BASKETBALL Victoria has selected the 2021 Under-18 State teams representing Victoria Country and Victoria Metropolitan as well as the Victorian Kevin Coombs Cup team for wheelchair athletes.
These five teams will head to Wyndham’s Eagle Stadium from 10-17 April for the Australian Under-18 Junior Championships and Kevin Coombs Cup.
There are three new additions to the head coaching roster for our five state teams heading to Geelong. The Victoria Metropolitan U18 Men will be led by head coach Craig Stratford, Haydn Kirkwood will coach the Victoria Country U18 Women. Joel Anderson will lead the Under-18 Victoria Country Men while Ben Hodgens will continue as Kevin Coombs Cup head coach.
While the 2020 Australian Junior Championships for Under-18s and the Kevin Coombs Cup wheelchair basketball tournament were unable to go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions, our previous outing at this event was spectacular as the Victoria Metropolitan Women and Men both claimed gold while the Victoria Country Women earned bronze to round off a very successful tournament.
The five selected sides will represent Victoria at the first championships of the year in Wyndham, with the Australian Under-20 Junior Championships and Ivor Burge tournaments postponed until May 3-7, 2021 in Mackay, Queensland.
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN MEN
Led by nine VNPP (Victorian National Performance Program) athletes, including Kristian Ferronato, AJ Magbegor and Beau Tranter, the Victoria Metropolitan Men are ready to shine for head coach Craig Stratford. The chance to compare your skills at the highest level is the perfect way to return to elite basketball after the challenges of 2020.
“After a challenging 12 months for all of our athletes and the broader Victorian community, we have been really pleased to have these athletes on the floor participating in a highly competitive selection process,” Stratford said. “The 2021 Vic Metro team we have selected is capable of handling our short preparation, playing at pace and disrupting our opponents defensively.
“We have a good blend of experience and the energy and excitement of four first time state representatives.
“I am sure all of these athletes will make the most of their opportunity to represent Victoria Metro.
“Our playing squad and coaching staff are excited with the prospect of what we will learn about ourselves as a group over the next few weeks and are focused on being ready for a highly competitive 2021 championships.”
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN MEN – TEAM LIST
AJ Magbegor (Coburg)
Beau Tranter (Knox)
Blake Shankland (Casey)
Bradley Moorey (Eltham)
Daniel Poelsma (Bulleen)
Ethan Bolton (Casey)
Jackson Harding (Knox)
Kristian Ferronato (Eltham)
Tristan Devers (Nunawading)
Zahn Agosta (Eltham)
Bailey Nunn (Knox)
Daniel Mazur (Dandenong)
Jarryd Remy (Hawthorn)
Jensen Bradtke (Southern)
John Furphy (Hawthorn)
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN MEN – STAFF
Head Coach – Craig Stratford (Eltham)
Assistant Coach – Darren Best (Casey)
Assistant Coach – Dion Jewell (Hawthorn)
Development Coach – Brent Andrews (Dandenong)
Team Manager – Mark Sainsbery (McKinnon)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY WOMEN
Australian representative Dallas Loughridge will be one of the must-watch stars of the Victoria Country team alongside a number of superstar prospects from our VNPP (Victorian National Performance Program) program including Dyani Ananiev, Isabel Whitelaw, Jaime Gallaty and Tanielle Knight.
Victoria Country Women’s coach Haydn Kirkwood said the side will be a challenge to defend due to the versatility and dour defence within the group.
“We are going to be extremely versatile with all players able to exchange through various positions effectively,” Kirkwood said. “Defensively committed to repeated efforts and offensively able to stretch the opposition.
“A lot of these players missed out on representing their community last year so the opportunity now will be a driving factor to our success. Tryouts were extremely competitive and any signs of last years’ reduced competition was definitely not visible. The group of athletes that trialed were well prepared to get straight into the process.
“The level of commitment the girls have shown to their individual skill development during the lockdown period is a testament to the competitive nature of Victorian athletes.”
With only a month until the championships, Kirkwood said the team is ready to get stuck into training ahead of the tournament and to showcase Victoria Country to our home state.
“The staff and players are excited and motivated heading into nationals,” Kirkwood said. “With the championships being held in Victoria, it adds a little more pressure but that’s something we are looking forward to.
“National tournaments are exciting to be a part of, as we get to see the next crop of Australian representative players compete – it’s always a great experience.”
UNDER-18 COUNTRY WOMEN – TEAM LIST
Dallas Loughridge (Warragul/Dandenong)
Dyani Ananiev (Seymour/Eltham)
Erin Condron (Macedon/Sunbury)
Georgia Cox (Ballarat)
Georgia Koopmans (Warragul/Casey)
Isabel Whitelaw (Shepparton/Hawthorn)
Jaime Gallatly (Maffra/Korumburra)
Jemma Amoore (Ballarat)
Rosie Todd (Ballarat)
Tanielle Knight (Geelong United)
Arlee Bennett (Swan Hill)
Cailtin Richardson (Bendigo)
Chantelle James (Frankston)
Macey McGlead (Korumburra)
Millie Sharp (Ballarat)
Monai Porykali (Traralgon)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY WOMEN – STAFF
Head Coach – Haydn Kirkwood (Wodonga)
Assistant Coach – Rebecca McIntyre (Horsham)
Assistant Coach – Laura Pickering (Traralgon)
Development Coach – Carly Stones (Eltham / Seymour)
Team Manager – Wendy Campbell (Traralgon)
KEVIN COOMBS CUP
The Victorian Kevin Coombs Cup side has its sights set on returning to the podium on home court at this year’s championships.
Led by Australian Gliders representative Isabel Martin as well as rising stars in the Under-23 Australian team and Rollers squad Jaylen Martin, James Weinert and Mitch Bond, the Victorian team looks set to impress.
Victorian Kevin Coombs Cup coach Ben Hodgens said the experience of the side will give them plenty of strength heading into the tournament next month.
“We’ve got a good group of players who have represented Victoria in the past, giving us a good level of experience,” Hodgens said. “Izzy Martin, an Australian Glider, and Jaylen Brown, in the Australian Rollers squad, are both playing well, particularly considering the recent challenges, and we look forward to seeing them in action for Victoria.
“James Weinert returns to the program and has already made a good showing for himself.
“I’m proud of the strong team culture we’ve fostered over the last couple of years and will look to continue developing this as a strength of the team.”
“With the upcoming 2021 Kevin Coombs Cup, players once again have a target to work towards and it reignites their drive to achieve.
“I’m really looking forward to our wheelchair basketball athletes in Victoria getting opportunities to compete again, and helping these athletes rediscover their passion for the sport.”
KEVIN COOMBS CUP – TEAM LIST
KEVIN COOMBS CUP – STAFF
Head Coach – Ben Hodgens
Assistant Coach – Jason Bryant (Wyndham)
Assistant Coach – Josh Allison (Kilsyth)
Team Manager – Jasmina McGlone (Basketball Victoria)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY MEN
Joining the Country team for the Under-18 age group are VNPP (Victorian National Performance Program) athletes Alex Molan, Fletcher Burger, Lucas Impey, Lachlan Smith, Jack Hrehoresen and Darcy Jones. The side has plenty of Australian Junior Championships experience with a number of returning athletes from the 2019 Under-16 silver medal winning team in Darwin.
For head coach Joel Anderson, the trialing group set a high standard which has resulted in a competitive
“The tryout process was a hectic, high paced workout, which really tested how fit athletes were coming out of lockdown,” Anderson said. “A process which usually takes a couple months, took mere weeks and this was a real test for coaches and athletes alike.
“The team features seven bottom aged players, showing the strength of their age group – the team is fast paced, strong and ready for any challenge.
“I’m looking forward to attending a Victorian event; will be great to have the hometown support for the boys.”
UNDER-18 COUNTRY MEN – TEAM LIST
Alex Molan (Ballarat)
Corey Hastings (Southern Peninsula)
Darcy Jones (Southern Peninsula)
Fletcher Burger (Ararat / Ballarat)
George Stevens (Warrnambool)
Jack Connolly (Geelong United)
Jack Hrehoresen (Maffra)
Jet Kneebone (Geelong United)
Lachlan Smith (Wonthaggi / Dandenong)
Lucas Impey (Ballarat)
Aduto Chipuopwuop (Keilor)
Boston Dowling (Shepparton / Hawthorn)
Harry Scott (Wonthaggi / Dandenong)
Harry Stones (Seymour / Eltham)
Martin Steen (Bendigo)
Tom Field (Southern)
Tom Gorman (Yarrawonga / Hawthorn)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY MEN – STAFF
Head Coach – Joel Anderson (Ballarat)
Assistant Coach – Brenton O’Brien (Geelong United)
Assistant Coach – Kaleb Sclater (Maffra)
Development Coach – Dylan Cole (Keilor)
Team Manager – Richard Morin (Ballarat)
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN WOMEN
The defending champions Victoria Metropolitan Under-18 Women are keen to retain their reign atop the Australian Under-18 Junior Championships.
With a roster featuring plenty of national champions from the Under-16 championships, including Ally Marshall, Sophie Burrows, Amy Kurkowski, Amy O’Hara and Australian representatives Tess Heal and Nyadiew Puoch, the side is set to impress when it comes to showcasing their skills in Wyndham.
Victoria Metropolitan coach Lloyd Klaman said that even with the challenges of COVID-19 lockdowns and a lack of basketball in 2020, the group has stayed sharp and ready ahead of this year’s tournament.
“Even though I have been involved in this process for a number of years, the amount of quality basketball players in this age group amazed me,” Klaman said. “After such a long layoff the kids really didn’t miss a beat, but unfortunately there was some real quality kids that were unable to get into the final team.
“I think our versatility and pure athletic ability will be big strengths for us – we have players who can play three or four spots on the court and we are very long at all positions.
“But our best attributes are our basketball IQ and the will to win that these kids get from the weekly competition and working out with other like athletes.
“It will just be fun seeing the kids out on the court where they belong – we’ve got a group that enjoys each other’s successes and willing to work hard for each other.
“We also have the added bonus of playing at home, which means a lot to the girls.”
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN WOMEN – TEAM LIST
Ally Marshall (Hawthorn)
Amy Kurkowski (Hawthorn)
Amy O’Hara (Hawthorn)
Bella Peterson (Keilor)
Holly Griffiths (Bulleen)
Jaz Salon (Keilor)
Nyadiew Puoch (Dandenong)
Sophie Burrows (Diamond Valley)
Tabitha Betson (Bulleen)
Tess Heal (Keilor)
Dakota Crichton (Casey)
Katrina Warton (Ringwood)
Lucy Dexter (Casey)
Paige Burrows (Knox)
Zoe Harvey (Frankston)
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN WOMEN – STAFF
Head Coach – Lloyd Klaman (Dandenong)
Assistant Coach – Jackie Gibson (Wyndham)
Assistant Coach – Matt Bongetti (Eltham)
Development Coach – Tracey Wightman (Hawthorn)
Team Manager – Katrina Barry (Dandenong)