Improvement and participation on show from Horsham Amateur Basketball Association juniors

TALENT: Fourteen juniors from Horsham made the Basketball Victoria Country under-14s academy this season. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI
TALENT: Fourteen juniors from Horsham made the Basketball Victoria Country under-14s academy this season. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

PARTICIPATION has led to success for the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association during the representative season. 

The season has just wrapped up, with the association’s junior co-ordinator Tony Sleep excited by what has been achieved throughout the season.

“We continue to go from strength to strength,” he said.

“We had 11 representative teams, as well as an under-18 girls team we put together just for our Horsham tournament. We had 95 rep squad players, which is up from previous years. 

“For the first time ever we had a third development side in the under-14s, which just shows the strength of numbers we have in that group. We have also had more people coaching basketball, which is great.”

Horsham junior teams either won or finished runners-up in 10 titles throughout the season, which takes into account local tournaments and state championships. At the state championships, three Horsham sides finished in either division one or two.

“Usually our association hovers around the division three or four mark – it’s the first time in the last five years we have had three teams that high,” Sleep said.

The best performing team was the under-16 boys, who finished runners-up at the state championships in division one

Coach Damien Kilpatrick said the side’s success was fantastic to see.

“Teaching them to work for each other and be mates out on the court was the biggest challenge,” he said. “That’s why they were so successful. We weren’t relying on one person to do all the scoring or rebounding.”

The under-16 girls also performed extremely well and improved on its past results.

“The girls were a bit of a surprise packet,” Kilpatrick said. “We were a much more athletic team this year. The way they came together towards the end of the season was great. Their development has been huge over the last two years.”

There was also plenty of individual success, with Ben Hobbs, Austin McKenzie and Eloise Wills all competing at the Australia Country Junior Basketball Cup, with Hobbs and McKenzie also earning spots in the Victoria Country side to compete at the Australian championships.

Sleep said the HABA provided a strong grounding for the young athletes.

“From our association we had 22 athletes who then become involved with a range of Basketball Victoria Country programs,” he said. “Brody Pope was another who had a good season, heading to the Southern Cross Challenge in Melbourne.

“We are extremely proud of our athletes, and it doesn’t happen without the success of our domestic program. We are very proud of what we have been able to offer.”