BASKETBALL: The department of youth at McDonalds Gladstone Port City is shining bright after a weekend of wins at the Central District Carnival in Bundaberg.
Gladstone came away with a collective eight wins and four losses across under-23 men, U18 girls and boys and U16 boys.
The U16 Power team were superb throughout and finished the two-day carnival undefeated with a 4-0 record while the U18s dropped just one of four games.
The U23 side split their record to a win and loss against Hervey Bay and Bundaberg respectively and a combined Gladstone U18 girls team lost both of its games against Rockhampton.
Boti Hajos torched Hervey Bay with 41 points with eight triples in the Power's 99-76 win.
Hajos banged home his first four triples while Mitch Knight (16 points) while Jace Arnold and Isaac Sealy registered double-figure points.
Hervey Bay's Nathan Sewell was all class with 25 points (five three pointers).
Gladstone couldn't back up against a Ben Wright and Aiden Potter-led Bundy to lose 109-57.
Power coach Chris Tucker said there are great signs.
"I think all the players contributed and against Hervey Bay, it was a good opportunity for Mitch Glossop and Isaac Sealy to play at this level," Tucker said.
"I don't think the score reflected the game against Bundy and the guys stuck with it.
"Jace Arnold was the stand-out and rock solid with the ball and Lachie Wilmot was great defensively."
Tucker hopes the U23 level CDC will continue.
"After U18s, there's no next step before QBL level and to have U23s is the closest thing to it and shows the players how to prepare for games," he said.
The U18 Gladstone side have improved and coach Ray Cooper said despite the final game, there were plenty of positives.
"We had a goal to be better than last CDC as a team and we achieved that," Cooper said.
"Each time we train and play we want to improve as a team and individually."
But Cooper said two things became factors in the game against Rocky.
"We just stopped playing for each other and ourselves where in the previous games we were working as one unit for the whole 40 minutes," he said.
"It was the fourth game of the weekend and probably playing the quickest team, so fatigued set in."
Cooper has more to say...
Ray's say on the U18s
Starting off with the U18 lads who finished with a 3-1 record - what does this mean heading into the HB CDC in terms of the states in January?
Gives the U18 boys a lot of confidence going into Harvey Bay and State Champs with still a fair bit of work ahead to maintain a higher standard in play.
A comfortable win in the first game, followed by a 2-point win v Bundy then backed up by another win on Sunday - what was most pleasing about the wins?
Having to back up after a big win against Bundy the night before being physically and mentally draining and to be albe to switch on again and preform to get another win is tough and shows great character amongst the team.
You took the lads out for a brief few seconds in game 3 - what did you say?
Well a couple of things I probably can't repeat, but just a quick wake up call for them to get them to refocus and get the job done which worked.
The final game v Rocky - I did not see, but it was a 90-70 loss so what went wrong there and what are the areas that will be the focus for HB CDC?
The score didn't reflect a lot of the game. We just stopped playing for each other and ourselves where in the previous games we were working as one unit for the whole 40 minutes. It was the fourth game of the weekend and probably playing the quickest team so fatigue set in.
Who were the stand-out U18 players?
Hard to say who the standouts where when they all compliment each other very well. Team work was great and was lead from the support of the bench and there energy. We had a goal to be better than last cdc as a team and we achieved that. Each time we train and play we want to improve as a team and individually.
Ray's say on the U16s
It's 8-0 and a ticket to Div 1 for the Classics (providing there are no slip-ups in HB) - how did you and the players handle the pressure from being the hunters (pre CDC 1) to now being the hunted (CDC 2)?
Having the right mindset and the lead up trainings to the CDC is very important. Keeping the boys switched on and constant reminding that they have to keep working hard and challenging each other at training. If we keep this process up we will get better as a team and individually. Also having previous U18 players there Boti Hajos and Lee Gillett helped guide them on how to approach the games with the right mindset.
The game v Rocky was THE test and each time the Power lads pulled away, Rocky edged to within a basket or two, what was the message to the players whenever Rocky challenged?
We knew they would come out and challenge us so we just had to make sure we were doing everything correctly and not worry about what they were doing. Most of the time its to stay calm don't panic and just keep doing the little things like being first to the ball.
Thasindu Chandrasekara is a unique talent, do you agree?
Definitely a talent at CDC's with a great support around him. Challenge for him is to help makes his team-mates better and also to be able to compete at a higher level. He has a bit of work to do as he's going to come across better defenders, so he will need to find other ways to score and also find his team-mates.
Who are the other players that you have seen who have stepped up to influence a game?
Everyone of them contributed to one of the games over the weekend. Nick Lantry and Ben Knight had four three-pointers each against Harvey Bay. Jack Small was very consistent and would of had at least a double double every game. Joseph McEldowney played with more confidence in pushing the ball and creating in transition. Seth Collins had a big game against Rocky which contributed to the win. Haizyn Mellars was great for running the point guard for the first time for us and he organised the team well and found his team-mates. But overall, they were great as a team which is most important and will need to step up in prep for next CDC and state classics.
Gladstone 99 (B Hajos 41, M Knight 16, J Arnold; I Sealy 12) d Hervey Bay 76 (N Sewell 25, D Allard 15, T Bignell 12); Bundaberg 109 (B Wright; A Potter 26, F McCarthy 13, L Lacobucci 11)
Gladstone 93 (I King 39, L Madsen 13, I Blackaby 11) d Hervey Bay 32 (B Rowe 16); Gladstone 82 (I King 30, I Blackaby 15) d Bundaberg 80 (M Wright 26, B Norris; A Harford 16); Gladstone 81 (L Knight 16, I King 14, B Harvey 13, I Blackaby 10) d Emereald 60 (C Harrison 18, A Rayner 11); Rockhampton 90 (C Bickers; F Phelan 18, C Hogan 16, J Thompson 15) d Gladstone 70 (I King 28, L Knight 10)
Rockhampton 86 (A Lawson 24, S Namasasu; A Smyth 15, A Bosomworth 13, M Collins 11) d Gladstone 31 (E Greenland 7; D Arnold; E Cameron 6); Rockhampton 85 (A Smyth 23, A Lawson 17, M Collins 13, A Bosomworth 12) d Gladstone 38 (D Arnold 12, E Greenland; E Cameron 9)
Gladstone 116 (J McEldowney 22, T Chandrasekara 19, B Knight 18, H Mellars 17, J Small 12) d Emerald 21 (K Prewett 9); Gladstone 82 (T Chandrasekara 24, J Small 18, H Mellars 16, S Collins 11) d Rockhampton 68 (E Power 24, M Brown; R Wessling 12) ; Gladstone 78 (T Chandrasekara 35, J McEldowney 23) d Bundaberg 56 (C Gray 15, Z Storey 13); Gladstone 110 (B Knight 30, T Chandrasekara 27, J Small 15, N Lantry 12, J McEldowney 11) d Hervey Bay (I Donnell 12, J Radic 8)