it comes back into its own when the QBL season concludes and the Rocky summer season begins.

Last night at Hegvold Stadium, Round 2 of the Division 1 Women's Rocky Basketball League was played and tonight it is the men's turn.

"The local club basketball competition has seen significant growth from last season, with a 20% increase in playing numbers," Rockhampton Basketball manager Matt Neason said.

"There is no doubt we are experiencing a resurgence in Rocky club basketball."

There are six teams in the women's club league: Frenchville Panthers, the Toledo Spurs, Ripper Team Bears, the Titans and an under-18 and under-16 representative side.

The men's club competition does not contain any rep sides, just the Frenchville Panthers and the Stingers plus the Toledo Spurs and the Ripper Team Bears.

And hitting the court first last night was the under-16 rep side up against the Frenchville Panthers, a side which is led by Cyclones star Sam Norwood and contains two of her Cyclones' teammates.

It was a thrilling contest. The youth and enthusiasm of the young rep side was evident as they jumped out to an early 11-2 lead.

But under Norwood's guidance it was evenly poised at half-time.

A poor third term let the under-16 team down but they improved in the third and came back very strongly in the final quarter.

In the last three minutes of the game they gave the more experienced Frenchville girls a real scare, getting the score back to just four points. There is every chance they might have won the match if they had more time.

But the clock defied them and the Panthers ran out winners 34-30.

For the Rocky rep side, Alicia Smyth, 14, played well, the guard and forward relishing the chance to come up against senior players like Norwood.

"Frenchville had three Cyclones' players so at times we struggled a bit, like in the third quarter," Smyth said.

"But to push them to a close game in the end, it was great.

"It's good to play against older, better players.

"It really improves our game and I think we will improve a lot this season."



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