KEY ROLE: Fleet-footed Ipswich Force guard Kate Head is enjoying more court time in the state league this season.
KEY ROLE: Fleet-footed Ipswich Force guard Kate Head is enjoying more court time in the state league this season. Rob Williams

America-bound Kate driven by double goal

BASKETBALL: As one of the hardest working players in the Ipswich program, Kate Head deserves her opportunity in this year's state league.

Rising up the Ipswich ranks since she was eight, Head has often been praised by respected coaches like Terry Lindeberg for her extra commitment before and during matches.

However, this season has provided two major turning points in her promising career.

Preparing for her unbeaten team's clash with Southern Districts on Sunday afternoon, the Ipswich Force teenage guard has settled in superbly receiving more opportunities in the Queensland Basketball League competition.

"It's been awesome,'' she said, having received more than 20 minutes on the court in each of her first three matches.

Head, who turned 18 in March, is keen to seize on the extra responsibility given to her by head coach Brad George.

"Brad is encouraging all of the younger ones to step up and it's all working out,'' Head said.

"Brad is awesome.

"He's really good with the younger ones and teaching them the mature principles of senior basketball.''

Head is one of the latest promising group of Force QBL players along with her "special'' friends Cassie Poulain, Iris Cubit, Loie Webb and Brooklyn Betham.

They have played in a number of Ipswich and Met West teams together in recent seasons.

The second part of Head's breakthrough season is being offered a college opportunity in the United States.

After playing some games overseas during the QBL off-season, Head received a student athlete scholarship with Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. That is due to start in August.

The former Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student is excited about the next stage of her basketball development after hopefully helping Force make this year's QBL finals.

"This year I feel like it will be really important for everyone to just put in all the effort,'' she said. "So I want to stay here for as long as possible.''

Her extended court time in this year's state league comes after Head has represented Ipswich throughout her junior career.

Before graduating from IGGS last year, she regularly played for Met West and shared in the medal successes of Queensland South teams.

She was captain of the Queensland Schoolgirls team which won a national silver medal last year in Canberra.

With support from her sporty parents Malcolm and Kym, the Ipswich born and bred talent appreciates those showing confidence in her.

Father Malcolm has been a powerful influence, passing on values he learnt being a former Australian rugby representative.

"He's instilled in me (the attitude) if you're going to do something, you've got to do it 100 percent,'' Kate said.

"I owe it to him, the work ethic and how serious I take basketball.''

The Force teenager is also grateful for the backing of coach George, his wife and former team captain Marney, and railways stalwart Lindeberg.

"Terry definitely put a lot of grit into us,'' she said. "He taught us how to hustle, how to work for everything, not be soft and tough in everything we do on the court.

"It really helps us step up. I owe a lot to Terry.''

Before heading to the US, Head will focus on the Ipswich Force, saving as much money as she can for the trip and "putting in the work to make sure I'm ready for college''.

Current teammate Georgia Williams has become a valuable asset having played in the US College system for four years.

"I've been asking her about a few little things like what I do with my phone,'' Head said.

"She's actually been really helpful with all that.''

On Sunday, Head's goal is helping the Force women preserve their unbeaten record against the Spartans at Carina.

"Starting off 3 and 0 has definitely set us up to have a good amount of confidence coming into the tough games,'' she said.

"I think we'll be ready.''

Game day

QBL women: Sunday (1pm) - Ipswich Force v Southern Districts Spartans.

QBL men: Sunday (3pm) - Ipswich Force v Southern Districts Spartans.

Both matches are at Rowland Cowan Stadium, Carina.