UNDER-18 CHAMPIONSHIPS AND KEVIN COOMBS CUP PREVIEW- Western Australia

UNDER-18 CHAMPIONSHIPS AND KEVIN COOMBS CUP PREVIEW- Western Australia

In the lead-up to the Under-18 Championships and Kevin Coombs Cup held in Townsville from April 13-20, we preview the teams from all eight state and territories, continuing with Western Australia.

Under-18 Men’s WA Metro Team List:

Joel Burton, Victor-Gabriel Chadinha, Elijah Hayden, Tyler Kohr, Blake Nielsen, Liam Patterson, Daniel Rogers, Nathan Snelgrove, Kane Waters, Jahrece White.

The reigning champions, WA Metro broke an 18-year drought when they created history at last year’s Championships to win the Under-18’s men’s title and the Merv Emms trophy.

Only Kane Waters returns from that team though, a player who has already competed at a national Championships this year after representing the NBA Global Academy at the Under-20’s in February.

Tyler Kohr is back in the yellow and black after a slight absence, having played for WA at the 2017 Under-16’s where he averaged 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Joel Burton will be another important part of WA Metro’s front court after he pulled down 7.8 boards to go with seven points per game at the Under-16’s two years ago and those forwards will play a crucial role in the team’s attempts to defend their Championship.

Under-18 Men’s WA Country Team List:

Henry Alforque, Devan Craig, Josh Hunt, Alastair Ishigami-Sims, River Joseph, Harrison Klasztorny, Brodie Morris, Shamus Trainor, Harry Wessels, Tyler Willmore.

In contrast to WA Metro, WA Country have three returning players from last year’s Championships and after they all impressed in 2018, WA Country will be looking to them to lead this year’s side.

Alastair Ishigami-Sims is an excitement machine who can light up the back court with his speed and harassing defence as he recorded seven points and 2.7 steals (fifth most for the tournament) last year.

He struggled to find his shot but with another year of development, that part of his game will have improved and alongside the deadly three-point threat in Shamus Trainor as well as Josh Hunt, WA Country have some potent offensive weapons.

They will be joined by a few newcomers including Tyler Willmore and Henry Alforque who are team mates from Albany and Geraldton’s River Joseph who hails from the same area as Hunt.

Under-18 Women’s WA Metro Team List:

Hannah Burt, Tahni Geel, Holly Halliday, Shenae Hartree, Zahli Rose Jolly, Millicent McCarthy, Brooke Malone, Tia Morgan, Natasha Oberman, Emma Strelein.

Last year, the WA Metro women had seven players average a steal or more per game and with two of those players returning in Natasha Oberman and Tia Morgan, their defensive stocks will be boosted again in 2019.

Their position in the final standings could rest on the performances of those who have elevated from Under-16’s though with Brooke Malone, Emma Strelein and Hannah Burt all making the jump this year.

Malone showcased her three-point shot in 2018 with 12 three-pointers, Burt will provide a presence in the paint after averaging five rebounds per game while Strelein displayed her ability to impact all areas of the floor with 4.8 points, 5.9 boards, 1.6 assists and two steals per contest.

Last month, Basketball WA announced they will be running a Women Leaders in Sport Program, aimed at empowering and developing young women for leadership roles within sport and Burt, Malone, Strelein, Morgan as well as Millicent McCarthy from this team have all been named.

With these level-headed and assured athletes in their midst, WA Metro look to be in the right hands for the foreseeable future.

Under-18 Women’s WA Country Team List:

Zaya Lilly Black, Jaide Britton, Alexandra Clinch-Hoycard, Angelina Dimasi, Dana East, Javene Fitch, Lily Fitzgerald, Maddy Gillett, Kayley King, Skye Palmer.

Dana East and Kayley King return for WA Country from last year's Under-18's, with East averaging five points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game at that tournament.

After a disappointing campaign in 2018, WA Country will be looking for more production from the likes of East as well as Zaya Lily Black and Lily Fitzgerald who was a key member of the Under-16's team in 2018 when she collected 7.8 points and nine rebounds per contest.

Defence will be key for the team and they will need to be at their best from the outset as they take on QLD South on Day 1, who will have a big backing from the home crowd, as well as last year's silver and bronze medallists SA Metro and Vic Country in the group stage.

Skye Palmer (via West Australian).

Kevin Coombs Cup:

Cory Crombie, Andrew Dewberry, Lauren Hardbottle, Joel Herbert, Mary Friday, Angus Johnston, Thomas McHugh, Benjamin Moncrieff, Frank Pinder, Benjamin Sainsbury, Jasmyne White.

Western Australia advanced through the group stage of last year’s Kevin Coombs Cup undefeated, including a win over Victoria, but they were unable to keep the streak going in the gold medal re-match against the Vics, falling by eight points.

That is sure to give them added incentive heading into 2019 and with eight returning players from that side, there will be no issues with chemistry heading into this year.

“WA’s strengths lie in the team’s depth and our balance between accomplished high-pointers and excellent low-pointers,” said Basketball Western Australia Wheelchair Coordinator Tom Kyle.

Andrew Dewberry was a dominant force last year, averaging 22.6 points per game (second in the competition) and a very impressive 10.8 assists (first) while he had a triple-double in the group stage against Victoria with 29 points, 13 assists and ten steals.

Thomas McHugh worked well with Dewberry as a strong offensive duo, recording 21.8 points per game on 56% shooting while adding 10.8 rebounds (fourth best overall) and Benjamin Moncrieff joined him in double-figure scoring with 13.8 points.

Benjamin Moncrieff (via Melville Times).

Frank Pinder’s work does not always show up on the stat-sheet but he is a part of the new crop of Under-23 Australian Spinners alongside McHugh, Moncrieff and Angus Johnston.

In addition, Mary Friday has just returned from a development camp in Thailand as part of a five-player contingent from the Under-25 Devils ahead of the IWBF World Championships mid-year.

Australian Paralympic legend Troy Sachs was also at the camp and Friday will have the opportunity to implement the lessons she learned at the Kevin Coombs Cup and help WA improve on last year’s silver medal.