SLAM DUNK: Tamsyn Bock and Eli Walsh will compete at the State Basketball Championships next month.
SLAM DUNK: Tamsyn Bock and Eli Walsh will compete at the State Basketball Championships next month. Contributed

Local girls represent the region

Basketball: Two Emerald Basketball Association under-16 players - Eli Walsh and Tamsyn Bock - are preparing for the State Championships next month, where they'll take on the best players from around the state as part of the Gladstone team.

Emerald Basketball Association president for the past 12 years and coaching development trainer Adam Jurd said the girls had been playing with the Gladstone team and competing in the Central District Championships.

"Our club doesn't have enough numbers for a girls' under-16 team, so we asked other clubs if they were short on numbers,” Jurd said.

"They've just competed in their last CDC held in Gladstone last weekend.

"That was their third carnival from over the last few months.”

He said they had qualified for division one of the State Championships in April.

"They've done very well and they'll now be starting preparations for April,” he said.

Jurd said about 40 per cent of girls dropped out of sport by their mid-teens and he was keen to see clubs encourage their participation and retain female members.

"Sport is such a great thing to build confidence and leadership in yourself, especially for girls as they don't have as many role models on TV or everywhere they look,” he said.

Jurd said the Emerald duo trained individually every day and for their club every Tuesday, as well as weekly sessions in Gladstone.

"Our numbers in general are sky-rocketing,” he said.

"There's a big influx of kids at the moment and our under-12 girls and boys are showing great numbers, so we're hoping to retain them.

"We're making sure we've got numbers so they don't have to go to Gladstone.”

Jurd said last year the club had 150 members, with about 40 female players, and this year he expected numbers to be close to 180 overall.

"We're showing a good increase in numbers in the junior girls age groups as well,” he said.

Jurd said the club prioritised developing leadership qualities among players.

"We make sure they give back to the younger kids and develop great young women and men,” he said.

"We're teaching them basketball but we're also teaching them life skills so they can handle any situation that comes to them - that's a driver for us.

"And we want to make sure the experience we give them is something they want to be part of and come back to.”

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