Zak Simons, Kobe Mansell named for Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup

ALBURY BOUND: Zak Simons (pictured), Kobe Mansell and Sara Matthews will take part in the upcoming Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT
ALBURY BOUND: Zak Simons (pictured), Kobe Mansell and Sara Matthews will take part in the upcoming Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup. Photo: ALEXANDER GRANT

Orange’s brightest have continued to gain representation on the NSW Country stage with two Eagles named in extended state squads for January’s Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup.

Zak Simons and Kobe Mansell will be joined by Goldminers’ gun Sara Matthews as players selected to battle it out against the nation’s top country players in Albury early next year.

The Bathurst group will be battling it out with their teammates for a spot in the final NSW Country side to play at the Australian Under 18s Championships in April.

Bathurst baksetball co-ordinator Paul Masters said it’s no surprise to see the three players selected after the strong seasons they’ve enjoyed.

“Those guys have all worked very hard to get where they are over the last couple of years. A couple of our players just missed out, which was disappointing, but they’ll be back working hard towards next year,” he said.

“Zak and Kobe both got to play a lot of games. They got to play Youth League against young men this year, which helps them a lot.

“Zak’s only a baby at that age group really, but he handled it with ease. Kobe had a great season in the competition at guard.

“Sara Matthews has had a big year with the All Schools team, the Western Reds and the Bathurst Goldminers. I think all three of them will be in the mix for state teams next year.”

The ACJBC runs from January 14 to 20.

Bathurst also had Chloe Boardman, Jackson Tapu and Kyle Allen selected to take part in the Country Development Tournament in Newcastle.

“It’s great for them because they get to train and play against NSW Metro,” Masters said.

“It’s really beneficial for their development. They’ll get to improve their game with several training sessions through each day.”

Meanwhile, a group of promising Bathurst juniors have begun their path towards future representative basketball during the annual NSW Country Jamboree.

Bathurst, once again, had a big presence at the event.

Under 12s players Clayton Allen, Kieran Falcke, Jack Gangemi, Kurt Lansom, Beth Anderson, Amity Covington-Gorst, Roxy George, Piper Kildea and Sienna Whalan recently enjoyed four days of basketball action at Tamworth.

Masters coached one of the teams over the busy week and enjoyed seeing the next crop of junior talent coming through.

“You’ve got to have a good base to build off for your future representative teams and that’s what this is about,” he said.

“We had over 90 boys and 90 girls playing games of basketball against each other and learning about what it takes to play at the next level.

“They develop great friendships because they get picked in teams with players they don’t know. By the second day you can see a huge difference.

“The Bathurst kids all did really well and it’s great experience for them.”