The pathway to national representation is a long one in any sport, but a number of Shepparton’s more promising basketball talents have taken the next step on their respective journeys this week.
Seven players from the Greater Shepparton Basketball Association will represent Victoria Country across numerous squads and age groups following their outstanding showings at trials in the region.
‘‘It is just fantastic to get that many through to the next stage, it’s terrific,’’ GSBA domestic manager Tony Long said.
‘‘It was certainly a bonus (to have trials in Shepparton), but the kids have been working really well and really hard since the start of the year.
‘‘Even those that missed out can be attributed to helping the others get through with their own hard work.
‘‘It’s just fantastic for us as an association.’’
Jordan Munro (under-14 boys), Hannah Onley (under-14 girls) and Jordan Michel (under-16 boys) will play in January’s Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in Albury, while Boston Dowling (under-14 boys), Tazmyn Stovell, Isabel Whitelaw (both under-14 girls) and Jordyn Commadeur (under-15 girls) will take on the country’s best at the Southern Cross Challenge at the State Basketball Centre about the same time.
Those athletes selected for the Southern Cross Challenge, along with Michel, will also be included into next year’s National Intensive Training Program squad, receiving coaching from the best in the business.
Basketball Victoria high performance coach (country) Justin Schueller highlighted the prestigious feat these rising stars had achieved through their selection.
‘‘Southern Cross Challenge and Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup have been important steps for our elite country athletes as they progress further into the country high performance pathway,’’ he said.
‘‘Selection into SCC/ACJBC from Country Victoria is an amazing achievement and coupled with NITP, it showcases our best juniors and gives them an opportunity to become better players and people on and off the court.
‘‘We wish the best of luck to our country athletes heading into the Southern Cross Challenge and Australian Junior Country Basketball Cup.’’