Basketball court overhaul nears completion

Nearly there: The roof, lighting and hoops are completed at the Merimbula basketball courts. Picture: Owen Humphreys.
Nearly there: The roof, lighting and hoops are completed at the Merimbula basketball courts. Picture: Owen Humphreys.

An acrylic surfacing is the only task left on the to-do list for an overhaul of the Merimbula Basketball Courts.

Club vice-president Owen Humphreys said they were delighted to see work nearing a finish after 20-years of fundraising efforts.

"I've been with the club since 2001 and all along there has been fundraising with the intent of walls or a roof," Mr Humphreys said.

Mr Humphreys praised Andrew Patty and Kerry Graham who had got the ball rolling two decades ago, but the project really gained momentum more recently.

"But it's been in the last three to five years we have really ramped up awareness and our membership has swelled to around 400."

Mr Humphreys said after a groundswell of local fundraising efforts, Member for Bega Andrew Constance and the Office of Sport had come through with a significant grant in 2019 to see the works completed.

It has seen a large roofing structure completed to protect the courts from the weather, a lighting system put in place for all four courts as well as drop down hoops that can be height altered to assist juniors.

"So it's a drop-down goal system we've got where they're suspended from the ceiling on a motorised winch," Mr Humphreys said.

At the touch of the button the hoops settle in to place at the standard height of 10-feet. However, Mr Humphreys said the nets can also be manually lowered a further two feet, which will aid development of junior players.

The roof features skylights, as well as lighting systems for all four courts.

"Bendigo Bank came to the party and helped us with that - we had enough funds to light two courts and they helped us to light all four," he said.

The courts will soon be opened for the club's regular competition, but the acrylic surface cannot be applied given the cold weather and will be laid on later in the year.

The surface will give some padding similar to a tennis court and feature a blue, yellow and grey motif to match the previous surface.

"It won't be much different to the previously where we had a plastic tactile surface, but it was dated and had run its race," Mr Humphreys said.

Mr Humphreys said some rep practice was done on Monday and players were already astounded by the upgrades.

"I had my under 14s rep girls there for training and that's just seven players let alone the 390-odd others who will benefit," he said.

An ingenious solution for electronic scoreboards will see the club using an app and mirroring that display to an LED television that is being built into a scorers desk.

With all the upgrades combined, Mr Humphreys believes the courts are now a regional drawcard and could attract inter-club and inter-town events.

As the completion draws near, Mr Humphreys commended the resilience and perseverance of the committee who have pushed the upgrades despite the challenges of Covid-19.

Mr Humphreys particularly praised club president Cliff Scarlett.

"You have to commend him, Cliff when he's not being Chief Wiggum is always doing something to support basketball," he beamed.

This story Basketball court overhaul nears completion first appeared on Merimbula News Weekly.