See why this winning girls side are humble champions
BASKETBALL: As the latest BQJBC Division 1 champions, Ipswich's under-12 Force girls are keen to chase gold at next month's state titles.
However, it's not only their winning record in recent months that has been outstanding.
It's their team spirit and humble nature that has also left a lasting impression.
In his first year coaching the girls, Steve Low couldn't have asked for a better group of players and parents to work with.
While thrilled to see the skilful young team average 76 points a game and only lose once, Low praised his players for their fine attitude on and off the court.
"The girls just play because they love it. They never think that they are that much better than anyone,'' he said.
Ipswich completed their terrific South East Queensland competition season by beating Southern District Spartans 55-32 in the Premier League grand final in Brisbane.
Spartans earlier denied Ipswich a perfect 15 from 15 record, being the only side to overcome Force in the regular season. However, the Force girls showed their quality in the season decider, setting up a solid platform for the state titles in Brisbane from July 5-8.
"We're aiming for gold,'' Low said, confident his young team will perform strongly again chasing back-to-back Queensland honours for the Ipswich association.
Current players Rhyanna Ape, Montana Betham and captain Tereise Reupena were part of the Force under-12 side that won last year's BQJBC and state championships double.
Tereise top scored in this year's grand final with 20 points, with Rhyanna contributing 13.
Rhyanna's younger sister Cleo is also in the team, managed by mum Clesia.
Low said his assistant coach Fiona Harton was also a great asset having been involved with representative teams in the past.
Throughout the latest season, Ipswich's defence was a feature, with the team conceding on average just 24 points a game.
Low was delighted to see that hard work pay off.
"As a team, we worked very hard on our defence individually and as a team,'' the coach said.
"They've done well and they're always hungry and they really want to win.''
Low was particularly proud of how his team was sporting toward their opponents, especially after winning by some big margins. One of those was an 80-39 win over Logan in the semi-final.
Another huge win was over Redlands, drawing what Low described as a "beautiful'' response from an opposing team's parent highlighting the Ipswich team's modest manner.
"They (the Ipswich girls) have all played in club games or been on previous rep teams where they weren't the best,'' Low said.
"And that (being humble) comes from their parents too because it is a great bunch of parents we've got. They've had their girls' heads screwed on right and it really shows on the court.''
Low said the most satisfying aspect of coaching an Ipswich team of the future was seeing their spirit.
"It's just their commitment to one another,'' he said.
"They don't get upset with one another. If someone makes a mistake, they build each other up.
"They just love playing for one another and with one another.''
The winning Ipswich Force under-12 team: Tereise Reupena (captain), Shanekah White, Emma Cabili, Zailie Rowsell, Wynita-Winnie Tahata, Lucy Low, Montana Betham, Cleo Ape, Rhyanna Ape. Coach: Steve Low. Assistant coach: Fiona Harton. Manager: Clesia Ape.
Look out for more photos in next week's Junior Sport section.