Next generation of Ipswich stars working with man on mission
WITH so much youth quality ready to rise in this year's Queensland State League (QSL), Ipswich Force coach Terry Lindeberg is a man on a mission.
For many years, the highly respected mentor has worked with and successfully developed countless Ipswich teenagers to state junior finals and overseas opportunities.
That includes US-bound Ipswich-bred players like Kate Head and Loie Webb who can play a handful of QSL games before they leave.
But that's why the restructured competition is so important for the next generation.
With the NBL 1 North women's competition delayed for 12 months, the QSL is ideal for the stars of tomorrow to gain valuable higher level experience against seasoned state league basketballers.
Ipswich up and comers like Catherine MacGregor, Grace Hughes, Charlotte Hegvold, Tiayana Sing and Brooklyn Betham will receive more court time in this year's Ipswich Force senior side.
While eager to bring them on, Lindeberg appreciates the core of experienced players sticking with Ipswich in this year's series.
Preparing for Saturday night's opening clash against the Brisbane Capitals at JBS Stadium, Lindeberg was delighted to have Amy Lewis, Georgia Ralph, Rachel Mate and Jess Taylor leading the way.
Former SEQ Stars national league leader Lewis will co-captain the 2020 Force combination with Ralph after previous skipper Bree Farley joined former coach Brad George at South West Metro.
"They (Lewis and Ralph) are very experienced to a lot of young girls that need to look up to them,'' Lindeberg said.
"Hopefully they can develop some of these young kids we still have left.''
However, Lewis will first have to pass a fitness test on her calf muscle.
Guards Lewis and Ralph are dedicated basketballers rich in state league knowledge, along with the ever dependable Mate and Taylor, who has returned to help Ipswich.
With that leadership core, Lindeberg is looking for more from MacGregor, Iris Cubit and the team's tallest player Grace Hughes (185cm).
"Catherine come on last year so she'll start this year,'' Lindeberg said.
"Her and Iris will probably do a bit of work on that high spot.
"Iris is going to America too at the end of the year but she's just had an operation on her wrist, so we'll see how she goes.''
Lindeberg has worked with West Moreton Anglican College student Grace in under-18 sides.
"She gives us a bit of height we're trying to bring on,'' he said.
Claudia Ott is another basketballer with plenty of potential, having played in the Ipswich under-21 side.
The Force squad has been back training for about four weeks.
With some pre-game injury concerns, Lindeberg said it opened the door for the fit young brigade including Sing. She is an Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student who joined Hegvold in Force's under-18 side.
The Capitals side playing this weekend includes former Ipswich players Grace George and Meg Essex, who Lindeberg has also previously coached in the Force program.
Under COVID restrictions, the players have to turn up ready to warm up and play at 6pm before leaving to allow the Ipswich Force men to start their game at 8pm.
Major matches in this year's QSL competition will be livestreamed each weekend.
Ipswich's first livestreamed opportunity will be round three when the Force men and women play South West Metro at Hibiscus Sports Complex.
The livestreaming schedule will start on Saturday with a clash between state league heavyweights, the Logan Thunder, hosting league newcomers RedCity Roar.
Games can be viewed at qt.com.au
The Ipswich Force women's squad for Saturday night's sold-out match at JBS Stadium: Amy Lewis, Georgia Ralph, Rachel Mate, Catherine MacGregor, Jessica Taylor, Grace Hughes, Claudia Ott, Iris Cubit, Charlotte Hegvold, Tiayana Sing, Tekisha Rotumah, Ainsley Houston, Loie Webb, Kate Head, Brooklyn Betham.