THE competition Bathurst's junior basketballers have been practicing for has finally arrived.
This weekend will see the opening round of the Western Junior League take place across the Riverina, with Bathurst Goldminers teams in action across all age groups.
Players from under 12s through to under 18s, both in boys and girls, are chasing a strong start to their respective campaigns.
Traditionally Bathurst's senior sides in under 16s and 18s have provided the bulk of success for the Goldminers but with a fresh group of young talent coming through under 12s it will be interesting to see if good times come the way of the first-time representative players.
Bathurst basketball committee member Amanda Matthews said all squads are eager to apply what they've learned after a long build up across summer.
"All of our teams head off to different locations in the Riverina, from Griffith to Leeton to Narranderra to West Wyalong. Then we get a couple of rounds at home after that," she said.
"The demand was there and we chose to put one team in every age group. We had huge numbers in the 14 boys so we have two teams there and our under 12s boys are very young so most of them will stay in that age group next year. We wanted to ensure we had a 14s team ready for next year."
Bathurst were dominant winners in last year's under 18s competition.
The boys side defeated Griffith 88-72 and the girls team hammered Orange 70-30.
However, there's a new look to both teams this season as only one boy and four girls are returning to their respective under 18s squads.
In 2019 the Goldminers under 16s boys were championship division grand finalists while the under 14s girls were victorious in division one.
A new year brings about plenty of shuffling as players go up age groups, and there's also plenty of new faces in the younger divisions.
"Every second year the teams are different so it's hard to know who's going to do well," Matthews said.
"Our under 12s teams are very new. The boys are all new players and the girls have only two returning players. It'll be a whole new world for them."
Players will be kept busy with matches taking place across both Saturday and Sunday.
Bathurst will play host to both the second (March 14 and 15) and third (April 4 and 5) rounds of WJL matches.