DRIBBLING AWAY: Vikings Mitch Wicks working down the wing in a game between Grafton Vikings and Ballina Breakers at the Grafton Sports Centre.
DRIBBLING AWAY: Vikings Mitch Wicks working down the wing in a game between Grafton Vikings and Ballina Breakers at the Grafton Sports Centre. Matthew Elkerton

Ballers take to the court for pre-season tournament

BASKETBALL: Grafton Sports Centre is primed and ready for a day of action on the courts as teams from the region gather for the North Coast Shield pre-season tournament on Sunday.

Teams from Grafton, Lismore, Yamba, Ballina, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah and the Gold Coast will take to the courts tomorrow morning for the round-robin style tournament incorporating girls' and boys' sides from under-10s to under-18s, with the eventual winners taking home the silverware on Sunday night.

The pre-season tournament has taken place in Grafton for a number of years and has grown as more clubs join the North Coast competition, which takes place through part of spring and summer.

In past years, strong competitors in the pre-season event have included the Byron Bay Beez, Lismore Storm and Yamba Trawlers but Grafton has always been a tough side to beat on its home court.

Grafton Vikings senior coach Nathan Martin will take his under-14 Grafton side into the tournament to get an indication of where they stand going into the competition proper in one month's time.

"It's a good way of figuring out where your team is at compared to some of the others,” Martin said.

"We've been training for about two months now but it's hard to tell how you're going when you haven't played any other sides, so it's a good opportunity to see how the girls are gelling together.”

Martin is wary of some of the talent that comes out to play in the North Coast Shield competition.

"It's always pretty even but Yamba and Byron Bay have always been up there,” he said.

Fixtures tip-off from 7.30am on Sunday at the Grafton Sports Centre.