Broken Hill Broncos Under-18 team travelled to South Australia last weekend to compete in the Adelaide Easter Classic – believed to be the largest major carnival in Australia, with teams from all over the country. And while the team finished with one win and four losses, it was a positive experience.
The Broncos competed in the C2 grade, at the lower end of the age bracket, with players either 15 or 16 years old, but coming up against opposition who were top-age teams containing 17-year-olds. For coach Michael Powell, the developmental side of the trip was a plus.
“The team played really, really well. That one win is probably not reflective of how well the boys did play, as we had a couple of close games. There was only one game which the boys lost pretty heavily. They held their own for the most part. And if anything, it just shows the level of talent that we do actually have in Broken Hill,” Mr Powell told the Truth.
“The tournament as a whole, even for me as a coach, was a fantastic experience. Just getting to see the calibre of players that is out there is eye-opening, to see the level some other players are at and where we need to continue to develop.
“The boys were fantastic. Each player held their own in one way or another and all contributed to the results. Given the calibre of players we were up against and the fact these boys have been thrown together as a squad at the last minute, really shows their individual character to pull together the way they did.”
Mr Powell said the squad had been put together only a month and a half ago, with just one or two having played together through their junior playing careers, including point guard Logan McDonald leading the grade in points scored (102 points at an average of 20.4 per game).
“I had a good chat to some of the opposition coaches and the players and majority of those boys that we came up against had all been playing together since they were 12 years old, training three times a week, 12 months a year, so they essentially live and breathe basketball, and realistically, we’re not that far behind them in performance.
“I’m encouraging all other representative grades from Broken Hill to try and attend the tournament if they can next year, because it is a massive difference in comparison to the usual competitions that we go to.
“The skill level is much higher than what we’re used to, and even from a coaching perspective, all the teams are so much more well-drilled than the teams we usually go up against. So it’s fantastic for the kids and fantastic for the other coaches as well, I believe, to see and experience that.”