HORSHAM is gearing up for a massive weekend of basketball, with four South East Australian Basketball League teams descending on the town for a series of pre-season matches.
The Ballarat Miners, Nunawading Spectres, Bendigo Braves and Mount Gambier Pioneers will play a series of six matches at the Horsham Basketball Stadium on Saturday and Sunday in the lead-up to the SEABL season.
The matches will be played in three sessions, with two matches on Saturday morning and afternoon, two Saturday night and two Sunday morning and afternoon.
In addition members of the Spectres will host junior basketball skills clinics at Wimmera schools on Friday and the Miners have arranged two clinics on Saturday afternoon for domestic and squad players.
Spectres captain and reigning SEABL most valuable player Shane McDonald is originally from Horsham, as is Miners captain Shaun Bruce.
Bruce will be unavailable for the tournament due to National Basketball League commitments with the Cairns Taipans.
McDonald, who helped organise the series, said it would be a big boost for basketball in the region following Horsham Hornets’ men and women both qualifying for Country Basketball League grand finals.
“If we can create a little bit of interest and a little bit of hype around basketball in Horsham coming straight off the CBL grand final weekend that would be good,” he said.
“The timing of the tournament is really good and it’s something different for the town to go and watch.
“If we create a bit of basketball interest in the Wimmera, it can only be a positive thing.”
McDonald, a former Hornets player, said he still kept up with the team’s results and was glad to see the team’s success.
Horsham Amateur Basketball Association president Dean Lakin said the series and skills clinics would help generate plenty of enthusiasm for the sport in Wimmera juniors.
“It’s come at a really good time for us with our success at the moment so we’ve got a lot of excitement with the kids,” he said.
“We’d certainly love it to translate into some more junior numbers at the association.”
Lakin said the weekend would not only be about junior players.
He said anyone interested in seeing high quality basketball would get their money’s worth at the tournament.
“It’s going to be as good a standard of basketball as we’ve seen in Horsham for a fair while with the four teams coming,” he said.
“We’re hoping the stadium will be full for all the matches and it would be really exciting if it was.
“If it’s well supported there’s a good chance that they could come back again so it would be great if it was an ongoing thing.”
Junior players interested in participating in the Ballarat Miners’ skill clinic on Saturday afternoon can contact Stacey Ellis on 5382 0135 for more information or to register.