Coach rapt with play of U13 teams

Short cut . . . Eastern Southland Basketball A team player Emily Reid (13) makes her way around an Otago B player on her way to lining up a shot in a pool game of the tournament played in Gore at the weekend. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Under-13 Eastern Southland girls basketball teams finished in the top four of an A-and B-grade tournament held in Gore at the weekend.

The tournament was organised by Eastern Southland Basketball Association.

Committee member Erin Howes coaches the association’s A-and B-grade teams.

“My Eastern girls were amazing,’’ Howes said.

She expected the A team to make the top four, but the B-grade team girls were younger and less experienced, and so she was not sure how they would go in the tournament.

On attack . . . Eastern Southland Basketball A team player Livvy Barnett (12) dribbles her way down the court in a game against Otago B at the weekend. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Twelve teams from Timaru south entered the tournament and it was the first time several teams had taken part.

“The standard of play was excellent.

“I am starting to see a [real] improvement in the quality of the girls coming through — not only in our own region here, but around the place.”

Under-age representatives helped out with the refereeing.

“My expectation is if they are going to get their coaching, they need to give back to the game.”

Being confident about the rules also helped the players improve their game, she said.

The A team would play in the Basketball New Zealand under-13 regional tournament in Ashburton in October.

The association focused on providing basketball for the community, rather than producing an elite group of top players, Howes said.

“When we focus on the community game what happens is you get better.”