Locals enjoy successful Inclusive Basketball season

BASKETBALL: Falcons' Bowyn Halliwell prepares to take a shot in the final round of Inclusive Basketball action.
BASKETBALL: Falcons' Bowyn Halliwell prepares to take a shot in the final round of Inclusive Basketball action.

A SUCCESSFUL Inclusive Basketball season has come to an end, with four junior and two senior teams participating in the final night of action on Tuesday, September 19 at the Central Oval Complex.

The program – which is for players with intellectual or physical disabilities, learning difficulties or special needs – introduced a first-ever seniors competition in 2017, with 10 players over the age of 21 giving basketball a go.

30 junior players joined in on the program this year, more than doubling last year’s inaugural season participation number of 13. Inclusive Basketball administrator Emily Holden described the season as a ‘fabulous success story’.

“The players are the real stars. Their sportsmanship is truly commendable, while their skills are improving considerably throughout the competition,” she said.

Emily also thanked the ‘fabulous coaches and umpires’ for dedicating their time and passion.

The season ran for 16 weeks, with players – aged eight years and over – who do not belong to association basketball encouraged to participate.

The rules of the game are modified to suit each player’s ability, with the program focusing on building self-esteem, developing social skills and encouraging team work, while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

All players received participation medals from state Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan at the completion of the final round of matches.

Senior player Maureen Cross said she enjoyed meeting new people during her first season of basketball.

“We’re all winners, there are no losers in this,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about, having fun.”

Maureen’s Eagles teammate Billie Kernahan said she loved having the chance to play basketball in front of her family.

“I love basketball … my mum Carmen was a basketball player and she was a fantastic one, so that’s where I get the basketball skills from,” she said.

Eagles junior player Jack Summers said playing basketball makes him feel ‘really useful and really lucky’.

Inclusive Basketball will return in 2018, with participation numbers expected to continue to rise.