A CRUCIAL double-time four-point win over Southern counterparts earned the Northern Tasmania under-14 boys basketball team a spot at next week's national championships.
The team has been training since January 2012 for the opportunity to play in a national competition and, after falling short last year, maintained the commitment and successfully qualified for the week-long titles in Darwin from Monday.
Their training regime has included a trip to Melbourne to take part in a weekend tournament against teams from South Australia, Victoria and NSW.
Coached by Donna Mitchell with assistance from Lisa Patterson and Zoe Mitchell, the team trains twice a week, including gym work and swimming to maintain their enthusiasm and fitness.
The players also take part in an under-16 basketball roster to gain valuable experience against stronger, bigger-bodied and more experienced opposition.
Team manager Liz Dixon said: ``They are really looking forward to travelling to Darwin, where they will experience a different basketball environment, together with a different cultural environment and establishing long-lasting friendships.
``They are hoping to have a number of wins and finish as high up as possible.''