Basketball Wagga is adamant Wagga Heat will return to the Waratah League in the near future after a shortage of referees forced the team to withdraw from the upcoming season.
After a desperate search for officials proved fruitless, Basketball Wagga had little option but to take a 12 month hiatus, and will now look to encourage juniors to take up refereeing.
Women's outfit the Wagga Blaze will still play in the Waratah League division one as they look to secure a third straight championship, and a fourth in five years.
A handful of young Heat players look set to play in Albury in the meantime, and board member Wade Willoughby is confident the team will return in 2021.
"I think there will be (a team). We've got three or four young kids we want to build around and one of them is coach's son (Chaz Bishop)," he said.
"It will depend on if some of the senior boys want to come back."
Basketball Wagga has recently had a changeover of the board which has made it more difficult to meet the criteria.
"We scouted far and wide for months trying to find someone (to referee), and couldn't get anyone," Willoughby said.
"What we're going to try and do, and it might take a while to filter through, is to try and encourage juniors to get into refereeing.
"A few of the other towns got the jump on us and pretty much stole who we've been using, and we lost another who's left town as well.
"We had to the make the decision on who to let in. A few of the Heat boys said they could probably get a gig in Albury, so we thought we'd let them go their own way for this year and the girls will push on.
"Zac (Maloney, incumbent captain) didn't want to play, it seemed like it was going to be a painful year so it could be a blessing in disguise.
"We'll regroup over the next 12 months, see what we can get organised and get it back next year."
Willoughby said the the health of the sport in the city remains strong, despite the Heat's demise.
"In the men's we ran the Z-League last year which was a pretty big hit, and that will be back," he said.
"Our local comp is pretty good, but we struggle for numbers in junior girls. We're making a push with that because competing with netball is pretty tough."