Young basketballers step up
Horsham Amateur Basketball Association members are set to represent Basketball Victoria Country at two major junior competitions this month.
Austin Mckenzie, Ben Hobbs, Jeremiah Hobbs, Eloise Wills and Jordie Mcauliffe will compete in the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in Albury from January 16 to 20.
Brodie Pope will contest the under-15 boys division Southern Cross Challenge in Melbourne, while Horsham association media officer Tony Sleep will coach Vic Country’s under-14 boys team.
Mr Sleep is an association level coach and has been involved in Basketball Victoria Country programs for the past six years. He said he looked forward to the opportunity to coach at the Southern Cross Challenge – from January 19 to 22 – for the first time.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with some of the best talent in country Victoria at the under-14 age level,” he said. “Having seen the boys now at two pre-camps, they look sharp and we are really looking forward to the competition.”
Mr Sleep said the Horsham basketballers also impressed during precamps.
Austin and Ben will represent Vic Country’s under-16 boys squad in Albury, while Jeremiah and Jordie are part of the under-18 teams.
Eloise is in the under-14 girls team.
Mr Sleep has provided a run-down on each of the Horsham competitors in the lead-up to next week’s events: Austin Mckenzie: Great reward for Austin’s hard work over the past 12 months. An athletic big man, Aussie’s ability to finish on either side of his body, for his size, is one of his strengths. Aussie is also able to compete and more than hold his own against bigger bodies as well as possessing a solid outside game. He should do well in Albury. Ben Hobbs: Emergency for last year’s under-16 country state side as a bottom-age player, Ben has a big year in front of him. A guard who has natural athleticism, Ben can hurt teams inside and out creating his own shot. Jeremiah Mckenzie: Speedy guard with a terrific shot. Jeremiah, while at school in Ballarat, is a regular in the Hornets Country Basketball League team and grew up playing through the Hornets junior program. In recent times he has grown and his body is physically maturing, which is only enhancing his game. Has a solid defensive game and with his growth could cause some match-up headaches for opposition guards. Brodie Pope: Athletic youngster who can play point or shooting guard. Brodie has the ability to create his own shot as well as facilitate for his team-mates. He has very little fear on the drive and his decision-making with the ball at Vic Country level has been excellent. Should have a good tournament. Eloise Wills: Last year was a big one for Eloise, who won a silver medal with Victoria for netball at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide and is also an accomplished swimmer. The athletic 12-year-old should enjoy her experience in Albury. One of the tallest girls in Basketball Country Victoria’s program, she is sure to relish the challenge of playing against some of the country’s most talented talls. Jordie Mcauliffe: A former Horsham junior who has represented BVC several times at Albury as well as at state level in under-16s. An athletic shooting guard, we wish Jordie all the best for the tournament.