Young bas­ket­ballers step up

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport -

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.

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