By Andrew Johnston
NSW Waratah League, round one
Who: Queanbeyan Yowies v Goulburn
Where: Queanbeyan Basketball Centre
When: Saturday, 3.30pm
THEY’VE lost their charismatic coach and their star player but the Queanbeyan Yowies are confident they can still go one better this season than last year’s disappointing preliminary-final defeat.
Under the guidance of ACT under-20s coach Nathan Arousi, the Yowies went within one game of the grand final last year before a sickening knee injury to all-star point guard Steph Perch cruelled Queanbeyan’s campaign.
It’s been more than six months since the Yowies titles hopes collapsed along with Perch’s anterior cruciate ligament but it’s a loss that still rankles.
“It is still a bit of a sore point,” Yowies captain Kristen Langhorn said. “With the team we had and the coach we had, we really should have taken out the championship last season.
“This year I think we’ve put together another great squad and we’re definitely talented enough to give it another shot.”
Along with Perch, Queanbeyan has also lost the services of stalwart Emma Anderson and defensive lynchpin Rachel McNaughton. In their place the Yowies will turn to the club’s emerging young talent with several members of this year’s ACT under-20s side set to step up at ‘The Den’.
“We’ve lost some of the girls from last season but we’ve got a couple of younger players from the ACT [program] coming through and they’re definitely talented enough,” Langhorn said.
“What we’ve lost in age we’ve gained in talent and those under-20s girls are going to be really handy for us.”
Langhorn pointed in particular to young point guard Rainsey Kevin as a player Queanbeyan will need to step up this season.
Kevin spent much of 2011 coming off the bench but will likely take over the starting point guard role for the Yowies in the side’s first game of the season against Goulburn this weekend.
“I think Raingsey is going to be big for us this year,” Langhorn said. “She’s improved out of sight since her time with the [ACT] under-20s at the start of the year.
“The idea of filling Steph’s shoes is still a bit daunting for her…she still probably doesn’t believe she’s good enough to take on the role but we’ve all been telling her she certainly is.”