BASKETBALL Wagga is in the final stages of getting an academy up and running designed to keep youngsters in the sport and give them the best chance to develop.
Heat player-coach Zac Maloney also took up a coaching development officer role at Basketball Wagga late last year, with the academy the latest step in giving youngsters a more gradual pathway into the Waratah League or beyond.
The academy will accommodate boys and girls player from 10-18 years, and will begin in August.
"It's something I think Wagga Basketball needs, not only for players but coaches as well," he said.
"Kids can start the sport, and there's something there to build them up to play rep. You don't have to make that big jump straight away and lose your confidence, or find another sport because you can't play week in week out.
"Come rep season for the kids that miss out on rep teams, they've still got something to fall back into the following year.
"We're more forward thinking at the moment, trying to get a pyramid going so there's something for everyone.
"The 12s and 14s girls, and our girls in general is a focus. It will be good to get them up and running, and get a Blaze team up and running again in the near future."
The Heat were made to pay for a sluggish start in an 86-72 home loss to Shoalhaven on Saturday night.
The second-placed Tigers built a 50-36 halftime lead on the back of some hot shooting, led by Kyle Leslie who finished with 24 points.
Scott Hare (17), Maloney (15) and Cam McPherson (13) led the way for the Heat, who bridged the gap a little down the stretch, but couldn't overcome the visitors.
"We started playing our running game and clawed it back a bit but they were too good in the end, they shot the ball at a really high clip and once again we had our little patches where we went away from what was working," he said.
"Two areas we focused on going in was beating them on the boards, which I don't think we executed. We also struggled to take care of the ball once we started to close the gap a bit, had some costly mistakes in the back end."
The Heat fell to 3-8 but will fancy their chances when they host bottom-placed St George White this Saturday.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.