COVID-19 struck the basketball community after a Warrnambool Mermaid player tested positive last Sunday evening after Round Five of the Country Basketball League was played at Mount Gambier’s Icehouse stadium last weekend.
The female player performed well at the Icehouse before testing positive to a rapid antigen test when she returned to Victoria in the evening.
The team played against the Mount Gambier Lakers who secured a 55 to 49 win.
The Icehouse is open again after being closed for two days following the report of the positive case.
Lakers coach Bryan Green said all players had to be double vaccinated in order to play and hoped if any local players tested positive, they would only have mild symptoms.
“We do have a game this coming weekend at this stage and we are hoping to be able to play,” Green said.
“It is against Portland who also played the Mermaids on Saturday night so they might be in the same boat as us, we don’t know.”
Green said so far the players exposed were in isolation and monitoring symptoms, taking tests when needed.
“It is a bit worrying that this has happened but we are hoping it will sort itself out,” he said.
In terms of the weekend’s game, Green congratulated the players on a successful win.
“Mermaids were a really good team and were at the top before the weekend,” he said.
“All season they hadn’t lost a game until we beat them and the girls just came through and got the job done.”
Georgia Winter topped the score sheet for the Lakers, reaching 14 points throughout the game.
Winter was one of many reaching the double digit scores alongside Tara Byrant and Keryl Ousey.
The Lakers took home the win after leading in all quarters.
“Winter has been training for the Pioneers for a couple of weeks and we knew we would be short for the weekend so I asked if she wanted to play with us and she agreed,” Green said.
“She was fantastic, played really well as we knew she would and fitted in with the girls as well.”
Green also congratulated Ousey and Byrant for their play on Sunday and said it was good seeing junior players step up.
The team also played the Horsham Hornets on Saturday over the border, where Winter also scored 22 points.
Mikaela Horrigan and Sophie Miles joined Winter and Ousey in scoring double digits for the game with Green proud of the effort.
The Lakers once again took the lead in all quarters to win 85 to 63.
“Overall in both games each girl did their part and made the wins,” he said.
“Considering how young the girls are, they are doing a fantastic job.”
Mount Gambier Men’s Lakers also played over the weekend with a successful game held against the Warrnambool Seahawks.
Winning 99 to 89, the Lakers welcomed Pioneers coach Tom Daly to the team where he scored an outstanding 29 points.
In the first quarter, the Lakers had the upper hand reaching 27 to 21 against the Seahawks who soon took hold of the lead in the second quarter by two points.
The Lakers fought back, scoring 31 to 25 before the two teams scored a tie in the fourth quarter at 26 points each.
Daly performed well in the first game he played for the Lakers stating it was difficult to find players.
“We have struggled for numbers and had a lot of hurdles across the year with border restrictions,” Daly said.
“I am working myself back into basketball shape and do miss playing but it was good to have a run around.”
Daly said he enjoyed playing on the team and congratulated the Seahawks on their quality game-play.
“We as a team have been starved of opportunities to play over the past few years so it will be good to continue playing in the future,” he said.
“There were other amazing players, including Sam Stafford and Kyle Tipene, and considering the guys were coming off their break time it did take them a while to work into the game.
“Stafford was really strong around the basket and is such a talented athlete and Tipene has been the star of his league the entire time.”
Stafford scored 20 points for the game, followed by Tipene with 18.
Jak Ryan also reached double digits, hitting 10 points for the game.