Steve Minnikin the State Member for Chatsworth gave the following speech in State Parliament yesterday.
I rise in this chamber today to proudly talk about one of the Chatsworth electorate’s undoubted sporting success stories—the Carina Leagues Club Lady Spartans basketball team, which recently won the SEABL women’s championship. A few weeks ago they travelled down to Melbourne and took on Hobart in the final and won the championship 75 points to 59.
To put this magnificent victory into context, the SEABL basketball league is the second highest competition in Australia—the South East Australian Basketball League—and is just below the NBL competition. The Southern Districts Basketball Association, of which the Lady Spartans are a part, is a proud association and boasts the strongest junior program in Queensland. They have recently reclaimed the Vince Hickey trophy for the best association in Queensland for the third year running and the Harold Peacock trophy for the best association in the greater Brisbane area for the sixth year running. They have multiple state and Australian representatives and pride themselves on providing pathways for these talented junior players to continue playing basketball, both here and overseas.
Southern districts is the only Queensland association in this competition, having joined in 2006. In comparison to all the others playing, they are definitely the financial minnows. The majority of funds raised to enable these players to compete week in and week out is driven by a dedicated group of volunteers and a generous sponsor and supporter base. Barbecues, raffles and other forms of fundraising is a weekly occurrence around the Clem Jones Centre to ensure the teams can take the court week in and week out.
This year the Carina Leagues Club Lady Spartans defied all the critics and won their way into the national SEABL grand final. Of the 12 players who suited up for the final, six of them are Spartans juniors who have returned to their home association with a keen desire to bring success.
To take home the title the Lady Spartans had to beat the Hobart Lady Chargers. It was an incredible defensive effort from the Lady Spartans that saw them take out the women’s championship after holding Hobart to their equal second lowest total of the season. Brisbane’s nervous start had them trailing zero to 10 after three minutes. But switching to a full court press kicked them into gear and they took a two point lead into quarter time. They held that advantage for most of the game and, although Hobart closed within five in the final term, the Lady Spartans were always in control and streaked away.
The championship is the second in the Lady Spartans eight year history and comes after three straight seasons of missing the play-offs. I had the honour of speaking to the players and coaching staff during the final series and was so impressed with their professionalism and skill. These ladies are indeed champions both on and off the court. I am incredibly proud of them all. I also congratulate all the club officials, coaching staff and supporters. It turned out to be a brilliant season for the Lady Spartans.