Ballarat’s junior elite basketballers have completed a busy schedule of basketball across the summer and have been rewarded with individual and team success.
Manager of Athlete and Coach Development for Basketball Ballarat, Nathan Cooper-Brown has overseen all the action. Cooper-Brown has witnessed our players represent Vic Country, our teams perform at the annual Bendigo tournament, and the Country Championships at Shepparton.
“It’s been a massive month for the program and it’s great to see our athletes representing Ballarat with pride, exhibiting our high standards and most importantly enjoying themselves. The commitment the athletes, coaches and parents make is outstanding, particularly over the summer months.”
25 of our top junior basketballers cut their summer holidays short to represent Vic Country at both the Australian Country Junior Classic in Albury and the Southern Cross Championship in Wantirna, where the best junior talent across Australia and New Zealand is showcased. The tournaments form part of the selection process for the U16 and U18 State teams.
“From the athletes at Albury and Wantirna 7 have been selected through to State squads and will continue to push towards the National Championships” said Cooper-Brown.
In addition to state duties, all 20 Ballarat junior representative teams came together in Bendigo for the annual tournament across the Australia Day holiday, many teams have recommenced competing in the state competition on Friday nights and the U16 and U18 teams returned successful from the Country Championships in Shepparton.
Cooper-Brown commented further on the shape of the program, “The great thing about our elite program is it meets the needs of players at all elite levels. This allows us to focus on the thrill of representing Ballarat and player development, whilst also providing a platform for teams to compete at the absolute highest level. Already 4 of our 6 top teams have qualified for the highest division in the VJBL state competition but what’s equally exciting is that we are entering a second team in each age level for the first time.”
The highlight of the summer has been the U16 Boys Miners who have just returned with a silver medal from the state Country Championships. This follows their success at the Bendigo tournament and recent qualification for the VJBL Championship Division.
Coach of the team, Chris Thornton attributes the success to team unity. “The boys really gelled over the summer. We knew how critical the first part of the year was and to their credit the boys attended all the extra sessions organised in the New Year and built a really strong bond.”
In working their way to the Bendigo win and the Runners up at Country Championships the team often came from behind and overcame highly fancied teams in Warrnambool, Bendigo and Geelong. Only host city Shepparton stood in their way.
Looking ahead, our squads will be involved in the VJBL seasons between March and September and the U12 and U14 squads will be involved in their Country Championship carnivals in April.
For further information please contact Manager – Athlete & Coach Development: Nathan Cooper-Brown [email protected]