Warwick Wildcats aim for a return to the glory days
BASKETBALL: Warwick has been involved in a number of significant sporting events and drama over the years.
One such occasion occurred nine years ago, when a jam-packed gym filled with 500 people at Scots PGC.
Warwick was hosting the final of the Regional Basketball League, when they came up against stiff opposition.
Player Mike McDaniel had the task of icing the game in the clutch on that night, and recalls one of the craziest games of basketball to grace the Rose City.
The Warwick Wildcats took on the might of Darling Downs basketball legend Pop Dickerson and the Highlands squad.
"It was the fourth quarter and we were down by 16 points with four minutes left,” McDaniel said.
"We grabbed a bunch of steals, and got to within one, when I went in for a lay-up and was fouled.
"There was just 1.2 seconds left on the clock when I was about to take my free throws, when the lights went out.”
The thoughts racing through a player's mind when tasked with winning a game with two late free throws are intense with seconds between each shot, let alone minutes.
McDaniel said he remained cool throughout the process however.
"Truthfully, I had been here a lot at that point,” he said.
"It was at the point where I had game winning free throws and shots.
"The first free throw I took hit every part of the rim before going in.
"That meant the game was tied.
"The second was all net, and that was the game.
"After that, 300 people rushed the floor, and it was crazy. It was a loud, sweaty, crazy atmosphere.”
This was indeed the glory period of basketball in Warwick, with a number of efforts responsible for getting the game into the forefront of people's minds.
McDaniel played for the Northside Wizards in the QBL, before bringing his basketball-mind to the Rose City.
"I came to develop basketball in Warwick in 2008,” McDaniel said.
"All of us worked on it. The Clark brothers (Jay and Jeff), Pop Dickerson. Players from the NBL were in the league.
"QBL coaches were coming out to Warwick and Toowoomba to watch the finals.
"People would come to games dressed up, and have their dinner early to get to games.
"At first 10-15 people would come, but we went to schools, had halftime activities for the kids, and moved to having hundreds of people at games.
"Sometimes the crowds were so loud they would jerk our ear bones.”
He said getting a community feel back into games and teaching the game to children in schools throughout the the area could help basketball rise to prominence in Warwick again.
On Saturday, the Warwick Wildcats will have the opportunity to create their own piece of history, when two of their teams take place in the inaugural grand finals of the Big Q competition.
Warwick earned the right to host the fixtures after the Wildcats finished the regular season in first place.