ORANGE is in the midst of a basketball boom.
Both Orange High School and Canobolas Rural Technology High School senior teams have made it through to the final 16 in the state at this year’s NSW Combined High Schools knockout.
Giving the sport a significant lay-up, both OHS coach Terry Baker and his Canobolas counterpart Carmen Dederer believe this year is the first time both high school sides have successfully qualified for the final 16 stage.
“For both (Western Region representatives) to be from Orange is an even bigger achievement, it’s amazing. I don’t ever remember it happening,” Dederer said, with schools from Bathurst or Dubbo usually prominent figures on the region’s basketball landscape.
“I can’t remember it happening in the girls either.”
Canobolas was dominant in its qualification, going unbeaten throughout the lead-up games in the Western Region.
OHS, though, used plenty of luck to progress.
“We had a draw, a win by a point with three seconds to go and then won the semi-final pretty easily. It was tight with Dubbo and Lithgow. We were lucky to get through,” Baker said.
Both sides are still waiting on notification of their next round opponent, however, Baker says OHS will potentially face the toughest round of 16 clash out of any at this year’s NSW CHS knockout.
“Most likely it’ll be Hunter Sports High, they play Winmalee and they’ll most likely win that ... they’re a gun team and they’ll probably win the comp all up,” Baker said.
“It’ll be an experience for the boys.”
And that’s what OHS and Canobolas plan on taking from this year’s knockout - experience.
There’s just three Year 12 kids across both squads and with such young outfits showing enough basketball promise to progress this far in 2014, their respective NSW CHS knockout campaigns in 2015 have the potential to be blockbusters.
“We’ll be back again next year,” Baker predicted.
“And plus for us, the Astley Cup and the Gosford trip, we’re getting ready for those. It’s good for us. We normally lose to Dubbo and Bathurst but we’ve knocked them out. It’s looking pretty good.”
The NSWCHS final 16 in the state will reach its next stage in the coming months, with the final date to be determined once all of the finalists are confirmed.