Baptist Basketball is a great way to introduce Christ to your friends and colleagues, to catch up with other Christians and of course …. Exercise!
Held at Lakeside Recreation Centre, the season runs most Saturdays (Ex. Public Holidays) from late March through to September. The grand final is held on the Saturday prior to the long weekend. Multiple divisions are available in our Juniors', Men’s and Women’s competitions, along with a social mixed competition available for the fun and exercise without being overly competitive. Nominations remain open from the start of February until Baptist Basketball’s AGM, held approximately three weeks before the season commences.
For those people who have a competitive spirit, the West Australian Baptist Basketball Association, in conjunction with Baptist Basketball Associations from other states, offers an interstate carnival held in January each year (rotating state venue), with Men’s and Women’s divisions ranging from a competitive D Grade to an SBL level A Grade.
WA Baptist Basketball - the friendly competition.
Here is a little bit of unconfirmed history regarding who has been heading up the competition over the years and where it has been.
The association was established sometime in the 60s (we think) and was based outdoors at Cannington Senior High School. We’ve no idea who oversaw the competition in those early days, so if anyone knows any details, please contact us.
During the 70s play moved from there to Kent St Senior High School (also outdoors). Only senior grades were catered for at the beginning, but soon after an under 14 and under 16 competition was started. Laurie Raynor ran the competition in the early 70s and, with Gary Archer, helped establish the Australian Baptist Basketball Carnival in 1973. Ten players travelled to Melbourne for the very first carnival to compete against South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Gary Archer took over the running of the Baptist competition from Laurie and then handed over to Lindsay Nelthorpe.
At Kent St, we used 4 courts. In those days, the first two timeslots were for Juniors (10 am and 11 am). For the seniors, each court was dedicated to one grade (A, B, C or D) and the games concluded at 3:00 pm. Then, as the number of teams expanded, the day lengthened.
The WA Baptist Netball Association also played at Kent St, creating a great social atmosphere. Grand Finals were played at Perry Lakes Stadium and then moved to Swan Districts Midlands Stadium.
In the early 80s Lindsay Nelthorpe (convenor) handed the reins back to Gary Archer for a year or two. Then in 1984 Gary handed over to Bevan Shaw who also doubled as court manager. In 1984 the association became the proud owner of a bright blue three-sided tent, which gave the court managers a place to shelter when the rain came or when the sun got too intense. On those hotter days we had a large esky full of cool drinks (mainly Coke) which could be purchased for 50 cents. And to cart all of this stuff (plus a table, eight Voit nylon basketballs and scoresheets) to and from the courts, we acquired a small trailer through Brian Anderson (many thanks Brian). We think the tent was obtained through David and Caroline Masters.
The association started a women’s competition at Kent St in the mid-1980s.
Negotiations commenced with the then new Willetton Stadium to move the competition indoors. Roger Schulz saw these negotiations through to completion in 1987 and held the position of convenor each year at Willetton, then for the one year at Cockburn and Willetton combined.
Wayne Mordue started up our under 12s competition, playing at Willetton Senior High School in 1989.
1987 - The move indoors
1992 - Lakeside Recreation Centre
Roger Schulz was still convenor when the competition moved to its present home at Lakeside. There, an under 18s mens and under 16 girls competition was started.
After Roger Schulz left, Geoff Louwen (1995-6) took the position for two years, eventually handing over to Ross Britza, in 1997.
1997 - Men's A Fully Timed
In 1997 we started fully timed games for the Men’s A grade. Fully timed games began for Women’s A grade in 1998. 1998 also saw the first time the competition celebrated with an end-of-season trophy and praise evening.
2000 - The New Millennium
In 2000, Ray Shaw stood in as convenor for Ross, who was gearing up for his stint as President of the Baptist Union. Then in 2001, Ashley Brian from Wembley Downs took on the convenor role. He brought to the role, youthful energy and enthusiasm.
Fundraisers were held during that season, with the monies being donated to Lakeside for improvement to the score boards.
The end of season awards night in 2001 was the best yet, with the premiership teams invited to sit at tables (ala Brownlow Medal Count) and the trophy dais situated to the left of the stage. These two initiatives focused all attention on the recipients of awards and the teams and really generated some atmosphere.
In 2002 we had 104 teams playing, 23 being junior teams. A mixed competition was introduced with 4 teams. Grand Final presentation again saw teams sitting at tables in front of the stands, with the general crowd in the stands.
The Juniors' competition expanded again in 2003 and, as a result of lots of hard work by Anthony Moses, Wendy Hopper, Bevan Shaw, Ashley and Tara Brian, an U16 Girls grade was reintroduced. The competition was growing slightly with 107 teams playing, 25 being junior teams and 8 mixed teams. Grand Final presentation format was switched from the "evening" to directly after each grand final time-slot. This proved very successful with teams being well represented and all-stars mostly present. Also in 2003, the allstar players were rewarded with a representative match against the WestChurch allstars at Warwick.
2004 - The Electronic Age
Once the fixtures had been finalised (thanks to a herculean effort from Seb Gerbaz) the 2004 season settled down. A new web-site for Baptist Basketball was set up in June and that, along with email, has become a useful tool to communicate to church reps and players.
2004 also saw the inauguration of two association honour awards.
The Life Members' honour roll was established to honour individuals who have contributed immensely to Baptist Basketball over a significant number of years. The first recipient of this honour was Caroline Masters, a passionate supporter and contributor to Baptist Basketball since the Kent St days. Caroline was administrator, secretary, treasurer, encourager and make-it-work-person for many years from the mid 1980s right up to 2000, and was instrumental in establishing the U16 girls competition during the 1990s.
The second honour award, named the Caroline Masters Award, is to recognise individuals who have made a significant and valuable contribution to Baptist Basketball during the current season. The 2004 honour went to Bevan Shaw for his work with juniors, the web-site, weekly statistics reporting and the end of season video clip.
Again, 2004 allstar recipients were rewarded with a representative match against the WestChurch allstars at Warwick Leisure Centre on 18th September 2004. A brief presentation ceremony followed each time slot with MVP for both teams receiving a medal and a small gift.
The 2005 All-star Saturday added a sausage sizzle to the program, which was again held at Warwick, the week after Baptist Basketball Grand Final Day. Also in 2005, the competition put some signage in the Lakeside stadium, advertising the Baptist Basketball logo and web-site. We recognised the huge contribution of Roger Schulz to Baptist Basketball by adding his name to the Life Members' honour roll. The magnificant efforts of Seb Gerbaz during 2005 did not go un-noticed and he was honoured with the Caroline Masters Award. A number of players who came through Baptist Basketball's junior ranks, or were a part of the Baptist Basketball competition, were instrumental members of Lakeside Lightning's first SBL premiership team. These players included Anthony Palmieri, Andrew Stock, Andrew Cochrane, Steve Butler and we're sure we've missed some.
2006 commenced with a reduced number of Junior teams, but the overall number of teams increased. Much of this increase is attributed to the movement of junior players into the senior ranks - highlighting the longer term benefits of sustaining a Junior competition. Josh Hills and Mike Vickridge played a big part in continuing to lift the standard of refereeing in 2005 and should be commended for their contribution to the well-being of the competition. During the successful Philippines basketball mission trip organised by Atwell's Greg Beacham, Baptist Basketball established links with a uniform manufacturer and a number of churches are taking the opportunity to obtain stunning new strips. At the end of the 2006 season, the association recognised Wayne Mordue with a Life Member's honour for establishing the U12's competition as well as his contribution to Carnival and Baptist Basketball programs at Riverton Baptist, Lakeside/Leeming and eventually Lakeside Baptist. Gary Bezant from Bentley Baptist received the 2006 Caroline Masters award for his untiring effort and superb organisation of the Bentley Baptist basketball teams. The season ended with the fourth All-Star Saturday between Westchurch and Baptist Basketball at Warwick Leisure Centre.
Going into the 2007 season, Ashley and Tara Brian continued to head up the association (as convenor and adminstrator), providing energy, direction and leadership.
In 2009, Matt and Louise Splatt took over from Ash and Tara, continuing the strong push for high levels of sportsmanship. The competition started to monitor technical and unsportsman-like fouls (flagrant fouls) more closely, approaching repeat offenders and the relevant church representative. Maybe it was coincidence, but in 2010 the competition went for the whole season without any tribunal hearings.
2012 saw Ben Jefferies step up from being "just" a committee member to take on the role of convenor. Ben has brought his experience in sports management to the role - as well as his boundless energy and enthusiasm. With Ben's support, Bec Grant started a Facebook page for the competition - Baptist Basketball WA. It's in its early days, but will no doubt increase in usage as time goes by. The committee was strengthened with an increase in numbers, making it the largest committee ever (we think). A push for junior teams early in the 2012 season helped with an increase in U14 and U16 teams. And the Mixed competition continues to be very popular.
But above all this, we praise God who continues to bless the competition, allowing churches and Christian schools to run a sports based outreach ministry to young people.