Another new face has emerged from the Shepparton Junior Gators program, with Michael Reidy among three players selected in the latest Country Victoria under-18 state teams.By Damen Francis
Another new face has emerged from the Shepparton Junior Gators program, with Michael Reidy among three players selected in the latest Country Victoria under-18 state teams.
Reidy has been picked in the boys’ team to attend the Australian Under-18 Championships in Brisbane in April, while Shelby Britten and Rhianna Barton will be part of the girls’ team.
A fourth Notre Dame College student, Bellamey Sims, has been named an emergency for the boys’ team.
It will be a state-level debut for 15-year-old Reidy, who has been a fast improver and joins the team as a bottom-age player.
A versatile player, Reidy can play anywhere on the court from shooting guard to power forward.
The team is coached by former Australian under-17 and National Basketball League coach Guy Molloy and Reidy was already enjoying the experience.
‘‘It’s been pretty hard, pretty competitive and I’ve learned a lot from my teammates,’’ Reidy said.
‘‘I’m hoping to win and improve my game, so I can go back next year.’’
Selection was yet another achievement for Britten, who late last year represented Australia at the Oceania Women’s Pacific Youth Championships.
The zippy point guard said after playing as a top-age player in last year’s under-16 team, the step up as a bottom-age in the under-18 set-up was noticeable.
‘‘Sixteens is more a running game, 18s is more physical,’’ Britten said.
‘‘I still use speed and what I’ve got, but you definitely have to adapt.’’
Britten and Barton — who will also be attending her first national carnival — were regulars in the Shepparton Lady Gators’ Country Basketball League team this season and will have benefited greatly from the experience.
‘‘Going away we will come up against some tough competition, playing senior really helped (prepare us),’’ Barton said.
Sims said he was ‘‘pretty disappointed’’ to miss the final cut, but is no stranger to the situation, having also been an emergency as a bottom-age for the under-16 team two years ago.
That experience had a positive impact on his basketball and he is looking forward to the opportunity to train under Molloy this time around.
‘‘We’ve got a good experienced coach, he’s coached Australia a couple of times and stuff like that, so it’s a learning year and I’ll just try and come out strong next year,’’ Sims said.
Four Junior Gators have also been named in the Under-16 Victoria Country squads after trials in Shepparton last weekend.
Mia Beks, Kristy Down and Genna Ogier are in the girls’ team and Bailey Michel in the boys’ team.
The 25-player squads will be cut to final teams of 15 following a two-day camp in April.
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