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Girls ready and raring

Friday, 10th January, 2014

Angel Simmons, Whitney Smith, Chelsea Masclet and Eliza Cumming are off to Albury for a national basketball tournament which begins on Monday. Angel Simmons, Whitney Smith, Chelsea Masclet and Eliza Cumming are off to Albury for a national basketball tournament which begins on Monday.

By Ethan James

Four of Broken Hill’s brightest basketball prospects have put the finishing touches on their preparation ahead of the National Country Championships next week.

Angel Simmons and Eliza Cumming (Under 14s), Chelsea Masclet (U16s) and Whitney Smith (U18s) went through their final paces at the basketball stadium yesterday morning.

They are set to make the trek to Albury this weekend for the tournament which starts on Monday.

President of the Broken Hill Basketball Association Graeme Semmens is coaching the U16 girls’ side and said he has put the girls through a rigorous training program across the school holidays.

“We’ve been at it since the basketball season finished up aside from a short break over Christmas ... and we’ve been virtually going every day since then,” he said. 

“We’re honing in on skills and fitness and have done a couple of beep tests.

“They’re a dedicated group though, they’ve been pushing themselves.

“There have even been some boys and girls who have come down even though they’re not involved in this particular competition, which has been outstanding to see.”

The nine hour drive to Albury will include a few stops along the way to pick up other members of various teams.

The first stop for the bus is at Mildura before it heads another 100 kilometres south to the remote Victorian town of Ouyen.

“That’s the last pick up spot and it’s basically just a little farming town with one service station,” Mr Semmens said.

“From there we go through Swan Hill until we hit our final destination of Albury for the tournament.”

Mr Semmens has coached for the past thirteen years and took the Under 16 girls’ side to the grand final last year before they were beaten in the decider by a New Zealand outfit.

“It’s hard to say exactly how we’ll go this year, we don’t have too many sessions as a full squad beforehand,” he said. 

“We are going into the unknown a little bit but the effort of everyone has been great ... they’re a good group of kids.”

The competition consists of six or seven minor round games that lead into the final on Saturday.

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