Friday, 02 Oct 2020

Humble sharpshooter happy to learn in NBL1 trial season

Extracted from The Queensland Times - 2 October 2020

DAVID LEMS - Sport Editor

As one of Ipswich’s most consistent performers this season, humble teenager Catherine Macgregor was quick to clarify being told she was the team’s equal top scorer.

She has 133 points from her eight Queensland State League (QSL) matches, only equalled by co-captain Amy Lewis.

However, the rising Ipswich Force sharpshooter noted her tally was from two more games than her experienced leader.

“I didn’t realise that but she’s played less I think,’’ Macgregor said.

“I don’t think I’m out there doing anything fantastic. I’m just trying to do my role for the team and do what I can.’’

Having been a regular bench player the past two state league seasons, Macgregor has thrived on the extra court time she has received in this year’s QSL.

She topscored for Force with 27 points in last weekend’s basketball win over North Gold Coast.

“It’s been a funny season but I’ve been pretty happy with it,’’ she said, appreciating the support of head coach Terry Lindeberg.

“Terry has given me a good opportunity this season - as a bit of a trial season for next year - the NBL1.

“The confidence he has given me - the court time and stuff like that - and having a few good games.

“Knowing that I can perform against better players, like NBL players and players that have had international experience, has definitely given me a bit of confidence, especially these last couple of games.’’

That extends to three-point shooting where Macgregor has nailed 25 this season.

The former Queensland club and school representative likes to do extra shooting at the Ipswich stadium when she can.

She recalls hitting 11 three-pointers in a game being her best in school basketball.

The former West Moreton Anglican College student once compiled 57 points in Champion Schools tournament.

She said being able to hit three-pointers at key times was vital in today’s changing game.

But aged 18, she knows the QSL is a terrific competition to learn and progress.

While Lindeberg can be a tough taskmaster, Macgregor doesn’t mind being reminded about when to hold back and when to fire.

“He’s always keeping it humble, keeping me in check,’’ she said, having worked with Lindeberg since she first started basketball and moved into Ipswich under-15 and under-16 Force sides.

“I’ve still got a lot to learn about the game . . . so Terry is definitely helping me with that this season by putting me on the court and putting me in positions. Just reading plays and stuff like that.’’

In her first year studying occupational therapy at the University of Queensland, Macgregor has also enjoyed a more important senior team role.

“I wasn’t expecting it at first being in that starting five,’’ she said.

“But now it’s been a really good experience. It’s been a really good confidence thing for me, growing into the games.’’

The transition has been smooth working with senior players Lewis, Georgia Ralph and Rachel Mate.

“That core group of Amy, Rachel and Georgia, I’ve learnt a lot from them, playing with them over the past couple of seasons,’’ Macgregor said.

Before games, she has a playlist routine as part of her preparation.

“I just listen to some music at home and even in the car to try and get in the zone, keep concentrating,’’ she said.

Her main short-term basketball goal is securing a place in next year’s Force squad contesting the inaugural NBL1 North competition that was delayed due to COVID-19.

“I’m trying to put down a bit of a footprint to make an impact,’’ she said.

“Hopefully I can get recognised for next season . . . get into the squad for NBL1.’’

But before chasing that ambition, she is eager to help the Force women join the Ipswich men in this year’s QSL finals.

The sixth-placed Force women need to beat Northside Wizards at JBS Arena on Saturday to keep their playoff bid alive.

The Force women’s match is at 5pm before the fourth-placed Ipswich men play at 7pm.