State League double header headlines big weekend of basketball

On the drive: Dhalara Knox slices through the Coffs Harbour defence. The Thunderbolt women tip-off their 2017 State League campaign on Saturday night.

On the drive: Dhalara Knox slices through the Coffs Harbour defence. The Thunderbolt women tip-off their 2017 State League campaign on Saturday night.

The Thunderbolts women will hit the boards for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon.

They play Maitland in a Waratah State League double header at the Sports Dome that will see the men shooting for three straight against Port Macquarie after them.

The game against the Mustangs will be the Bolts first game under new coach Brad Melton.

The US native boasts an extensive coaching resume and has been working hard with the side over the last couple of weeks.

The men are already two games into their campaign for two wins and will strike a Dolphins side in a bit of a rebuilding phase, Thunderbolts coach John Ireland said, but bolstered by a couple of experienced campaigners returning to the ranks.

“They will add some really good experience and quality into the team,” he said.

“They’ll be pretty enthusiastic and physical and ready to run up and down the floor.”

The focus for the Bolts will again be on defence.

“We want our offence to come from our defence,” Ireland said.

He also spoke about needing to maintain their concentration.

Being a young side they can, when they build a lead, get a bit complacent and cocky, as was the case against Coffs last week.

“For us it’s about getting four quarters of quality basketball,” he said.

They have this week a devoted a fair bit of time to their free-throw shooting.

“Even though we made 29 we would have had close to 50-odd attempts,” he said.

He’d like to lift that to 75-80 per cent.

After missing the Coffs game due to family commitments Matt Monckton comes back in, returning the squad to full strength.

They tip-off at 6pm following the women at 4pm.

Forum 6 Cinemas is sponsoring the first half way shooting competition with a month of free movies up for grabs, and home supporters are being encouraged to wear blue to show their support.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children. 

The seniors action will follow a full day of junior games with Tamworth hosting the first round of the Northern Junior League Division 2 season.

Games get underway at 9am on Saturday morning and continue through to 5.45pm before resuming again on Sunday morning.

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