Saints strap in

The Tall Timbers Smithton Saints’ Haylee Saunders powers down the court during the side’s round one clash on Tuesday. Pictures: Ashleigh Force.

NWBU. A new season of the North West Basketball Union is underway with fresh Smithton Saints squads ready to go. 

The Tall Timbers Smithton Saints hosted Penguin Blues in a round one showdown in Smithton on Tuesday. 

Coached by Steve Poulter, the women’s side took to the court with young talent in Lily Nibbs, Bree Birtwistle, Chloe Birtwistle, Gabbi-Ella Johnson and Chloe French. 

Brooke Gorringe, Jo Morgan-French, Amy Birtwistle, Tammy Edwards and Haylee Saunders will provide experience to the team this season along with import Jacqlyn Poss. 

Taking on the Penguin Blues in the first game of the Bianca Memorial Shield, Smithton was struck by the strong offence of the opposition in the first quarter. 

The side recovered in the second term to string together promising patches of play however accuracy in shooting let the side down as the Blues stormed home with a 37 to 70 point win. 

Coached by Kurt Aherne with assistant coach Mathew ‘Wak’ Walker, the men’s side boasts a strong line-up of Poulter, Mitchell Stitz, Jordan Williams, Bradlee Hardy, Bryce Walters, Raymond Young and Mason Bragg. Strong recruiting in the off-season means the side also has Jamisen Sheehan, Mitchell Dunlop, Vaughan Blizzard, Jett Grey, Marshall Evans, Phillip Ferguson and import Jaylen Larry set for the court. 

In a competitive match, the opponents remained neck-and-neck throughout the contest as play rebound across the court. 

Following a fast paced four quarters, the Saints were caught six points shy of the Blues who took the victory, 79 to 85. 

In round two of the North West Basketball Union, the Smithton Saints travel to take on Ulverstone Hoppers tomorrow (Friday February 8) followed by a round three home game against Latrobe Demons on Tuesday (February 12). 

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