Junior basketballers have a shot at premier events

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Giving her all: Olivia Pollerd gets set to tackle the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup alongside a dozen other Southern Peninsula Sharks players. Picture: Supplied

SEVERAL young basketballers from the Southern Peninsula Sharks will get straight back into action this month as they head towards two of basketballs premier events for juniors.

Up and coming players from under-14s through to under-18s will head towards the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup (ACJBC), held in Albury from January 14-19, and the Southern Cross Challenge (SCC) ), hosted at the State Basketball Centre from January 18-21.

While many people were enjoying their extended breaks over the Christmas and New Year period, many young athletes and coaches have been consistently working on their game, for some juniors as much as five days per week, in preparation for these events.

The Southern Peninsula Sharks will have 13 players from under-16s through to under-18s competing at the ACJBC as well as four coaches chosen to guide the Country Victoria teams to victory against New South Wales Country, South Australia Country, Tasmania and New Zealand.

While the focus is always development for the juniors, athletes selected to attend the ACJBC in the under-16s age group also have an additional element of further selection on the line.  Along with the under-15s athletes competing at the Southern Cross Challenge, approximately 24 athletes will be selected to progress towards the 2019 under-16s Country Victorian state team, with further camps and selections to take place in the coming months.

For the under-18s, the ACJBC is the final selection stage to represent Country Victoria in the under-18s age group.  At the completion of the tournament, the final 2019 under-18s Country Victorian state teams will be selected ahead of their Australian Junior Championships in April.

Southern Peninsula Sharks players and coaches heading to the ACJBC are: Darcy Jones and Toby Snow (under-16 Boys); Bella Breen, Amber Grant and Sienna Privitera (under-16 Girls); Liam Porter (under-18 Boys); Charli Dobson, Olivia Pollerd, Paige Price, Gemma Simon, Lani Thornton, Keely Toohey and Emirson Devenie (under-18 Girls); Scott Ramsey (head coach under-14 Boys), Darcy Thornton (assistant coach under-14 Boys), Ben White (head coach under-16 Boys) and Lucas Allen (mentor coach under-18 Boys).

The Southern Peninsula Sharks under-14 and under-15 players will be heading towards the relatively new Southern Cross Challenge where they’ll compete against South Australia Metro, Victoria Metro, New South Wales Metro, Western Australia Country, Western Australia Metro and the Australian Capital Territory.  

Although the SCC is relatively new, having been ran for only a handful of years, it has quickly become regarded as the premier event for the under-14 and under-15 age bracket in Australia.

Those competing as under-14s have a pure development focus similar to the ACJBC where they’re provided with the opportunity to play with and against some of Australia’s finest young players and be coached by some of Country Victoria’s best coaches.

Development remains the ultimate focus for the under-15 age group as well, but, as previously mentioned, they’re eligible to be selected as a part of approximately 24 athletes that will continue within the selection pathway towards the 2019 under-16 Country Victorian state team.

The Southern Peninsula Sharks will have five juniors, two coaches and referee heading to the SCC. 

They are: Kyra Webb (under-14 Girls), Corey Hastings (under-15 Boys), Jasmine Amendola (under-15 Girls), Chantelle James (under-15 Girls), Shannon Tuffy (under-15 Girls), Joe Boothroyd (assistant coach under-15 Boys), Gerard Hillier (head coach) and Axel Goodall (referee).

First published in the Frankston Times – 15 January 2019

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