THEY were the trio that lit up the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre throughout the QSL season, and now the Toowoomba Mountaineers high achievers have been honoured.
Despena Dickerson, Chris Longford and Patrick Aleer were named as Home Game MVPs for the 2021 season.
THIS SEASON WAS A CHANCE FOR ME TO REALLY PROVE MYSELF. I FEEL LIKE I CAME OUT OF MY SHELL .... DESPENA DICKERSON
BASKETBALL: They’re the trio that have taken out the prestigious honour of Mountaineers Home Game MVPs, with three very different paths.
Despena Dickerson has been a fixture of the women’s side for a number of years,
“I’ve been on this team for a really long time now and I feel like it’s been a long time coming for me,” she said.
“This season was a chance for me to really prove myself. I feel like I came out of my shell and it was really exciting for me. This meant a lot.
“My teammates had confidence in me with the ball to become that person that scores. I was given a lot more responsibility and I felt like I tried to take advantage of that.
“It was great to be able to play with no restrictions. I enjoyed it so much.”
Chris Longford was the breakout player for the Mountaineers men in the QSL campaign in a year that also saw him named as most improved.
He averaged 15.1 points and 9.6 rebounds for the season, a credit to the time and effort he’s put in to his craft.
“It feels like all the hard work you put in over the season, you’ve got something back for it and you’ve been noticed for that hard work,” Longford said.
“I started the season pretty weak, but I got a lot of help from Harry Spencer and my coaching team and it grew.
“I wasn’t a big scorer at the start of the year and I found for me as long as I could get rebounds I could help the team.
“I want to be able to play a bit more versatile, be able to play the perimeter as well as inside.
“In terms of where I want to get to, I’m looking at hopefully next year playing on the Bullets development area. I got invited to do that at the end of this year but Covid cancelled it.”
Patrick Aleer is one of the faces of the future Mountaineers.
A 17-year-old studying at St Joseph’s College, Aleer has only just turned his attention fully to basketball, netting big results.
“In the past couple of years I’ve struggled with my basketball but I’ve seen some improvements this year,” Aleer said.
“My decision making and basketball IQ has improved. I’ve learned from better players and getting what I can from them.
“I started playing representative basketball this season. Before that I played AFL, but this year have started to take it seriously.
“After a few injuries (in AFL) I had a think of what I can put my skills towards, so I thought I’d give it a go.”