Runako House and Meekhan Schuurman.
Runako House and Meekhan Schuurman.

Maranoa basketballers make top squad, club reaches their target

FIVE years ago, Harry Gane told The Western Star “one day we will make it to state championships”, and now, that ambition is dangling right in front of them.

Harry’s dad, Mat Gane, president of Maranoa Basketball Association is beyond proud to give credit to two players – Runako House and Meekah Schuurman who were selected for the Darling Downs school-based competition.

“That’s our strike rate – to have two or three players each year from MBA to be selected,” the MBA president said.

“It’s a tremendous honour for them, but also recognition for us that our program is of a good standard and it’s enough to ensure kids are developing.

“It’s a good benchmark for us and we’re quite proud of these achievements.

“We have great players here which are all concentrated in the Under 14s and 18s.”

For 12-year-old Runako House, who has been playing the sport for five years, said he’s stoked to have been chosen for the Darling Downs competition.

“I love the teamwork and getting to interact with different people,” he said.

“I’ve travelled to the Gold Coast and Toowoomba for basketball for statewide trials for the Queensland team.”

Fortunately for MBA, they may attend their first ever state championships early next year.

“We’re still hopeful to have a good squad for that competition,” he said.

“Harry said five years ago that ‘one day we will make it to state championships’ and five years on, we think we’ve made it.

“We knew back then, we weren’t going to be competitive and now we’re there.

“But we’ve just got to keep working hard.

“Now more than ever, during COVID – team sport is so important especially with everyone’s mental health.

“And at the end of the day, we’re just trying to provide a service to the community and want the kids to have fun.”

For now, the players are currently competing in the Queensland Junior basketball competitions across the state.

From Hervey Bay up to Rockhampton and Emerald, then down to Roma – players and their parents will travel about 5000km in the next few weeks.

“In the southwest, we’re unable to play week in, week out to get our carnival going so a couple of years ago, we joined this other competition to enable our kids to develop,” he said.

“It’s the distance that’s the difficulty for us – it’s a mixture of getting involved in a good competition then the resources, coaches, travel and costs but we’re making it work.”

Their next five year plan? Mr Gane said they hope to have better access to stadiums, infrastructure development and grow their player base.

“We have a great asset with Roma State College allowing us to play here and we’ve been blessed with sponsors this year which is thanks to the Roma community for getting behind us.”

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