Junior basketballers eagerly awaiting a return to play

Sale Sonics under 14s have been participating in some socially distanced basketball practice, in the lead up to an imminent season. Photo: Sarah Luke
Sale Sonics under 14s have been participating in some socially distanced basketball practice, in the lead up to an imminent season. Photo: Sarah Luke

JUNIOR basketballers across the region are eagerly awaiting a return to play, with restrictions expected to be eased this weekend.

Sale basketball training sessions have been popular, with record numbers because of growing excitement about the sport's return.

Sale is planning to resume its domestic competition Tuesday, December 1, subject to government restrictions.

COVID restrictions currently allow under 18 non-contact indoor training, but not games, which means junior competitions have been on hold since March this year.

Sale Amateur Basketball Association president Ben Lancaster said the club had been working hard to stay engaged with its members and maintain interest in the sport.

"Our squad coaches have been offering skills sessions by Zoom during the hard lockdown and then when we were allowed to commence outdoor trainings we were straight into it, offering fun skills sessions open to players of all abilities, to keep children active and engaged," he said.

"Obviously the outdoor sessions were weather-affected at times, so everyone was pretty excited to move indoors for training when that announcement came through at the start of November."

Lancaster said the club was excited about a proposed return to play.

"It's so much more than just the game - our players are missing out on seeing their friends, on that social side, which leads them to be active," he said.

Sale Sonics under 12 boys coach Jo Crawford-Wynd said "it feels like we've been training, and training, and training ... when everyone just wants to play".

"We've had Zoom training and outdoor trainings, but it's just not the same as being able to play," she said.

"Our squad kids can't wait to play tournaments again; I know from my own experience so many fond memories are made when you can hang out with your friends all weekend and play some basketball as well."

The Eltham-Dandenong tournament will go ahead late January, subject to government restrictions.

Sale will host its annual tournament March 27 and 28.

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