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Lady Gators teammates duke it out in cup final

Enemies one day, teammates the next. So it was for Shepparton Lady Gators Shelby Britten and Rhianna Barton, who went head-to-head in the under-18 girls’ final of the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in Albury on Saturday.

DAMEN FRANCIS January 23, 2013 4:05am

Shepparton pair Shelby Britten and Rhianna Barton hope to spend more time on the same side, after going head-to-head in Albury last weekend.


Enemies one day, teammates the next. So it was for Shepparton Lady Gators Shelby Britten and Rhianna Barton, who went head-to-head in the under-18 girls’ final of the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in Albury on Saturday.

The pair of promising 16-year-old prospects were chosen to represent Victoria Country, but with three teams making the trip, they found themselves lining up on opposite sides of the court.

Both teams were undefeated going into the final, but there could only be one winner and Britten’s Bushrangers came out on top of Barton’s Goldminers 67-46.

Given Britten plays as a point guard and Barton a power forward or centre, the two players did not often cross paths on the court, but they were wary of each other’s strengths.

‘‘It wasn’t really that different because we weren’t really playing directly against each other,’’ Britten said.

‘‘It was good because I knew how she played and she knew how I played, so we would give tips to our players.’’

Britten was a driving force for the Bushrangers, both as a distributor and an outside shooter, while Barton dominated the rebounds and steals categories for the Goldminers.

The week-long tournament features teams from regional NSW, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia as well as New Zealand and Oceania.

It was also part of Victoria Country’s state selection process for the Australian Under-18 Championships.

‘‘(The final) was a tough game, we knew we had competition, especially because we knew that was the game we had to show ourselves for state selection,’’ Barton said.

The day after the final, the pair played a key role in Shepparton Lady Gators’ Country Basketball League win against Echuca Lady Pirates.

Meanwhile, Michael Reidy and Bellamey Sims were part of the Victoria Country Settlers team that won four of eight games in the under-18 boys’ competition.

Will Brodie and Harry Boyd were on opposing teams in the under-16 boys’ draw, with Boyd’s Bushrangers finishing runner-up to NSW Kookaburras.

In the semi-final, the Bushrangers handed Brodie’s Goldminers their only loss of the tournament, winning 69-54.

At the Southern Cross Basketball Challenge in Ballarat, Ellie Dowling, Ryan Sarkady and Christie Down won one game each as part of the under-14 girls’ Goldminers, under-14 boys’ Bushrangers and under-15 girls’ Bushrangers teams respectively.

The tournament pitted Victoria Country teams against each other and their Victoria Metro counterparts.

The representative basketball season hits top gear this weekend, with Shepparton Junior Gators sending 14 teams to the Bendigo Tournament.

The under-18 girls will head to Eltham for a tournament.

It will be the first hit-out since the Christmas break, as teams prepare for Junior Country Championships in the coming months.

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