Grafton guard in action as the Grafton Vikings took on the Ballina Breakers in 2019.
Grafton guard in action as the Grafton Vikings took on the Ballina Breakers in 2019.

Vikings fall short in opener after ‘terrible’ pre-season

BASKETBALL: Grafton Vikings had to deal with a more challenging pre-season than most this year as they await the completion of a new-look Grafton PCYC.

The Vikings tipped off their 2020 Sunshine Conference campaign with a trip to the Byron Beez on Saturday but coach Nathan Martin was concerned about a lack of preparation.

"Our pre-season has been terrible. We've had one training session last Sunday for three hours at Maclean," Martin said.

"We haven't been able to get to the courts with the PCYC still under construction. Our training has consisted of some fitness at a local park and some gym sessions."

Work continues on the construction of the new Grafton PCYC centre.
Work continues on the construction of the new Grafton PCYC centre.

Grafton went down 87-82 in Byron Bay but Martin was pleased with his side's scoring ability.

"Obviously it was a disappointing way to go down, but for first game of the year the boys played well," he said.

"I was worried about our ability to score but that wasn't an issue with the scoreline. The lead changed numerous times and we were up with about a minute and a half to go, but some poor decisions cost us in the end.

"It was tough, but I said to the guys, 'you don't want to take a loss but being able to put up 82 points is great. That would have won us just about every game last season'."

As some codes struggle for numbers, Martin has had a healthy squad to deal with and was excited to add some height through two new recruits.

"We've had no problem at all finding the numbers. We have a squad of 15 players," he said.

"We picked up two guys, one played for Bellingen last year, Josh Brook. He was their leading scorer last year.

"We also added Taylor Schmidt, who was a state league player for Coffs Harbour a few year ago. The addition of two big guys will really help us this year."

Grafton will play one more away game before an extended break that Martin hopes will allow his side get settled on their new home court.

"We're away again next weekend to Ballina then we have four weeks off. The PCYC should be done by then so hopefully we'll play our first game back on new courts," he said.

"It'd be great if we can get on them during the break. That would work out quite nicely."



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