Through the gap . . . Simon Davis, of The Otters, fires the ball into the key. PHOTO: DAVE BOYLE

The Waitaki Community Recreation Centre’s summer mixed basketball competition has opened right up this year, manager Di Talanoa says.

In the absence of some of the previous competition heavyweights, and with the addition of some new teams, there had been a change in the ranks this season and it was making the competition ‘‘a bit more interesting’’, Talanoa said.

The mixed league started in 2017 and has been a great addition to the summer sporting scene in the Waitaki district.

Twelve teams were entered in the pre›Christmas league, and eight teams had entered in the New Year, which Talanoa was ‘‘really pleased’’ about, given the limitations with Covid›19.

‘‘It was fantastic to get eight teams in the competition and everyone’s got stuck in and seem to be really enjoying it,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve got a couple of new teams, and we’ve got some of the ongoing stalwarts who have been supporting the competition for its entirety, which is great.

‘‘And there’s a mix of younger ones and older, more wily players, who use the brain more than the body, and that’s great. There’s been some good close games, as well.’’
Covid-19 had served up a few challenges, with one team having to default a game due to players being in isolation.

‘‘We’re going to get a little bit of that,’’ she said.

But overall, the Wednesday night competition had a really positive vibe, the level of basketball was good, and there was great sportsmanship on display, she said.

‘‘It’s just really cool to see it running and people are loving having the basketball — and, of course, they’re loving the new floors and the new lights.’’

The post-Christmas competition got under way in early February, and there is just one round of regular competition to go before semifinals and finals.

The Oamaru Mail went to print before the results of the second last regular round of competition was played, but the Oamaru Lakers and The Reapers were sitting at the top of the table, followed closely by The Otters and the Air Ballers.

‘‘These teams have usually performed there or thereabouts in previous seasons, but it is The Otters who are really showing an improvement in rankings,’’ Talanoa said.

Talanoa thanked all of the referees who volunteered their time to officiate the games each week

‘‘We take our hats off to them because it’s a big commitment and they keep doing it.’’