Round 1 Basketball Preview

Heavyweight clash opens exciting AIC basketball season


Something old and new combines when the AIC basketball season blasts into action with a clash between competition heavyweights Villanova College and St Edmund’s College tomorrow.


Villanova is shooting for its fifth consecutive AIC basketball aggregate trophy while St Edmund’s is eyeing the First V premiership that just eluded it during a gripping finish to last year’s season.


Villanova will unveil a First XV stacked with talent, speed and height – four players stand at least 204cm tall. Villanova won the 11A premiership last season but its depth is such that its First XV includes players from Year 9 and Year 10 while senior Lucas Boyland suits up for his third First V season.


Villanova’s roster includes Queensland junior squad members Will Mahoney and Harry Rouhliadeff. Point guard Mahoney will drive Villanova’s up-tempo game while Rouhliadeff’s 6’8” frame will add to the green and gold presence around the basket.


But Goold Hall at Villanova won’t be easy for the home team to defend as St Edmund’s arrives with a squad determined to claim Ipswich’s first outright open basketball premiership since 2001.


The Eddie’s men were set to end the drought last year before falling to eventual premiers Marist College Ashgrove in a memorable round six clash.


St Edmund’s basketball coordinator Mark Aiken said his First XV would benefit from their experience in close matches, including last year’s clash with Villanova which was decided by one point.


“There is a great culture here and these players are really pushing a positive basketball culture themselves,” Mr Aiken said. “They don’t really care which player scores and (their) chemistry has really shone through in tight pre-season matches”


Eddie’s also has a mix of old and new in its squad. Captain Logan Atkin has recently returned from the United States where he played before NCAA Division 1 and 2 scouts in Milwaukee and Chicago.


But Ashgrove again looms as the testing material as they seek their fourth straight First V premiership. They begin their title defence against St Peter’s Lutheran College.


Meanwhile St Laurence’s College will welcome St Patrick’s College in a traditional Christian Brothers rivalry that has featured some epic encounters in recent years.


In the final match of the first round, Iona College will travel to Kedron to take on Padua College following a pre-season at the Gold Coast Invitational Tournament over the school holidays.