CLEAN skills, fitness and a strong game plan will be features of the Tamworth Thunderbolts under-16 women’s side next season.
The blueprints of this game plan were on display in the teams’s first trial match, against Hornsby, ahead of the their move into the Country Championship League (CCL).
Thunderbolts coach Andy Waugh said he was pleased with his side’s first hit-out.
“It was really good for us to play against a quality opponent,” Waugh said.
“With us making the step up to CCL in 2019, it’s important for the girls to get used to the step up in competition and get used to what’s required to compete.
“Hornsby had quite a few tall players, given we don’t have too many tall girls – it was something we struggled with against them and will have to work on going forward.”
The team has been hard at work throughout the pre-season, recently upping their training schedule to three times per week.
“We will certainly look to form a game plan around our strengths and given we don’t have much height, those strengths will be our speed,” Waugh said.
“In the last couple of weeks we have been working really hard in training at getting fitter, sticking to the game plan and really executing our skills.
“If we can do that, I’m sure we will able to match it with the strong clubs in the CCL such as Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Singleton.”
Rising stars Marley Pitt, Arianna Klein, Georgia Sheppard and Mia Kennedy shone for the Thunderbolts in the 46-82 loss.
“Marley is a really strong leader who does the small things really well and is really the glue of the team,” Waugh said.
“While Arianna is a naturally athletic, gifted player who is one of our best shooters on the court.
“I am also extremely excited about Mia Kennedy’s potential, I really think she has got the drive to go far and possibly even play for Australia some day.
“The talent is certainly there, now it is just about sticking to the game plan – and I think we should be very competitive.”
Waugh said his side could be “one of the best underdog stories in basketball” next season.
“I think most people would assume that finishing in the top five or eight sides would be good for us,” he said.
“However, I think we have the ability to prove them wrong. We have the talent, the drive and the dedication, now it is about setting those high standards needed to compete with the top teams.
“With Christmas coming up we will have a short break, but after that we will get stuck in ahead of the season opener early next year.”