By David Nagel
The south east’s two biggest basketball associations – Casey and Dandenong – will be well represented at the upcoming Australian Under-18 Junior Basketball Championships to be held at the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre from 10-17 April.
The championships will run simultaneously with the Kevin Coombs Cup – an event where the best wheelchair athletes from around Australia will also compete at the highest level.
Basketball Victoria has selected the Under-18 State teams representing Victoria Country and Victoria Metropolitan – for boys and girls – as well as athletes in the Kevin Coombs Cup.
The five selected sides will tip off the Australian Junior Championships for 2022 – with the Australian Under-20 and Ivor Burge Junior Championships moved from its traditional February start date to 19-24 April in Mackay, Queensland.
Four talented youngsters from Casey Basketball have earned selection, along with two players from the Dandenong Basketball Association.
Selected in the U18-Metroploitan Men’s side are Archer McMenamin and Ethan Bolton from Casey, while Dakota Crichton and Lucy Dexter – also from Casey – will join Dandenong pair Georgie Sewell and Georgia Taylor in the Metropolitan U18 Women’s side.
Victoria Metropolitan U18 Women’s head coach Michael Brookens said the team’s tenacity and energy has him impressed heading towards Ballarat.
“The strength of our team will be the 4 P’s; persistence, pressure, pace and physicality,” Brookens said.
“We will be a fiercely competitive side – this team is full of stars.
“The standard of the tryout group was phenomenal.
“The athletes really took on board what I wanted from them. They all had moments of brilliance, competed hard and made it very difficult to select the team.”
Returning for his fourth time as a state team head coach, U18 Men’s head coach Trevor Lee said the group’s versatility and strength will put them in great stead to succeed.
“We’ve got some great athletes this year that can play in multiple positions – that’s probably our biggest strength,” Lee said.
“This is my ninth preparation with state teams and it’s the toughest and hardest team I’ve had to pick – so many good athletes that didn’t make this team.
“After an extensive process that we started back in November – it was tough to cut all the way through and even tougher to pick the team over the weekend.
“Ultimately we’ve got our eyes on one goal – coming back with a gold medal; that’s the ultimate goal and we want to bring it back home to Victoria where it belongs.”
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN WOMEN
Tabitha Betson (Bulleen), Paige Burrows (Knox), Edie Clarke (Melbourne), Dakota Crichton (Casey), Lucy Dexter (Casey), Amy Kurkowski (Sandringham), Georgia McBean (Kilsyth), Georgia Sewell (Dandenong), Georgia Taylor (Dandenong), Hannah Wickstrom (Sandringham).
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN MEN
Ethan Bolton (Casey), Carlin Briggs (Knox), Tristan Devers (Nunawading), Luke Fennell (Knox), Kristian Ferronato (Eltham), Joel Foxwell (Bulleen), Archer McMenamin (Casey), Kynan Philippe (Frankston), Austin Rapp (Knox), Tiernan Stynes (Nunawading).