A new era of wheelchair basketball in the region will begin next weekend.
The Shepparton Rolla Gators will take to the court on June 17 in their first competitive hit-out against the Bendigo Wheelchair Braves.
‘‘I think it is fantastic, it’s really good for us,’’ Greater Shepparton Basketball Association manager Tony Long said.
‘‘I’ve had emails (from participants) who are over the moon with the whole thing, and that’s where we want it to be.’’
The match will serve as a precursor to the Big V Basketball division one match between the Gators and Bulleen Boomers, with Long hopeful supporters would get to the game early and cheer on the Rollas.
‘‘We want to keep pushing it out there so more people come along,’’ he said.
‘‘The important thing is that it isn’t just wheelchair-bound people who can play, anyone can come down.’’
Formerly the Goulburn Valley Wheelies, the Rollas will come under the Gators’ banner after the association approached them looking to increase basketball’s inclusiveness in the region.
‘‘It is absolutely about inclusiveness, but also about the brand,’’ Long said.
‘‘We at the Greater Shepparton Basketball Association should all be under the same banner, and we’re absolutely happy that they want to join that banner and work with us.’’
●The under-16 Shepparton Gator girls struggled to match up with a strong Korumburra side on Friday night, losing 55-20.
The round 10 fixture was the first of the second half of the season.
‘‘It was a tough road trip,’’ coach Tony Long said.
‘‘We’ve got some team building to do, but we’re still well within contention.’’
An even spread of contributors was once again the theme of the Gators’ playing style, with six members of the roster scoring, despite only putting up 20 points for the game.
Brydie Keating, Lilli Keck and Ella Cirillo led the way with four points each, while Nonie Shipston (three points), Dayna Williams (three) and Charlotte Thomas (two) all found the basket in the defeat.
The girls sit sixth on the Victorian Junior Basketball League’s Metro Two ladder, just two points behind Collingwood, which the Gators will host after the long weekend bye.
Meanwhile, the under-16 Gator boys continue to rest up for a renewed charge at Victorian Championship Reserve success, and will also return to the court after the long weekend against Diamond Valley.