ON GUARD: Kash Gerard (Grafton/black) guards Kai Barrett (Murwillumbah/Orange) as the Grafton Vikings took on Murwillumbah in the North Coast Shield pre-season tournament in June.
ON GUARD: Kash Gerard (Grafton/black) guards Kai Barrett (Murwillumbah/Orange) as the Grafton Vikings took on Murwillumbah in the North Coast Shield pre-season tournament in June. Mitchell Keenan

North Coast Shield basketball expands to 41 teams

BASKETBALL: The North Coast Shield committee held an emergency meeting last Wednesday to discuss the rapid growth of their junior competition and how best to expand.

Junior team nominations this year rose from 29 to 41 prompting an reshuffle of the current format and the committee decided to split age groups up and add extra venues for upcoming tournaments.

North Coast Shield President Rebekah Wall commented on the process of the changes and the reasoning behind it.

"We have made some hard decisions after much discussion, with the available association delegates and these decisions were made in the best interest of all participants of North Coast Shield and without compromising on the important things North Coast Shield is known for,” Wall said.

"The surprising but pleasing growth in North Coast Shield has seen the older age Groups (U14 Boys - U18 Boys) needing four courts each round.”

"The focus of the changes are equality of competition and convenience for both parents and competing kids.

The Grafton Sports Centre is a proposed venue for U10 to U14 age groups on September 8 while Lismore and Ballina will likely be utilised for the expansion of the competition.

Younger age groups see the least changes, but U14 boys, U16 girls and boys and U18 boys will have to play all of their rounds at Lismore or Ballina due to size limitations at other venues.

The Murwillumbah Mustangs are a side that have included a team in the competition for the first time.

North Coast Shield Basketball are yet to fully confirm the changes but the growth of basketball in the North Coast region will be a welcome interest in the sport.