NSW Under 16 Squads Announced

A pair of teams short on experience but high on talent will make the long trip across the country to Perth for the 2017 Australian Under 16 National Championships in July, with the squads for NSW Metro and NSW Country named today. With just five of the twenty players having played in last year’s tournament, this year’s squads will feature plenty of players out to prove themselves on the national stage.

The NSW Metro squad could be described as the North Of The Bridge All-Stars, with all ten members of the team coming from Hornsby, Manly, or Norths. Riley Crawford and Catriona Henderson are the only players in the squad with experience at Under 16 Nationals level. Both were members of the 2016 NSW Metro side which reached the grand final before going down to Victoria Metro in the championship game. Henderson was the team’s second-highest scorer, averaging 10 points per game whilst also collecting 5.8 rebounds per game. Crawford was used more sparingly, but her impact will no doubt lift in her second trip to a national championship.

NSW Country finished in fifth place in the 2016 tournament after defeating Victoria Country on the final day of the tournament, but like the NSW Metro team, will return very few members of that team. Olivia Barber is one who will return, and was the team’s second top scorer behind now Under 18s player Isabel Palmer, averaging 8 points per game in 2016. Barber was also the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 8.1 boards per game. Ella Dent and Ruby MacDonald also return from 2016, and will be looking to step up to become more involved after averaging 2.4 and 3 points per game respectively in last year’s tournament.

NSW Country were the last team in sky blue to bring home the Norma Connolly trophy, securing victory in 1998 on their home patch at Terrigal. Since then, it has been all Victoria Metro. The Melbourne-based side won every title from 2000 to 2013 before SA Metro and Queensland South won in 2014 and 2015 respectively. 2016 saw Victoria Metro return to the winners’ circle and every other team will be looking to knock them off their perch before they break off another winning streak.

2017 NSW Country Under 16 Squad

Name Club
Andrews, Zali Queanbeyan
Barber, Olivia Bathurst
Dent, Ella Illawarra
Jennings, Rosanna Newcastle
Kingham, Kate Newcastle
Matthews, Sara Bathurst
MacDonald, Ruby Western Reds
McLean, Keely Newcastle
Raidaveta, Amelia Dubbo
Relf, Jessica Newcastle

2017 NSW Metro Under 16 Squad

Name Club
Barr, Jessica Hornsby
Crawford, Riley Manly
Goodchild, Alana Hornsby
Henderson, Catriona Manly
Morgan, Isabelle Norths
Pitman, Erica Hornsby
Prior, Millie Manly
Van Der Maas, Elles Manly
Walker, Daila Hornsby
Wills, Holly Manly

2017 Under 18 Nationals Preview

Two teams of outstanding young NSW basketball players will travel to Townsville this week in preparation for the Australian Under 18 Basketball Championships. The NSW Metro side will be attempting to win their first title since 2012, whilst NSW Country will be looking for their first title since going back to back in 2005 and 2006.

The NSW Country side features a mix of players with varying levels of experience, from tournament rookies through to members of last season’s Under 18 team. Paris Forcadilla, Bianca Green, Melanie Kirby, and Kayla McSpadden return from last season’s team, but gone are the Under 17 World Champion trio of Lara McSpadden, Jasmine Simmons, and Cassidy McLean. Stepping up will be three rookies: Lucy Chapman, Ashleigh Fasala, and Abbey Morton, as well as three players from last season’s Under 16 team. Among these are Newcastle’s Isabel Palmer, who averaged 21.56 points in last season’s Under 16 national championships to lead the NSW Country side to 5th place. Serena Waters and Matilda Flood will also make the step up to the Under 18 level having shone at the Under 16 level.

A highly talented 2016 NSW Metro side was struck down by illness, which forced the team to forfeit one of their pool games before eventually finishing the tournament in 11th place. Not one player on the 2017 NSW Metro team has experience at the Under 18 tournament level, but every member of the team has played at the Under 16 level. Interestingly, the team features one player with WNBL experience: Shyla Heal, who played 14 games for the now defunct SEQ Stars in 2015/16. Heal, daughter of Boomers legend Shane, played for Queensland South in the 2015 Under 16 championships, but has since made the move to Sydney and will don the sky blue this year.

Five members of the team are stepping up from last season’s NSW Metro Under 16 side, which reached the championship game before going down to Victoria Metro in the decider. Tatiana Beaumont, Rebekah Dallinger, Meg Jefferson, Gracie Lee, and Sadie Walsh-Gay were all members of that team, with Jefferson averaging 13.44 points per game throughout the tournament.

The side also incorporates four players who last featured at a national championships in 2015. Chloe Bloom, Deanna Kalivitis, Binta Salawu, and Lauryn Walker return to the representative fold as a young team attempts to atone for last year’s disappointment which was admittedly under difficult circumstances.

Both teams, and all others in the tournament, will be out to stop Victoria Metro from winning their fourth consecutive title. The team in navy has won 12 of the last 16 titles, with only NSW Country’s back to back titles in 2005 and 2006 and titles to NSW Metro and Queensland South in 2013 interrupting Victoria Metro’s dominance at this level.

The tournament begins on Saturday, April 8. The full fixture can be found here, with live stats available throughout the tournament.

Listed below are the rosters for each team and their statistics from their last national championship.

NSW Country Under 18 Squad

Name Club Championship PPG RPG APG
Chapman, Lucy Gosford None
Fasala, Ashleigh Coffs Harbour None
Flood, Matilda Bathurst 2016 U16 6.78 7.56 2.11
Forcadilla, Paris Gosford 2016 U18 1.62 3.00 0.88
Green, Bianca Newcastle 2016 U18 6.62 6.50 1.38
Kirby, Melanie Albury 2016 U18 3.00 4.12 0.12
McSpadden, Kayla Newcastle 2016 U18 0.88 2.88 0.25
Morton, Abbey Wagga Wagga None
Palmer, Isabel Newcastle 2016 U16 21.56 5.44 1.11
Waters, Serena Newcastle 2016 U16 6.89 2.11 0.56

NSW Metro Under 18 Squad

Name Club Championship PPG RPG APG
Beaumont, Tatiana Penrith 2016 U16 3.89 5.22 1.11
Bloom, Chloe Penrith 2015 U16 10.44 8.00 0.78
Dallinger, Rebekah Norths 2016 U16 3.67 7.67 2.33
Heal, Shyla Sutherland 2015 U16 10.44 6.00 2.00
Jefferson, Meg Penrith 2016 U16 13.44 9.67 0.44
Kalivitis, Deanna Sutherland 2015 U16 3.22 6.44 0.56
Lee, Gracie Manly 2016 U16 4.56 3.56 2.11
Salawu, Binta Penrith 2015 U16 8.33 4.56 1.78
Walker, Lauryn Manly 2015 U16 3.22 2.56 0.67
Walsh-Gay, Sadie City of Sydney 2016 U16 7.44 4.00 2.44