Basketball event will be Classic

ON SATURDAY the Raymond Laurie Sports centre will play host to the inaugural Northern NSW Preseason Basketball Classic.

Organisers of the Classic invited clubs from the Northern NSW area who play in the NSW State Basketball League, to Yamba to play a pre-season competition.

Clubs from Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Grafton, along with the host team from the Lower Clarence Valley, will make their way to Yamba’s newly built Raymond Laurie Sports Centre on Saturday to battle it out to be the top Northern NSW Basketball sides.

Teams will be participating in a round-robin style format for the carnival, with Coffs Harbor and Ballina the two favourite sides to play in the decider.

It’s no coincidence Ballina Basketball Association is turning itself around to be the next powerhouse on the North Coast with two ex-Grafton Viking players - Martin Smith and Jason Bashforth - taking charge of the senior program, as men’s and women’s head coaches respectively .

All clubs have made some changes with their coaching staff with Brad Sibraa an ex-Griffith Demons player and journeyman taking the helm at Coffs Harbor this year in a team that will feature newly retired NBL player in Matt Shannohan.

The Grafton City Vikings also made changes in the coaching department with Nathan Martin taking the reins for the Vikings in 2010.

The Lower Clarence team will be unveiled for the first time this Saturday and will go by the name as the Lower Clarence Trawlers.

The Trawler, although not glamorous or speedy, is a tough vessel that always comes home with the goods.

Something that the boys from the Lower Clarence Trawlers will endeavour to do this Saturday.

The response in the women’s grade was disappointing with only Ballina and the host team nominating sides for the classic.

Meaning due to the lack of nominations from other teams, the women’s classic has been cancelled.

Player numbers in basketball on the North Coast has been struggling for a while now with Lismore pulling both senior teams out of the State league and Grafton unable to field a women’s side for 2010.

Attracting the above teams to Yamba is a great way to allow the general public and persons interested in playing to come along and see the game and the talent the North Coast has to offer.

The organisers of the Classic encourage all spectators to make their way to the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre this Saturday and view the North Coast’s best in action as fees apply.

Games start at 9am with the grand final from 4.30pm on Saturday.

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