Emerald Chargers Under 18 team. Front: Emmanuel Lepani, Clancy Harrison, Jason Lilje, Dominic Davis, Daley Catip. Back: Assistant coach Ben Mawson, Sonny Slattery-Porter, Kye Walsh, Kyal Prewett, Blake Shields, Mitchell Brewer, team manager Mon Prewett and head coach Chris Podolak.
Emerald Chargers Under 18 team. Front: Emmanuel Lepani, Clancy Harrison, Jason Lilje, Dominic Davis, Daley Catip. Back: Assistant coach Ben Mawson, Sonny Slattery-Porter, Kye Walsh, Kyal Prewett, Blake Shields, Mitchell Brewer, team manager Mon Prewett and head coach Chris Podolak.

Emerald team undefeated in CQ basketball comp

An Emerald basketball team is heading to the state competition on the Gold Coast after finishing undefeated at the Central Queensland Junior Basketball Competition (CQJBC).

The U18 Emerald Chargers team won all 12 games over three rounds in October, November and December against clubs from Rockhampton, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Maranoa.

Competing as part of the U18 Boys Division 2 category, the Emerald Chargers finished their winning streak with a score of 55-32 against the Hervey Bay Hurricanes.

Team manager Mon Prewett said it was the first time an Emerald team has been undefeated at the CQJBCs.

“[It’s] a great achievement for all the boys and their coaches,” she said.

“CQJBC is always a tough competition. [There are] some very talented players from these teams, but the determination these boys have shown and the ‘never die’ attitude has paid off.”

The CQJBC is an association-level representative competition for players in the Under 12 to Under 18 age groups who live north of the Sunshine Coast and south of Mackay.

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It gives elite junior players in Central Queensland the opportunity to compete against other Basketball Queensland affiliated associations in a manner that is not restricted by distance and travel.

Head coach Chris Podolak said the team’s preparation gave them an edge, despite playing tough games in high 30 degree heat.

“They have trained ultra-hard and the results speak for themselves,” he said.

“They also have a never die attitude and will not give up for anything.

“We have been down by large margins and the lads have dug in deep and won the game.”

Podolak said a five of the boys had played together since Under 12, improving together and forming a brotherhood in the team.

“The biggest thing I’m most proud of is the change in attitude.

“When I first got the team, they were struggling to win games and the attitude was ‘it doesn’t matter we are going to lose anyway’.

“It now sits with the team being undefeated at all three CQJBCs and making the goal of winning gold at the state championships in January at the Gold Coast.”

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The team will travel to the state competition to compete from January 13 to 17, giving them the opportunity to play some of the bigger teams in Brisbane and surrounding areas.

“As their coach, the sky is the limit and a gold is definitely within grasp,” Podolak said.

“The dedication, not only from the boys, but from the families involved have been the true shining light of our U18s program.

“Their commitment to take the boys to trainings, games and help out with anything that’s asked shows the togetherness of this brilliant group.”