10 May 2023

Cape York basketballers shine at Indigenous hoops tournament

| Matt Nicholls
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TWO former Weipa students have crossed paths while chasing sporting excellence, having both been picked to play in the National Indigenous Basketball Tournament on the Gold Coast.

Thurston Bosuen and Adejah Willie-Jawai are former Western Cape College students forming their own pathway in different corners of the state.

Thurston was a boarder at St Augustine’s in Cairns last year and is now a day student after his parents Jason and Michelle made the move from Weipa in November.

Adejah is now at Mabel Park State High School in Brisbane after moving south late last year.

Last week, they were mixing it with the best Indigenous talent in the country in a tournament backed by NBA star Patty Mills.

“It was an unbelievable event. The kids were treated like they were professionals,” said Jason Bosuen.

“Thursto came out of it thinking that these kids were phenomenal and now he wants to get better.”

A point guard with the Cairns Marlins, 12-year-old Thurston was one of the youngest players at the under-14 tournament.

“The Queensland North team was pretty much a Cairns side with one Mareeba boy,” his dad said.

“A few of them don’t even play club basketball so it was a great experience for them.”

Jason said the highlight was seeing kids from other states get a better understanding of their culture.

“There was a big cultural element to it and it was surprising to see that some kids didn’t even know they were Murris until they were in line to be picked,” he said.

“Seeing them talk to other kids about their culture was a great thing.”


ADEJAH has always looked up to her uncle, former NBA and NBL star Nate Jawai, but having him on the sidelines as she played for Queensland South was a huge thrill for the teen.

“He’s her biggest role model. She loved that her uncle made it down and encouraged her,” mum Tomaseena Jawai said.

“For the other kids, too, it was great to see someone like Nate, who comes from a (remote) community.”

Being a representative basketballer was no easy feat for Adejah, though.

“Weipa doesn’t have a club and when she got picked to play for Peninsula through school the family had to fundraise so she could trial and travel to play,” her mum said.

“A lot of her training was at the town court at Rocky Point, but when she made Peninsula we hired out the storm surge shelter for six Saturdays in a row and got kids to come down and play so she would get some practice.”

Adejah’s dad still works for Rio Tinto in Weipa and was able to fly down to see her play a couple of matches, including Queensland South’s bronze medal match, which they won.

“We moved down because my mum is sick and it was going to be five weeks over Christmas,” Tomaseena said.

“But we decided to stay and it’s been good so far. Adejah has already been offered a placement at another school because of their basketball program.”

Both the parents of Thurston and Adejah said they hoped the recognition of their children’s achievements would help boost basketball in Weipa and Cape York.

“The facilities are there but the kids need someone to organise games and get a club going,” Tomaseena said.

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