This time next week WBC teams will be preparing to make the trip to Tauranga to begin their 2018 campaigns. This year’s WBC promises to be a good one with a number of teams stepping up their efforts from last year. Two teams that are excited about what lies ahead are the Tauranga City Coasters who will enjoy home court advantage on opening weekend and the Waikato Wizards who will boast a strong roster in 2018.
Tauranga City Coasters
The Coasters will be led by new coach, Tony Webster who takes over the reins from long-standing mentor Rachel Gwerder. Webster inherits a largely familiar squad that includes the Rogers sisters, Cairyn-Marie and Briarley as well as forward Makayla Daysh and experienced guard Courtney Wilson.
Although the team is young Courtney Wilson believes the Coasters will benefit from the continuity in the squad with a similar group that played in the 2017 returning this year.
“At 22 I think I’m the second oldest player on the team. We have much the same team as last season although we have had Natasha Glasson join our squad and Rebecca Hughes return from college.”
Wilson says that playing the first WBC Tournament in Tauranga is an advantage for her team.
“With some players having to manage work commitments and Maka (Daysh) also having to juggle her rugby obligations it will be helpful that we don’t have to travel until later in the season.”
Daysh was hugely influential in 2017. She averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds per game during the play-offs, form that earned her selection for the New Zealand Premier team.
Hughes spent the last two years at Florida SouthWestern State College but the left-handed guard makes a welcome return to the Coasters fold.
Former Canterbury age-group rep Glasson has recently moved to Tauranga and is open to what the WBC has install for her and her team this season.
“I’ve just started a new job in Tauranga after graduating as an occupational therapist. I didn’t really expect to be playing serious basketball again so we will see how it goes.”
The Coasters begin their campaign at home against the Otago Gold Rush on Friday May 4th tip-off 7.30pm at Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre, Tauranga.
The full draw is available here.
The Wizards will be a threat in 2018 and have some exciting international talent on their roster. National 3X3 coach, Anthony Corban believes the team has a good mix of youth and experience.
“We’ve got a lot of Under 19 and Under 23 players but we also have some WBC veterans in Tash Lenden and Miri Stevens.”
Corban has been particularly impressed with how some of the players new to the WBC level have adjusted to the higher standard of play.
“It’s been really good to see some our new WBC players come in and pick things up quickly.”
The Wizards will be led on the court by new Tall Fern, Charlisse Leger-Walker who recently became the youngest ever player to wear the national singlet. Leger-Walker should be able to share some of the offense load with Kaylee Smiler who averaged 18.0 points per game during the playoffs last year.
The Wizards were unlucky last year, losing just the one game before the playoffs. This year Corban believes they will need to stay focused and learn quickly on the court.
“Age group enthusiasm will need to be tempered with better on court decision making at WBC level.”
The Wizards will open their account with a tough clash against defending champs, the Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats on Friday at 5.45pm at the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre, Tauranga.
The full draw is available here.