date_range Published 16 May 2018

Progress has been made but there is still work to do.

That was the key message emerging from Monday night’s Basketball Otago annual meeting for 2017.

In his report, chairman Karl Andrews said the organisation had taken strides towards its goal of making the sport as accessible as possible to as many people as it could.

The final goal was to provide a ‘‘competitively priced sporting opportunity that is easy to enter with readily available season information and reduced time administering’’.

That focus had produced an increase in playing numbers, primarily in the secondary school and social grades.

However, he acknowledged club numbers had remained stagnant in recent years and boosting them was a priority.

To do that it would look to continue to develop the pathway between the school and club competitions.

The need for direction in referee development was a key area the clubs had identified as a barrier to growth. It would look to continue to progress its referee mentor programme, while general manager Justin Ludlow said stamping out referee abuse was a key aim.

The growth in secondary school playing numbers was something Ludlow identified as both a positive and a challenge.

Having more than 150 teams meant all seven Edgar Centre courts and 11 school gymnasiums were being used on a Friday night.

As numbers continued to increase, he said it may reach a point where there is not enough court space to cater for the growth.

Financially, the association all but broke even, finishing with a $32 deficit.

Both Andrews and Ludlow acknowledged the finely-balanced position, particularly given a large portion of the revenue came from funding.

Andrews said it was important to ‘‘develop sufficient reserves to both tackle the unknowns and develop our sport further’’.

That would include developing and promoting sponsorship opportunities for local businesses, which would improve its finances.