Biloela see keen basketball players swarming onto the court when the season starts next week. After a considerable hiatus, this popular sport is back in Bilo thanks to the efforts of coach Travis Fisher, the support of local volunteers and the enthusiasm from those wanting to lace up their shoes and get those balls swishing into the basket.
Travis first started playing at the age of 8 and made state squads as a player. Based at Yarrabilba Basketball in Brisbane, Travis has been coaching full-time for the past 10 years, and he’s currently coaching the state league women’s team as well as a 14s rep team.
Just how did Travis help basketball bounce back into Bilo?
“I decided to come up for a clinic in January, because I do a lot of clinics around Queensland, especially in country areas and towns that don’t have actual basketball associations yet,” Travis said. “And I think it was my last clinic – I’d done about 3000 kilometres once I got to Bilo. I had 37 kids here, so it was quite large. And then a few of the parents asked if I could try and get something started in the town. Even though I’m in Brisbane, I can do all the tedious admin stuff so I just decided to try to get it off the ground. I think a lot of people have gone for it.
“But the biggest thing it will really rely on is a lot of volunteers and people keeping it going in the town. I’m going to come up for the first week of the season, just to make sure it’s run how I’d like it to be run, but I obviously can’t be here every week. So, we had a meeting with some people that are volunteers. You’ve actually got a FIBA (International Basketball Federation) level referee living in the town, which I don’t even have in Brisbane at the moment. So that’s a big plus. So, the games will be refereed properly. And there are people who have played basketball previously as well.”
Travis was back in Biloela this week for a coaching clinic on Tuesday and Wednesday, held on the Redeemer Lutheran College basketball court, with about 25 kids in attendance over both days learning drills and skills in readiness for the start of the season.
The junior season begins on Friday, April 22, with about 40 players registered, while the senior season (for adults) begins on Thursday, April 21.
The junior Biloela Bees will be split into three age groups, Travis explained. “The little group, of 5 to 8-year-olds, will be on a half court, we’ll lower the hoop and they’ll get about half an hour of game time. The biggest age group at the moment is the 9 to 12s, and then there’s the 13-17s.
“If we get another influx of sign-ups we’ll have to cap numbers, unfortunately, with the PCYC out of order,” Travis said.
With the Biloela PCYC building permanently closing after it received extensive damage during a storm, there is now only one indoor basketball court in town – the one at Redeemer. Travis said that while the town did have some outdoor courts, they were not really usable.
“We’ll get the season running here first, and we’ll go from there. I think the big thing is if we do get an excess of numbers, we may have to move juniors to two different days. That’ll be the only way we can do that until something happens with another court. But it’s not a bad issue to have if you’re struggling for courts because people want to play the sport. We’re just trying to get everyone in.”
With the season so close to starting, things are getting exciting, with designs for jerseys for the Biloela Bees currently being mocked up. First Grade Contract Maintenance has come on board as the jersey sponsor and there are opportunities for other local sponsorship.
Travis is pleased with how locals have embraced the return of basketball to Biloela. “It’s been awesome. Years ago, there used to be a fair bit of basketball here, so there’s still plenty of people that really love it, and it’s kind of massive everywhere now.”
The budding Biloela Bees are already keen to spread their wings and played further afield.
“After a couple of seasons of them getting used to actual structured basketball, we’ll probably take a couple of teams away to a tournament or two throughout the year,” Travis said. “I think there’s a couple of country tournaments, if we’re up to it, and we can always go to Gladstone and Rocky, and play those guys. There’s actually some really talented kids already. No one’s taught them how to play basketball. They just self-taught basketball players, and they’re already got a lot of skill. So, if they get a whole season of basketball, they’ll be super.”
Whether you are a junior or senior player, if you would like to get involved in the new basketball season, then check out Biloela Bees Basketball | Facebook. All the contact details are there so you can get in touch with Travis and let him know you are interested.
Good luck to everyone getting involved in our local bee-ball games and hopefully the season will get off to a flying start!