North Coast team seek state basketball title

AFTER a disappointing tournament last year, coach of the North Coast girls' PSSA basketball team, Gordon Kovacevic, says that this year the girls are set to give the big reputation teams a run for their money.

"This is one of the stronger teams that we've had in the last few years," Kovacevic enthused yesterday as the team went through their final training session.

"They're very skilled and we've got some outstanding players.

"The big girl Nicola Dark (South Grafton) is very good, very mobile for her size and Kristy Wallace from Korora who is our point guard, she's outstanding."

This year the North Coast team has come across a secret weapon that came to them more by accident than design.

The squad of 10 players includes five girls from Korora Public as well as another two from Sawtell and that means that in the lead-up to this week's championships, the team has been able to get together more often for training.

"They're shaping up well and I'm hoping that we go well but it all depends on what the opposition bring as well," the coach added.

"We're not going to be a very big team but we've got a very good ball playing group, their fast breaks are good.

"The best thing about this team is that they're nice girls, they listen well so they're a nice group as far as coaching them goes."

North Coast will be playing four of their six pool matches today, starting with a clash against last year's fourth-ranked team, Sydney West, at 9am.

All things going well, the local girls will be part of the semi-finals action on Thursday morning.

With 14 teams in Coffs Harbour this week covering all schools, not just those from within the public school system, competition is set to be fierce.

And with 140 players, officials and families all converging on Sportz Central for the next three days, carnival convenor Di Hartmann has had her hands full.

Giving extra time on top of her teaching duties at Korora Public to organise such a large-scale event, Hartmann says that the work has been worth it because over the next three days the girls have an opportunity to put their hand up and be noticed.

"These girls are playing for their region and are obviously looking to win the carnival but they're also trying out for the state team," she said.

"There's probably one or two girls in the North Coast team that could end up in the state team."

With all the training and preparation that has been done by this group, there's no telling what this group or the individuals within it can achieve.

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