Sport

Shepparton tournament attracts more juniors than ever

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November 30, 2017

There are more teams than ever before coming to compete at the Shepparton Basketball Association’s 42nd annual junior tournament that begins on Saturday.

It means organisers have had to spread entrants across the region, as the number of teams competing has grown significantly from last year.

But Greater Shepparton Basketball Association Tony Long is not complaining.

‘‘We had to go out and find more courts to use and that sort of caused some issues, but it’s a good problem to have,’’ he said.

Rather than just using half the courts at the Kyabram Sports and Entertainment Centre, all four will have fixtured games.

Tatura, Nathalia and Numurkah will also host action.

The added venues means Long has been able to condense the event into two days, rather than having to start games tomorrow night.

Team entries have increased from 173 into 206 in one year, with Long saying the constant feedback was teams enjoyed travelling from across Victoria and NSW to the tournament.

‘‘I’m hearing people love the end of the year tournament, we’re well positioned as a tournament across the state and as a tournament we cater for everybody, their teams and their requests,’’ he said.

‘‘Fixtures are released nice and early and people love coming to Shepp and catching up with the SPC factory outlets and KidsTown and stuff like that.’’

While the Greater Shepparton Association continues to push for a redevelopment of its stadium including more courts, Long said the increased popularity of basketball meant courts across the region would always be needed as numbers look set to increase in coming years.

But with all the attention focused on this weekend, some Shepparton sides should make an impact in the event that caters for teams from under-12s to under 18s.

‘‘The under-14 girls are going really well and we’re expecting big things from them; there’s a bit of pressure on them with the under-14 girls (club) championships here next year; it’d be nice to have that local team (performing well) in the local comp,’’ Long said.

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