Power set to spark as new season gets underway
AFTER a disappointing year in 2012, the men's Gladstone Power team is refuelled and ready to go for the Queensland Basketball League season tip-off this weekend.
Coach Dale Iwanicki, who spent months hand-picking a talented team of high-calibre basketballers, said he is determined to improve on last year's efforts.
With players such as Justin Baker, Illiwa Baldwin and Blair Smith joining the Power, the Gladstone side is set to match up more evenly with some of the bigger teams in the QBL.
"We've gone from being one of the smaller sides in the league to one of the biggest," Iwanicki said.
One of the Power's biggest tests for the year is set to be this weekend with the season tip-off.
Gladstone will take on the Rockhampton Rockets at Kev Broome Stadium on Saturday at 8pm, but Iwanicki said the Power hadn't been able to beat their local rivals in years.
"It's going to be a tough game as always," he said. "But there is a first time for everything,
"This could be the perfect opportunity to beat them."
The Power women will also take on the Rockhampton Cyclones at 6pm.
See Monday's Observer for full match reviews.
New import Baker has Gladstone men on the rise
STANDING 2.03m tall, big man Justin Baker is set to add some much-needed height to the Gladstone Power's front line.
Baker previously played three seasons at NCAA D1 Utah Valley University and helped the team to a Great West Conference championship as a senior.
He played in 87 games over three seasons for UVU, averaging eight points and five rebounds per game and was named the Great West Conference Sixth Man of the Year as a senior in 2010-11.
Baker also had a great rookie season in Denmark, setting a season record with 41 points and 10 rebounds in his team's victory on New Year's Eve.
He averaged 17 points and eight rebounds for Vaerlose in the Danish League and was named an All Star.
Prior to arriving in Europe, in 2012 Baker played one season for the Richmond Rockets in the American Basketball Association in Richmond, California, in the Bay Area.
Coach Dale Iwanicki said Baker will be a great addition to the side.
"He is a versatile and smart forward with great feet, a good touch around the basket and will stretch opposing big men on the perimeter with his range," he said.