Lucy Dawson is on a mission to even the playing field for Nelson basketballers.
The 10-year-old Hampden Street School student says, in the region, there is a disproportionate number of boys playing the game compared to girls.
Lucy plays for her school side which currently only has one other female.
“I want to get lots more girls playing, it’s just better for basketball.”
Lucy currently plays for two sides, Hampden Street and Nelson Intermediate.
She says getting a girls’ team together at Nelson Intermediate was a real challenge.
“At the start of the year we only had three players, it took heaps of work.”
Lucy believes the aggressiveness of boys’ basketball can be a deterrent for females.
“A lot of girls that aren’t so confident or just want to give it a go, prefer to play with girls.”
Her career began just two and a half years ago after spotting a sign up in the school office.
“I tried it and quite liked it.”
She didn’t take long to shine on the court either, having represented the Nelson U13s for the first-time last year.
The point guard is now determined to help other girls follow a similar path.
Lucy is helping introduce girls to basketball with Nelson Basketball Association general manager Frances Tilly and Giant’s star Dan Grida.
The trio ran an introductory session for girls at the school and are looking to expand throughout the region.
“We are hoping to run some at St Joseph’s and Central Schools.”
Lucy is also raising funds to have an adjustable hoop installed at Hampden Street.
“This means the younger kids and beginners who can’t get the ball up there can have a go and we will have close to a full-sized court for the community to use.”
The cost of the hoop is roughly $3500 with a further $1000 estimated for installation, which Lucy hopes to raise through sponsorships, raffles, bake sales.
She also hopes to host a 3×3 all-girls tournament at school.
Lucy has seen firsthand how the sport has grown within her school.
“Last year there was only one team and this year we have three.”