Uni plans to win grand final and a QBL licence
THE coach of the university-based Sunshine Coast Rip, Nathan Arousi, says a Southern Basketball League grand final win over Noosa this Saturday would significantly boost his club's hope of entering the top-tier QBL in 2016.
The Rip has enjoyed a dream debut season in SBL division two, joining the senior ranks this year.
Arousi said winning the championship in their maiden season would help pave the way for a Queensland Basketball League licence.
"Ultimately, success at the SBL level will give you the utmost chance of getting granted to the QBL," he said.
"They have told us that if we perform well in the SBL for one or two years then we can officially request entry to the QBL.
"The goal at the beginning of the season was to build a team and have some success before entering the QBL in our third or fourth year."
The Suncoast Clippers play in the QBL and Arousi believes it is feasible to have two teams from the Coast in the top tier.
"The QBL can cater for two sides on the Coast," he said. "In saying that, if you want the strongest Sunshine Coast team then there should be only one.
"Either way it is pleasing to see USC and Noosa playing off in the grand final."
Sunshine Coast beat Noosa in both of their regular season clashes this year.
However, Arousi said the Cyclones were undermanned in those matches and he expected a different outfit on Saturday.
"They have a good mix of junior and senior heads, which is rare in this competition," he said.
"They beat Maroochydore, who finished first on the table and won three straight just to get to the finals. They are going to be a tough opponent."
Cyclones player-coach Aaron Negus said he expected his team to continue its late-season charge to take the championship.
"Beating Maroochydore gave us a lot of confidence and we absolutely believe we can win this one," he said.
"We have improved a lot and probably should have been playing this type of basketball at the start of the season.
"Better late then never, I suppose."
GAME DAYSUNSHINE COAST v NOOSA
University of the Sunshine Coast stadium, Saturday, 6.30pm