Kaipara Basketball Association chair Blake Worsfold says the only thing holding back the meteoric growth of basketball in the district is a lack of facilities.
Worsfold immediately saw the demand when the association was founded in 2017 and 80 children signed up.
Since then, it has grown to 250 players across all programmes.
The association holds programmes in most of the major centres in the district.
Seventy players are currently enrolled in the “mini ball” training at the Kaiwaka Sports Complex.
The association runs a primary school tournament and an intermediate school tournament each year, as well as a 3×3 tournament for Years 9 and 10 teams at Otamatea High School.
For the first time this year, it expanded to Dargaville with a “walking basketball” programme for players with injury or disability.
The latest project that Worsfold is excited about is a new whanau basketball competition, with teenagers and parents on the same team. It is expected to be held next term at the Kaiwaka Sports Complex on Thursday evenings.
“Our number one goal is to promote basketball to as many people as possible.”
Kaipara Basketball runs its programme for low or no cost and runs on volunteer coaching and support. Worsfold himself joined after arriving back to Kaiwaka from teaching in Africa for four years.
“We want players to provide opportunities for other players into elite pathways, regardless of their socio-economic background,” he says.
The association has begun fielding representative under-11 and under-13 teams, playing in the Tribal Wars Northland competition and the Blitz Tournament in Whangaparaoa.
Worsfold hopes they will soon also compete in Hoop Nation in Tauranga and possibly even Australia.
A senior men’s competition in Mangawhai has also begun with six teams. The association had to turn away three teams because there is only one court available for one evening a week.
Worsfold says what the district needs is a centrally located three-court multisport stadium.
In the meantime, the association has been well supported by the Kaiwaka Sports Association with low-cost venue hire.