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Hoops in Launceston

OVER the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Eastern Shore-based team Dominoes Basketball Club travelled to Launceston to compete in Basketball Tasmania’s annual event, the Launceston Classic.

Represented by two teams, the Dominoes Thunder team was successful in winning its age group division.

The Dominoes Thunder team is a group of eight and nine-year olds who have been coached by Shaun Skelly for the past three years.

Mr Skelly said he entered the team in the under 12 division three roster for the 2019 Hobart domestic competition to provide them with more experience and challenges than the under 10 roster.

“After three games we got moved up to division two and we’re still doing really well – we currently sit first on the ladder and can’t get knocked off first spot before finals,” he said.

To help continue with the team’s development, Mr Skelly entered it in the under 10 division 1 competition in the Launceston Classic, the team’s proper age group.

Playing against teams from Burnie, Devonport and Launceston, the Dominoes Thunder managed to go through the competition undefeated, beating the Launceston Devils by one point in the grand final.

“They knew it was going to be tough up there, knew they had to step up because the teams would be a lot tougher, and every game they just grew and grew,” Mr Skelly said.

“We’ve got a really good mix of boys and they just work really well as a team.

“They play good team roles, know what their job is and do it really well.”

Having coached junior basketball for the past eight years, Mr Skelly said he enjoyed watching the players improve and that the team now had a lot of potential for the future.

“These boys have been together for about three years now and watching the improvement from then compared to where they are now is unbelievable,” he said.

“It makes me feel very proud as a coach to watch how far they have come.”

Nine-year-old player Rhys Joseph-Skelly said winning the grand final was a great feeling.

“We all felt geared up to go, and the team did really well to get a big enough score at the end,” he said.

Eight-year-old Ryan Lamprey was excited to win the grand final with the team.

“What I like about the team is that I have friends that help me out and encourage me when I struggle,” he said.

“Shaun is a great, enthusiastic, hardworking, and ‘if we do something wrong he’ll make us do push-ups’ type of coach.”

The Dominoes Basketball Club also recently received a grant from the Premier and Liberal Member for Franklin, Will Hodgman, for the purchase of new uniforms.

“Grant money, donations, sponsorship and the like are what allows us to obtain more for our players,” Dominoes Basketball Club president Daniel Ogg said.

“This grant has provided us with the financial need to cover half a team with new uniforms, which offsets the club requirement to outlay the full amount.

“It will allow us to have more children playing on courts as we can provide more uniforms for our players.”

Dominoes Basketball Club is the largest club on the Eastern Shore with 29 teams and 250 playing members in 2019.

It is a grassroots club that provides children and families with an avenue to be part of a community-spirited, family-friendly and warm environment.

For more information, contact dominoesbasketballclub@gmail.com or like the Dominoes Facebook page.

Caption: The under 10 Dominoes Thunder team came away with first place at the Launceston Classic under coach Shaun Skelly.