HORSHAM basketballers Alexandra Hiscock and Aily McAuliffe will take the next step in their development after being selected for Basketball Australia’s National Intensive Training program.
The pair was selected for the program after trials in Bendigo on Saturday.
They were two of only 30 girls in country Victoria aged between 14 and 17 to be selected. Thirty-one boys were also chosen.
Basketball Australia established the program 12 years ago to identify and develop outstanding junior basketball players.
Many of the current members of the men’s and women’s national teams participated in the program.
Hiscock and McAuliffe were members of the successful Horsham Hornets under-16 team, which was one of the top sides in the state.
The team won the Shepparton Basketball Tournament, pitted entirely against Basketball Victoria Junior Country Championship division one teams, in December.
Horsham basketball coach Owen Hughan said the pair had worked hard to be accepted in the program and deserved the opportunity.
“Seeing them in the division one championships, I thought they were the best two-guard combination in the league,” he said.
“Being picked is a credit to the girls – they have disadvantages because they don’t get a good hard game every week, which a lot of the players who live closer to Melbourne and play there every week do.
“We’re really thrilled, because it’s a really good feeling to see juniors who have had to battle and made it.”
Hughan said the pair would be in contention for future state teams.
He said they could follow in the footsteps of Warracknabeal’s Chloe Bibby and be picked for a national team if they continued to improve.
“They’re on a learning curve now and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before they come into contention for Australian teams, but they have the right attitude – if you have that you never know what can happen,” he said.
“Chloe was gifted with natural physical ability and size, but these girls have had to work even harder – I’m not saying Chloe doesn’t work hard, but it’s a matter of how much they’ve had to work to improve their game.”