Thursday, March 28, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

First Time In 40 Years Local Boys Make NQ Basketball Squads

Height: 6’4
Age: 15
Position: Centre, Power Forward

Height: 6’2
Age: 16
Position: Small Forward, Shooting Guard

Two local boys are celebrating a once in a generation sporting achievement, with both junior athletes recently selected to play in their respective Northern Region School Sport (NRSS) Basketball teams.

16-year-old Liam Steen is now playing in the Under 19’s team and his sporting buddy, 15-year-old Chaz Calder is in the Under 16 squad.

Both boys were awarded their place within a week of each other and have since found out how long it has been since a Whitsunday local achieved a similar level when vying against highly-competitive Townsville players.

Beating almost 50 other competitors to secure their position, the two youngsters said they are thrilled to have been accepted and excited about what the future might hold.

The two boys developed a strong friendship on the court when they realised they were both equally talented and skilled at playing basketball.

Liam has been playing basketball for two and a half years, and Chaz, started at the beginning of 2022 when his parents purchased a hoop for their yard.

Since the basketball first touched their hands, they’ve both been playing as much as possible every day since, which is a key reason to their success.

Liam, who also recently played for the Under 23 Mackay Meteors at an intercity tournament in Rockhampton, said he tried out for the NRSS team last year but was unsuccessful and went back this year hoping to get in.

“I was disappointed when I just missed out on last year's trials so thought I had a good chance this year,” he said.
Chaz also played well and said he tried to be as confident as he could so that he was noticed by the scouts.

“It was mainly just skill and outplaying the other people that were there,” he said.

Although in different age groups, the boys play together most days, meeting at training sessions and connecting over basketball and then carpooling to trainings together.

Chaz plays in his first NRSS game in Cairns on Wednesday 8 May and Liam’s is on Wednesday 22 May in Townsville.

Once they’ve competed at this level there is a chance they could be picked for the Queensland School Sports Team, which is what both boys are hoping for.

After school both of them have an idea of their futures.

Liam wants to go into finance or sport and Chaz wants to help people and become a police officer.

Liam Steen (left) and Chaz Calder (right) - Photo credit: Rachael Smith

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