Joel Khalu – Mackay Meteors
There was no easing up by the Meteors during the second month of QBL 2015, consolidating on their early season dominance with another six wins throughout June. Remaining undefeated on 11-0 and sitting well clear on the ladder, Joel Khalu has managed his team perfectly to leave no doubt as to whom the current premier team in the league is.
There can be no understating what Khalu has achieved during the past month in which his team had arguably the toughest draw. It began with a strong 13pt home win over a dangerous Power outfit before the team embarked on a punishing triple-header on the road. However the Meteors made one of the most challenging tasks a team can face look easy, sweeping aside the Force (105-96), Mountaineers (110-76) and finally the Pirates (106-84). There was no time to relax when the side returned home, hosting the Rockets in the most anticipated game of the season. A blistering opening quarter set the tone for Khalu’s side as they comfortably overcame their GF conquerors from the past two years 86-74. To close out the month, the Meteors then dished out a thrashing to the Clippers.
This is the second straight Coach Of The Month for Khalu, following his recognition for an undefeated start of the season. His ability to keep the team motivated and fresh for the challenge week in, week out is to be envied. While there are still plenty of difficult obstacles ahead, his primary goal now will be to see his team close out the regular season undefeated and be in the prime position come finals time.
Ray Cooper – Gladstone Power
Overseeing a phenomenal month for the Power, rookie head coach Ray Cooper led his team to seven wins including six on the road. The Power closed out the most recent round with a triple-header sweep on the road, which in total gave the team five away wins in the space of just nine days. Many of these successes the past month came against quality opposition including the Force, Wizards, Bears and defending champions the Meteorettes. All games were won in double-figures except to the Force where the Power showed plenty of resilience in a thrilling 2pt win.
As a first-year senior head coach, Cooper has done a superb job to have his team sit on top of the ladder and prove many doubters wrong. He’s achieved it all with a new-look team where Madelyn Willey is the only starter remaining from last year’s quarter finalists, overcoming the heavy turnover by carefully developing past fringe players including Beatson and Pretty into more prominent roles. Perhaps the biggest challenge for Cooper and his team lies just ahead where this weekend they take on a tough northern double header, shortly followed by a blockbuster clash with the Cyclones.
A former player for the men’s Power team for several seasons, Cooper plied his trade as an assistant coach over the past few years before making the jump into the hot seat in 2015. He is also heavily committed to developing junior basketball in the region, having coached several representative teams in recent seasons. This year he took the Power’s Under 16 boys on an undefeated run to gold at the State Championships, and he will no doubt be striving to emulate that success with his QBL team.