Trio bound for nationals
AN EXCITING part of local sport is producing elite athletes through an area's development program - and it's something the Rockhampton Basketball Association has been successful with.
Experienced administrator and "unofficial" skills coach Frank Haack is thrilled with the latest success achieved by the association, with three girls named for the under-20 national trials at Canberra in February.
The three, Chloe Morrow, Mikaela King and Grace McDougall, will suit up for Queensland at Canberra and Haack sees that as a great achievement.
"It is fantastic having three girls crack that team," he said.
"They have all come through our junior ranks from grassroots basketball."
While Rockhampton can stake claim to producing good players over the years, to get three in the one group is something new and exciting for the development of the sport in the area.
All three are with the Hog's Breath Cafe Cyclones squad and made useful contributions during the 2011 QWBL season.
At just 17 years of age, McDougall has an exciting future in the sport and is very composed on court, even when she is opposing players of far greater experience.
This will be the first year in the under-20 age group for McDougall and Morrow, who have made it into other representative teams in the past.
However, Haack points out it is a greater achievement to gain selection at under-20s, as in the younger age groups the state is split into two squads, north and south.
Haack has spent a lot of time working with McDougall in particular.
"She is a great example of someone who is prepared to pitch in and do the work," he said. "I've been coaching her for four years, two or three times a week."
The coach is impressed at the way McDougall has developed her game, describing her as an outside player rather than coming inside and dominating.
King has also been pushing her claims hard, especially over the past three months.
"She is working really well," Haack said.
Unlike the diminutive McDougall, King is a strong player capable of coming inside and winning rebounds at either end of the court.
Morrow is also doing well and Haack said she had been given special attention by state coaching staff.
"There are big expectations on her because of her body type," he said.
While Haack doesn't necessarily agree with such classifications, he sees the 18-year-old as a player of genuine talent.
Selection for the under-20 tournament at Canberra is more than just playing a few matches.
Prior to the tournament the Queensland team goes into camp at Brisbane, starting on February 14, and then stays at the Australian Institute of Sport during the competition.
Each state enters just one team for the event, with Victoria and South Australia expected to be the toughest opposition.