THEY’RE the local refs who help keep basketball strong; Cathy Govers and Kim Byrnes have committed decades of their lives to the sport.
Cathy’s a life member of the Leongatha Basketball Association and Kim is a life member at Meeniyan.
Kim also referees at Leongatha and both help out at Mirboo North too.
LBA president Dan Monaghan said it was important to recognise their efforts and involvement throughout South Gippsland.
“They’re wonderful at teaching our young umpires and players the finer points of the game and basketball continues to grow in areas such as Mirboo North and Meeniyan with their support.”
Cathy began refereeing in her late teens in Morwell and played representative basketball with Morwell under the late great Marty Hanson.
She moved to Leongatha in 1988 and started refereeing there in 1993 when the stadium was where the cinema is now.
“I’ve refereed constantly since then which brings me up to 25 years in February. I love basketball – always have, always will.”
She said she loved watching her children come through and play, with particular highlights including her son Adam becoming a referee, and playing in the same team as her daughters. And meeting Andrew Gaze was another.
“I’ve umpired Jarryd Roughead and Dyson Heppell. I always thought Roughy was an amazing basketballer and would be a great player one day, but didn’t see footy coming.”
Cathy coached Kelly and Andrea Wilson (now WNBL players), has coached a rep and domestic teams, been team manager many times, served on the LBA committee for many years, ran skill sessions and been a mentor for many referees.
“I still shoot 200 hoops every second or third day, just to keep in practice in case I get a call up!
“I believe to be a good referee, you need to know your stuff, be approachable, be firm and constant and look the part.
“You need to have fun, which sometimes can be hard, but you need to enjoy what you do.
“Thrive off the good games and learn from the bad ones.”
During the seasons, Kim said she referees four nights a week.
“I started at Meeniyan so my kids could play because there were no refs there at the time,” Kim said.
She said she loves the sport and helping young refs gain confidence and move up through the ranks.
The Leongatha Basketball Association recently held a Level 0 referee course (community referee) in which 10 participants completed a workshop run by Pam Brasher from Basketball Victoria.
That night, Pam also held a refresher course for all current referees.