Originally written by DEAN MILLARD
THE Portland Basketball Association’s Country Basketball League representative side, the Portland Coasters, are gearing up for their second crack at the CBL South West division under new leadership and with a new line up.
After making good progress in the debut season of the competition last summer inaugural player Tim Annett has stepped up to fill the role as head coach, with former women’s Coasters’ player Kate Sullivan to be his assistant coach.
Annett said the side had been working hard for about a month and planned to start this season better prepared than they were when the South West division was launched last summer.
“We started quite a bit earlier than we did last year, which is good,” Annett said.
“We sort of know what to expect now in how rough it is and how defence is played and also getting used to playing with the shot clock, which was something that took a bit of adjusting to last season.
“We just want to go out there and be competitive because there are a few new teams in it this year.
“It is a fairly long season this year compared to last season, so we just want to be competitive and hopefully win a few more games than we did last year.”
Horsham, Hamilton and Warrnambool have joined the competition this season, making it an eight-team competition, with Portland’s opening game at this stage scheduled to be 7pm at home against the Colac Kookas on November 5.
Portland had two major concerns last season, the first being matching up in the key against some of the bigger bodies in the competition, and the second being controlling the ball against the higher level of defence.
The first has been thrown an extra challenge leading into the new season with the side’s two leading big men from last season, Dave Groten and Aaron Lindsey, both not returning to the court for the side this season.
Annett said the side had brought in two new inside players who while not as experienced as those two big men he hoped would be able to play key roles in the paint for the side.
“Dave Groten was our leading scorer last season and Aaron Lindsey is obviously a very experienced player.
“We might struggle in the height department a bit with those two out, but Josh Nash and Brad Anderson have been working pretty hard for us so far and are looking good and they will have a fair bit of responsibility on them this season.
“Trenton and Joel Mirtschin will also need to play tall for us this year, because we don’t have a heap of height in the line up.”
Annett said the side had been working on a more dynamic style of play for the coming season and were planning on utilising their athleticism to counter their lack of size.
He said Mirtschin and Callum McNamara were two players he hoped could step up another level after getting a taste of the higher level last season, saying both were capable of dominating games once they got going, while youngster Tynan Drought would also be called upon to play some key roles for the side.
The one down side for the Coasters this season looks to be the inability to get a women’s competition off the ground again.
Annett said the women’s Coasters team had shown a lot of interest in playing and would have been very competitive, but with only two other sides nominating to play at the time of going to print it was likely the South West division would again only have a men’s competition.