Junior Shepparton Gators will test their mettle at a higher level in the coming week at prestigious Basketball Victoria events.
Jordan Michel (under-18 boys), Tom Gorman (under-16 boys) and Jordyn Commadeur (under-16 girls) will head to Albury for the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup.
The January 14 to 19 tournament includes more than 700 players, coaches and officials battling for supremacy from at least 62 teams.
Commadeur has been working hard and is excited for her first Country Cup appearance.
‘‘(Training) has been really good,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve never gone to the Country Cup, so I’m very excited.’’
Also on their way to the representative level are twins Matt and Jack Whitlock (under-14 boys), Boston Dowling (under-15 boys), Jordan Munro (under-15 boys), Hannah Onley (under-15 girls) and Isabel Whitelaw (under-15 girls), who will compete at the Southern Cross Challenge at the State Basketball Centre from January 18 to 21.
‘‘I’m really excited,’’ Whitelaw said.
‘‘I did SCC last year and it was really good, I really liked it, and this year I’ve got a new team and I’m really excited to play with them as well.
‘‘Last year (my basketball) improved a lot and the trainings were really good as well to help you, so that was really good.’’
The Whitlock twins are also excited about heading to their first Southern Cross Challenge.
‘‘It’s pretty good, you meet a lot of new friends and have a lot of fun doing it,’’ Matt said.
‘‘We’ve been training hard, we’re ready for it.’’
Both tournaments are important steps of the Basketball Victoria elite pathway, with the junior Gators’ contingent set to learn plenty throughout the respective competitions.
‘‘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,’’ Basketball Victoria operations manager Grant Wallace said.
‘‘Selection into SCC/ACJBC from Country Victoria is an amazing achievement and coupled with the state development program, 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.’’