By Jessica Robinson
Winding back to 2010, Australian Opal Lauren Scherf was gearing up to represent her State at the Under 16 national competition for the first time.
Suiting up for Vic Metro at both top and bottom age, Scherf recalls the two different yet rewarding experiences she had across both years. Little did she know that she would come out of her U16 journey as a two-time gold medallist and dual national champion, and with doors opening to a range of further opportunities.
“Making the State team at bottom age, I came in with no expectations, I was there to enjoy the experience and to grow and learn from everyone around me,” Scherf told BA Media.
“We went to Brisbane and won Gold, it was so great to learn from that experience and be in that atmosphere and then to take that into the next year, where I was fortunate enough to make it at top age as well.”
With a target on their back as Scherf entered her top age year and as Vic Metro prepared to go back-to-back on their home turf, the power forward was excited to take on more of a leadership role on the team.
“We played in Kilsyth in Melbourne and to play in front of a home crowd, with family and friends watching, it all helped us win Gold again.
“Being able to teach those girls who were on their first campaign, try being a leader, watching them grow and learn. I came off both my 16 tours with such gratitude, so excited and thankful to have had that experience.”
After impressing at her Vic Metro appearances across her U16 Championship years, Scherf progressed quickly and went on to represent Australia at several junior competitions, five years in a row. Repping the green and gold at the U16 FIBA Oceania Championships and U17, U18 and U19 FIBA World Championships, from 2011-2015.
“I didn’t think anything of it, pulling on the navy and white, playing for Vic Metro, I was doing it because I enjoyed it and having fun, but that opportunity really did help in the future years.
“To be able to represent my state on a national level was an honour and allowed me to make various Australian teams.”
Going on to achieve the WNBL 2015 Rookie of the Year, Scherf claimed the WNBL Championship with the UC Capitals in 2019 and in 2021 made her debut as an Australian Opal at the FIBA Asia Cup in Jordan, where they brought home bronze.
A feature of the Australian 3×3 line-up, Scherf has just come off the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup where she alongside Anneli Maley, Marena Whittle and Lauren Mansfield achieved Silver this past weekend in Singapore. The 3×3 teams will also be making their Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham, UK later this month.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for all my coaches and my family for driving me all over Melbourne to help me to get where I wanted to be as a basketballer and essentially to where I am today.”