Geoff leads from front

Geoff Stewart, of Roleystone, continues to excel at basketball.
Geoff Stewart, of Roleystone, continues to excel at basketball.

The championship is a hotly contested competition that draws premier athletes with an intellectual disability from around the country.

Stewart led the WA Ivor Burge men’s team this year, which played seven ‘intense’ games during the week-long competition.

Unfortunately, the team didn’t have a win, but Stewart still made his mark on the court.

In the first game against NSW Country, Stewart scored 16 points, including four three pointers, in the 33 minutes he was on the court.

Throughout the competition he scored nine three pointers, which propelled him to equal third on the tournament statistics table.

Stewart said the team underwent a lot of work, including twice-weekly training and match games, to build up to national level.

‘We put our heart and soul into it, especially as the competition was on our home court,’ he said.

‘It was very intense and all the players did their best ” we are improving every year and getting closer to the other states.

‘Our coach Chris Saligari has been fantastic in trying to build a strong team for future games.’

Stewart, who has been playing basketball since he was nine, hopes to represent WA for as long as possible and pass on his knowledge to younger players.

‘Playing at State level has driven me since my younger days playing basketball with my dad and brothers in the backyard,’ he said.

‘I have done some volunteering with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns women’s basketball team and the Perth Lynx/Waves, where I picked up a lot of useful tips.

‘Last year, I also did some volunteering with my coach at the Kalamunda District High School’s education support unit and I hope to continue this year.’

Despite living with mild intellectual disability Noonan Syndrome, Stewart said basketball had helped him.

‘I hope to pass on the life lessons I have learnt and inspire the next generation of players coming through to the WA Ivor Burge Team,’ he said. ‘One of my biggest goals is to also go to America and see some NBA and WNBA games.’

The Ivor Burge National Championship was played in conjunction with the Under 20 National Championships.