STEPPING UP: Casey Dunn was a standout performer for the Rockhampton under-16 girls' team, showing impressive playing and leadership skills.
STEPPING UP: Casey Dunn was a standout performer for the Rockhampton under-16 girls' team, showing impressive playing and leadership skills. Jann Houley

Rocky U16 teams compete in CDC carnival over weekend

BASKETBALL: Rockhampton's Hegvold Stadium was bursting with cheering crowds and young talent over the weekend's two-day Central District Carnival.

The under-16 carnival was a qualifier for seeding in April's state titles.

The division one girls' team, coached by Tyrone Dunn, gave Bundaberg a run for their money, taking out 72-57 and 61-53 wins.

The team also took on Gladstone but fell short 58-66.

A clear standout on the court was Casey Dunn, who not only rallied her squad but kept the offensive play coming strong.

"Casey has really taken on some leadership and really applied herself,” division one boys' coach Jordana Brady said.

"She led that group from the front which was really good to see.

"She's one of our local state performance players and has been selected in the state squad.

"She's what you expect to see in players; stepping up and being leaders.

"It was a good weekend for her to build on that confidence.”

On Brady's team, the boys finished with two wins and two losses.

"We went OK but there was definitely room for improvement but there were lots of positive steps forward,” she said.

"It wasn't exactly what we were chasing but there were positive signs leading into the rest of the season.”

In the team's first game against Gladstone, they lost 62-93 and 63-69 in the second.

Against Bundaberg, the team rallied and pulled off 79-57 and 64-71 wins.

"We definitely got better over the course of the weekend and were moving in a positive direction,” Brady said.

"I was really happy with the whole team and they all contributed really well as a group.

"Ben Tweedy really stepped up as a leader. Jack Millgate showed he can be a presence under the basket and Elijah Barnaby was a really good offensive rebounder for us and gave us lots second opportunities.

"We'll be going away but I'm not sure what division we'll be going in yet.”

The team will head to Gladstone on March 2-3 to redeem themselves and hopefully secure a division one spot in the state titles. They will focus on their defence, docking, securing and "taking care of the ball”.

"We can't afford to give them second and third opportunities because that's what hurt us in the first game,” Brady said.

The division two boys, coached by John MacDonald, took out three wins but lost to Maryborough in their first game 63-64.

"They beat Emerald 63-67, beat Hervey Bay 81-43 and beat Maryborough 61-41,” Brady said.

"They've improved so much since they went to Bundy last year, which is really good to see.

"They'll definitely be going to states but will go through in one of the lower divisions, because as there's so many teams in our region now - which is so awesome - they've created a division two and only one team can go into division one.”

Brady said a carnival like this was also important for providing exposure.

"Geographically it's tough so playing these other guys is really important,” she said.

"The crowd was awesome and the amount of people who came out to support us was phenomenal.

"It was a good opportunity for us to kind of step up and be leaders within our association and show those younger guys what's expected to be as professional as possible.

"We had some guys who'd finished junior rep and who'll be Rockets development players, show support and leadership to our players and help on the bench.”