The Bunbury Basketball Association is counting down the seconds ahead of the 2018/19 Senior Men’s and Women’s A-Grade competitions.
In the men’s league, 2017/18 champions Bulls will clash with Aces White on Court One from 7.30pm this Friday at the South West Sports Centre.
Court Three will host what’s expected to be a fiery tug-of-war between Tornadoes Red and Eaton Eagles.
At 9pm, Aces Sky will tussle with Dunsborough Oilers on Court Two.
Last year’s runners-up, Tornadoes Black, will launch its 2018/19 campaign in Round Two.
Tornadoes Black’s Lucas Goff celebrated earlier this year after being picked for the 2018 School Sport All Australian Team.
This year’s competition has expanded greatly compared to last year’s, with Eaton and Dunsborough making their debut.
Busselton Bullets men’s and women’s teams elected to pull out prior to the new season.
Bunbury Basketball Association senior director Rob Dempster was over the moon with the new, varied selection of teams.
"With Busselton taking a break this season, Dunsborough has stepped up to fill the gap in the men’s and women’s competitions,” Dempster said.
“Eaton is looking to provide a career path for its junior program and sees Bunbury's A-grade competitions as perfect for creating development opportunities for junior athletes.
“The Eagles will start the new season with a men’s team, with a view to establishing a women’s program maybe as early as next year.
“The Oilers will have six or seven home games while Eagles will likely end up with one or two home games for the season.”
Dempster has anticipated a thrilling season with powerful performances from all seven teams.
”I suspect the top four men’s sides from last year will be the teams to beat,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see if Tornadoes Red, Eagles, and Oilers can win enough games to earn finals spots.”
With Busselton taking a break this season, Dunsborough has stepped up to fill the gap in the men’s and women’s competitions.Bunbury Basketball Association senior director Rob Dempster
Round one of the 2018/19 women’s competition will include a showdown between Tornadoes Black and Dunsborough at 7.30pm on Court Two.
South West Slammer and reigning Bunbury Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Ebony Bilcich recently confirmed her return to Tornadoes Black for the new season.
At 9pm, 2017/18 runners-up, Tornadoes Red, will attempt to get off to a strong start against Aces Sky.
In a shock to organisers and fans, last season’s premiers, Bulls, could not field a team for the 2018/19 competition.
“With Bulls not returning, there is an open field,” Dempster asserted.
“The young, competitive Aces team will return that much more experienced and will likely have back a number of players that were lost last season to significant injuries.
“With the loss of Bulls and most of the Tornadoes Red team, the four sides are very even and should be able to deliver some competitive games.
“The Oilers have secured a number of last season's Busselton girls, so the experience will likely make the side competitive in its first season.”
Bunbury Basketball Association secretary Marina Quain and Aces Basketball Club junior director Nicole Craig were honoured at the Basketball WA 2018 Gala Awards Night last month.
Ms Quain received Country Administrator of the Year for her five years as secretary.
She was also recognised for her efforts in lobbying for additional multi-use courts at the South West Sports Centre.
Ms Craig was awarded Western Australian Basketball League Volunteer of the Year for her tireless volunteer work with the South West Slammers.