Taree 14s heading to national titles

Heading to the nationals: Taree under 14s Kirra Simon, Mikayla Collins, Isabella Allan, Elisha Radburn (coach), Nyoka Dumas, Annika Scott, Amarley Bron, Lonnie Funderburke. Absent Mariah Radburn, Hannah Chicken.
Heading to the nationals: Taree under 14s Kirra Simon, Mikayla Collins, Isabella Allan, Elisha Radburn (coach), Nyoka Dumas, Annika Scott, Amarley Bron, Lonnie Funderburke. Absent Mariah Radburn, Hannah Chicken.

TAREE Tornadoes under 14 girls basketballers will contest one more tournament before stepping up preparations for the Australian under 14 club championships to be played in Shepparton in October.

Coach Elisha Radburn said the girls are determined to produce a strong showing at the State playoffs to be held at Maitland on August 25/26. This follows a slightly underwhelming effort at the Country championships, where the Tornadoes finished third.

“We went there confident we’d win,’’ Elisha said.

However, a couple of injuries hampered their campaign, although Taree finished the preliminary matches in equal first place. From there it all went pear-shaped, with the Tornadoes losing to Coffs Harbour and Newcastle.

“That was the first time Newcastle’s beaten us,’’ Elisha said.

So she said the players are now busily preparing for the State tournament.

“We’ll be playing the same teams and we’ve beaten them all before,’’ Elisha said.

“So we’ll be looking for a better result.’’

However, this is just the entree. Elisha said the national club championships in Shepparton from October 1 to will be the main course.

Taree qualified as they were equal first on the ladder of the Country Championship League (CCL) following the second round. This is a first for Taree Basketball.

Elisha admits it’s been a long year with plenty of travel involved, with the Tornadoes playing anywhere from Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle and Wollongong.

“We’ve been on the road for the last 10 weeks,’’ Elisha explained.

This started in the Northern Junior League in March. Here Taree eventually made the final, where they were beaten 47-34 by Coffs Harbour.

The team’s training twice a week but Elisha hopes to make it three before heading to Victoria. Taree’s newly signed coach, Lonnie Funderburke has been assisting with the preparation in the last few weeks. 

Elisha hasn’t heard yet what teams the Tornadoes will be playing at the nationals.

“But the Victorians are always tough,’’ she said.