Inverloch’s Xavier Lindsay from the Korumburra Basketball Association in action during the Southern Cross Challenge in Melbourne.

SEVERAL of South Gippsland’s most talented basketballers have represented Country Victoria, in two of Australia’s most impressive junior basketball competitions.
The Southern Cross Challenge held in Melbourne and the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup held in Albury, bring together the best talent from across the country and New Zealand.
The top 20 male and female under 14 and 15 athletes were selected to play at the Southern Cross Challenge in Melbourne which brings the nation’s brightest junior talent from both metropolitan and country areas together in the one event at the State Basketball Centre.
Representatives from both the Korumburra and Wonthaggi Basketball Associations were selected for this prestigious event.
Korumburra Basketball’s Xavier Lindsay and Asha Boyd Metselaar from Inverloch and Macey McGlead from Foster, along with Wonthaggi Basketball’s Harry Scott from Inverloch, took to the court in the fierce competition, playing at the highest level possible for these age groups.
The Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup was held in Albury over a sweltering week and showcased some of the best country basketballers from both Australia and New Zealand.
Representatives from Phillip Island, Korumburra, Warragul and Wonthaggi Basketball Associations all participated, in one of the best representations of South Gippsland basketballers in a long time.
Phillip Island’s Keith Robinson (U18), Paddy Ryan (U18) and Leo Savona (U14); Korumburra’s Luka Butters, Elloise Campbell, Ella Cocksedge, Siena Lane, Zac Mabilia and Taj Murdoch (all U14), Warragul’s Dallas Loughridge (U16), and Wonthaggi’s Jet Garnham (U14), all wore either the Country Victoria Bushrangers or Goldminers jerseys.
For Warragul player, Dallas Loughridge who lives in Loch with her family, it was extra special, captaining the Under 16 Girls to a gold medal.
Keith Robinson and Paddy Ryan also stepped away from the event being named in the Under 18 Victorian Country side for the Nationals.
This is the second time that Keith has been named in the squad, and Paddy rewarded from some excellent basketball and hard work.
Zac Mabilia concluded the event on a high, not only winning a gold medal with fellow teammate Taj Murdoch, but was also selected for the tour of New Zealand with the Australian Country Junior side in April.
Director of coaching at the Korumburra Basketball Association, Bill Jeffs, said both events are a great way to see some fabulous talent.
“Both the Southern Cross Challenge and the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup are fabulous events that are really important steps for our elite country athletes.
“It gives them some wonderful exposure and experience and it’s an integral part of the country high performance pathway,” he said.
“Selection into these events is not only an amazing achievement, but it allows all of our players to develop in a positive way both on and off the court.”