BRONZE BOYS: Gladstone basketballers do us proud
Gladstone Power under-18 basketball coach Ray Cooper says he could not be prouder of his players after a podium finish at the State Championships.
After Cooper’s side lost to a strong Ipswich team on the second last day of the competition on Saturday, it set up a mouth-watering bronze medal match against Cairns on Sunday.
“Against Cairns we did not start off the best and were down by as much as 26 at one stage,” Cooper said.
“I just got the boys in a huddle at half-time and said I wanted them to play aggressively defensively and keep pushing the ball.
“Cooper Rhodes stood out in that second half and Ben Knight turned into an outstanding facilitator for his teammates rather than the prolific scorer I knew he was.”
After the five point victory over Cairns earned his side bronze, Cooper said he was really proud.
“When we lost our last game in Rockhampton which consigned us to Division Two, we set out to medal in Div Two and we achieved that,” he said.
“Especially after being 26 points down in our last game after seven games, we gave it a good chop and got the rewards for it.”
Cooper said Cooper Rhodes, one of the youngest players in the team, impressed him the most throughout the tournament.
“He just gave it everything he had, every game, and that is impressive in itself,” Cooper said.
“He is going to be really strong next season when he is one of the older players at the tournament.
“He came out fearless and was fantastic.”
Cooper said without the parents and supporters, the Gladstone Power under-18 boys would never have finished in the position they did.
“Big thank you to my managers Amy Rhodes and Ingrid Morphey and my assistant Hayden Castell,” he said.
“They are definitely the MVP’s for me.”