Star Trek Guide

2019 Toowoomba Mountaineers season review

BASKETBALL: Season 2019 won't go down in the history books for the right reasons with just two wins spread across the men's and women's programs.

If there is one thing that can be held onto for next year, it's hope.

The women turned their fortunes around in a big way. They broke their winless drought which extended more than two years and they remained competitive throughout the season.

Just 12 months prior they were on the end of hidings to the tune of 84, 74 and 67 points. Now they went within 60 seconds of upsetting the minor premiers.

This is The Chronicle's look back at the season that was.



Australian talent. The likes of Abraham Yaak, Kresto Wal, Jason Spurgin, Ranko Puseljic and Malat Makuach showed a lot of promise throughout the season.

Coach Danny Breen called on them regularly throughout 2019 in terms of playing time, and more often than not the rookies rose to the challenge.

Throw in the likes of reliable players like Daniel Sims, Cameron Weber and Will Mitchell, and the foundations are there.


The import situation. The injury to Demetrius Perkins was a big blow to the Mountaineers and the early uncertainty around the severity made it difficult to plan too far ahead.

In saying that, I believe the decision not to bring in another import to finish out the season was the wrong one.

In a league filled with NBL experience, the Mountaineers had themselves on the back foot without another old head in the locker room.


Round six vs Logan Thunder. It had to be the team's only win, in front of the faithful at Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre.

They put the writing on the wall the week prior in a narrow-loss to Mackay, and they responded in the best possible way with a comfortable defeat of Logan.

Ricardo Martin played like a man possessed, Yaak and Makuach hit big shots, while everyone played their role to perfection to get the team a win.


Jason Spurgin vs Gold Coast on June 8. Stats don't show everything, and the 17-year-old played far above his six points, eight rebounds and two blocks suggest.

Spurgin marked up against former NBL and Boomers forward Anthony Petrie, and did a fine job in restricting him to just four field goals for the game.

It was a real coming of age for the young man, and it was almost enough to lift the Mountaineers over the line.


The right pieces are there for the Mountaineers to have a level of success in 2020, however they need to get their imports right.

Martin did a good job in tough circumstances, and with further improvement he could be a good starting base.

They need a genuine gun at guard to partner alongside him and to elevate the young core to further heights.

They've had no problems in securing this in the past with the likes of Damon Bozeman, Jeremy Kendle and Chris Whitehead to name a few, so it is up to the club to get it right next year.



Imports and new recruits. The coaching staff was spot on in its recruitment of imports Anita Brown and Kristina King, and former SA player Demi Skinner.

While obviously possessing a ton of talent between the trio and an incredible ability to score the basketball, they actively sought to improve team-mates and get them involved where possible.

This lead to a massive turnaround in the fortunes of the team, and although they only came away with one win, they were highly competitive in just about every outing.


Fourth quarter woes. Despite being competitive in these fixtures, one glaring setback was the team's ability to close out games.

It's fair to say that if the bulk of the group can remain intact for 2020, they will turn nine losses under 10 points into a lot more wins.

A number of players didn't quite have that big game experience or the confidence to take shots in the fourth quarter, so we can hope this will serve as a learning curve for the year ahead.


Round one vs South West Metro. The Mountaineers women hadn't won a game in the QBL since August 5, 2017 heading into their season opener against the Pirates, and that fateful night at Hibiscus stadium was one to be remembered.

It not only got the women on the board, it gave them belief that the demons of past seasons weren't around this current group.

They trailed in the fourth and stormed over the top of the Pirates to get the W, with the defensive effort a standout.


Anita Brown vs Townsville on June 15. Backing up from a 25-point, 10-rebound outing the night prior against Cairns, Brown showed what she does best, lead.

Against the Flames, Brown dropped 33 points (12-20 FG), 11 rebounds and five assists, which was almost enough for the Mountaineers to cause an upset in north Queensland.

She played 38 minutes after recording 36 just 24 hours prior, a testament to her conditioning.


If the Mountaineers can retain Brown, King and Skinner it will be a huge coup for the club, if not, they should be doing everything in their powers to retain at least two of them.

Stability is something that the group has struggled with in recent times. Their signatures would be a huge boost, and gives coach Kabe Cicolini a nucleus to work around.

Local players like Jorja Bolton and Despena Dickerson will continue to improve if surrounded by quality talent.