Basketball Victoria has selected the 2022 Under-18 State teams representing Victoria Country and Victoria Metropolitan as well as the Victorian Kevin Coombs Cup team for wheelchair athletes.
These five teams will head to Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, Ballarat from 10-17 April 2022 for the Australian Under-18 Junior Championships and Kevin Coombs Cup.
There are four new additions to the head coaching roster for our five state teams heading to Ballarat.
Trevor Lee will resume his state coaching career in 2022 as our new Victoria Metropolitan Under-18 Men’s head coach while fellow state team coach alumnus Michael Brookens will be head coach for the Victoria Metropolitan Under-18 Women.
Jason Bryant will be at the helm for the Victorian Kevin Coombs Cup team for the first time in his coaching career as will Brenton O’Brien with the Victoria Country Under-18 Men, with both men making the step up from assistant coach in previous years.
Haydn Kirkwood returns to coach the Victoria Country Under-18 Women following a solid 2021 campaign winning bronze in Wyndham.
In 2021 our Victoria Metropolitan U18 Women were just pipped in the grand final, taking silver while the Victoria Country U18 Women won bronze to cap off their tournament in style.
It will be the first time since the 2019 tournament where the Victorian Kevin Coombs Cup wheelchair basketball team will participate following the event’s cancellation in both 2020 and 2021.
The five selected sides will tip off the Australian Junior Championships for 2022 with the Australian Under-20 and Ivor Burge Junior Championships moved from its traditional February start date to 19-24 April in Mackay, Queensland.
KEVIN COOMBS CUP
After two years out of the national spotlight, our Kevin Coombs Cup team – for Victoria’s up-and-coming wheelchair basketball stars – will take the court in Ballarat with a cavalcade of talent and experience.
Australian Paralympian Isabel Martin leads an impressive line-up including junior Australian representatives Jaylen Brown, Mitch Bond and James Weinert and a number of rising stars across the team including first-time KCC representatives Tomas Klein, Will Firth and Laura Davoli.
With a settled and experienced side formed over a number of years, in spite of COVID restrictions and border closures forcing the unfortunately cancellation of the last two national wheelchair basketball tournaments, head coach Jason Bryant believes the side is ready to achieve big things in front of a home-state crowd in Ballarat.
“Our biggest strength has been our ability to put together a team with a good mix of experience with emerging next generation athletes,” Bryant said. “We've developed a strong culture in the program and our group is hungry for the challenge of competing at the Kevin Coombs Cup in April.
"It will be brilliant to see Issy Martin back in the Victorian line-up after her first Paralympics with the Australian Gliders, while Jaylen Brown, Mitch Bond and James Weinert all also have recent international playing experience in the Australian U23 Spinners.
“Kevin Coombs Cup newcomer Tomas Klein has joined the group after several years of training with the Australian Wheelchair Rugby squad and he will be a fast and dynamic addition to our team.
“We've seen a really high standard of competition throughout tryouts and the Kumon Country-Metro Challenge - the addition of Wheelchair Basketball into the State Development Program has seen our numbers grow with several athletes coming to basketball from other sports, this has helped drive the standards and competitiveness in the group to a great new level.
“The opportunity to work with a great group of athletes and coaches is something I always enjoy. The group has been working hard through a tough two years, giving the athletes the chance to build on the experience of the Kumon Country-Metro Challenge and take that to the next level at the Kevin Coombs Cup is definitely something to look forward to for me.”
KEVIN COOMBS CUP – TEAM LIST
KEVIN COOMBS CUP – STAFF
Head Coach: Jason Bryant (Wyndham)
Assistant Coach: Ben Hodgens
Assistant Coach: Gabrielle Smith (Whittlesea)
Team Manager: Kim Hampton (Bendigo)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY MEN
Big, strong and ready to shine with home court advantage – the Victoria Country Under-18 Men’s team has plenty of stars ready to make an impact at Ballarat.
Returning from last year’s Under-18 team are trio Alex Molan, Lucas Impey and Corey Hastings, with the former two set to relish the national spotlight on their home court at Ballarat Sports and Events Centre.
For first-time head coach Brenton O’Brien, the size and strength of the side – including the seven-foot tandem of Martin Steen and Nate Hargrave – as well as the nimble work form the guard group will give them plenty to rally around heading into the championships.
“The strengths of our group is going to be our size, length and versatility, but also our dynamic guards who can create for themselves and others,” O’Brien said. “It has been a tough process because everyone competing at the Challenge has put forward a case to why they could be selected and how they could help the team.
“It was clear in every game how much it meant to the athletes to be selected and represent Vic Country - to see the athletes getting a chance to finally compete against the best of the best was great and seeing them competing and loving the game was great.
“We are all looking forward to working with this group and to see what we can achieve. The reason we coach is to impact the lives of the athletes and we now have until April to do everything we can to help them reach their goals and develop as a group so we can look back and know we got everything out of this experience that we could. That’s what I am looking forward to and also cannot wait to get to nationals and compete with this great group of athletes and the staff.”
UNDER-18 COUNTRY MEN – TEAM LIST
Alex Molan (Ballarat)
Ben Waller (Traralgon)
Boston Dowling (Shepparton/Eltham)
Corey Hastings (Southern Peninsula)
Lucas Impey (Ballarat)
Martin Steen (Bendigo/Knox)
Max Zalakos (Geelong United)
Nate Hargrave (Wyndham)
Ned Renfree (Ballarat)
Riley Dunn (Ballarat)
Brady Hall (Colac / Geelong United)
Jack Whitlock (Shepparton)
Jett Garnham (Wonthaggi / Dandenong)
Josiah Pattinson (Bendigo)
Matt Whitlock (Shepparton)
Tom Field (Sandringham)
Wil Rantall (Warrnambool)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY MEN – STAFF
Head Coach: Brenton O’Brien (Geelong United)
Assistant Coach: Hayden Annett (Wallan)
Assistant Coach: Kaleb Sclater (Maffra)
Development Coach: Scott Ramsey (Southern Peninsula)
Team Manager: Ben White (Southern Peninsula)
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN WOMEN
Length and strength – the hallmarks of a great Victoria Metropolitan state team will be on display with the Under-18 Women in 2022.
Returning for a second crack at the under-18 national title will be Amy Kurkowski and Tabitha Betson while the side features a number of state team representatives including Paige Burrows, Georgia McBean and Edie Clark.
Also returning for another round of Australian Junior Championships, Victoria Metropolitan head coach Michael Brookens said the team’s tenacity and energy has him impressed heading towards Ballarat.
“The strength of our team will be the 4 P’s; persistence, pressure, pace and physicality,” Brookens said. “We will be a fiercely competitive side - this team is full of stars.
“We will get great contributions from different players every match. We will share the ball and make teams defend us at every position - collectively we will be an old school coach’s dream with a modern flare.
“The standard of the tryout group was phenomenal. The athletes really took on board what I wanted from them. They all had moments of brilliance, competed hard and made it very difficult to select the team.
"By the end of the weekend, we saw some very exciting and high quality basketball. No one player stood out because they all competed so hard. They all were excellent.
“I’m looking forward to the journey with the players, coaches and their families. The kids are fantastic people. They are all the type of kids that would run through a brick wall for you. With all that they have been through in the last two years I am looking forward to unleashing all that pent up energy to compete and represent their state. What they are capable of as a group has the potential to be special and that really excites me.”
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN WOMEN – TEAM LIST
Amy Kurkowski (Sandringham)
Dakota Crichton (Casey)
Edie Clarke (Melbourne)
Georgia McBean (Kilsyth)
Georgia Sewell (Dandenong)
Georgia Taylor (Dandenong)
Hannah Wickstrom (Sandringham)
Lucy Dexter (Casey)
Paige Burrows (Knox)
Tabitha Betson (Bulleen)
Evie King (Hawthorn)
Isabella Stewart (Melbourne)
Isla Airey (Sandringham)
Lily Carmody (Bulleen)
Madeline Potts (Nunawading)
Sarah Portlock (Broadmeadows)
Zoe Harvey (Frankston)
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN WOMEN – STAFF
Head Coach: Mike Brookens (Bulleen)
Assistant Coach: Matt Bongetti (Eltham)
Assistant Coach: Tracey Wightman (Hawthorn)
Development Coach: Megan Jarvis (Keilor)
Team Manager: Katrina Barry (Dandenong)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY WOMEN
Home town energy and a powerful, experienced core of players - this will be a Victoria Country Women's team to keep an eye on.
Centre of Excellence scholarship holder Sienna Harvey will feature in the Country Women’s team alongside a number of familiar faces within the national arena.
Returning for their top-age tilt at the Australian Junior Championships’ under-18 title will be Jemma Amoore, Isabel Whitelaw, Milly Sharp and Jaime Gallatly adding extra experience and insight to this already skilful group.
Head coach Haydn Kirkwood said the team is ready to adapt to the pressure of national championship basketball and be ready for whatever comes their way.
“Our versatility will be one of our strengths with all players being able to shoot and also play off the dribble from the perimeter,” Kirkwood said. “Sienna Harvey after missing out on the last couple of opportunities to represent Victoria Country is excited to get her chance to showcase her talented skillset on the National level.
“Kyra Webb is able to play anywhere and in any position on the court - her ability exchange between the wing to post position is going to be a headache for teams trying to take away one of her strengths.
“The level of competition and athletic ability demonstrated by the athletes involved was encouraging to see after last year’s unpredictable playing environment. It’s great to see that overall skill development has continued in spite of everything that has been going on.
“Seeing a lot of these athletes representing their state at a home nationals in front of their friends and family will be the highlight of the tournament - we are expecting some big turnouts from the basketball community in support of the local Victoria Country teams.”
UNDER-18 COUNTRY WOMEN – TEAM LIST
Sienna Harvey (Geelong United)
Alexandra Leng (Mildura)
Jemma Amoore (Ballarat)
Milly Sharp (Ballarat)
Kyra Webb (Sale/Casey)
Emily Scholtes (Traralgon)
Jaime Gallatly (Maffra)
Chantelle James (Frankston)
Asha Nightingale (Traralgon)
Isabel Whitelaw (Shepparton/Hawthorn)
Lavinia Cox (Bendigo)
Tahli Smith (Wodonga)
Macey McGlead (Korrumburra)
Emily Lewis (Ballarat)
Hayley Letts (Melbourne Tigers)
UNDER-18 COUNTRY WOMEN – STAFF
Head Coach: Haydn Kirkwood (Wodonga)
Assistant Coach: Joe Turner (Casey)
Assistant Coach: Rebecca McIntyre (Horsham)
Development Coach: Carly Stones (Eltham / Bendigo)
Team Manager: Wendy Campbell (Traralgon)
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN MEN
Experience and energy will form the foundation of an almighty Victoria Metropolitan Under-18 Men’s team in 2022. Looking to bounce back from last year’s campaign in Wyndham, the Metro Men are set to impress under returning coach Trevor Lee.
Kristian Ferronato, Ethan Bolton and Tristan Devers are set to return for their second under-18 national championships campaign alongside plenty of talented fresh-faces including Tiernan Stynes, Carlin Briggs and Luke Fennell.
Returning for his fourth time as a state team head coach, Trevor Lee said the group’s versatility and strength will put them in great stead to succeed.
“We’ve got some great athletes this year who can play in multiple positions – that’s probably our biggest strength. Versatility and athleticism as they’re a very athletic group.
“This is my ninth preparation with state teams and it’s the toughest and hardest team I’ve had to pick – so many good athletes that didn’t make this team.
“After an extensive process that we started back in November – it was tough to cut all the way through and even tougher to pick the team over the weekend. Everyone stood up, you could see the sense of urgency and passion from the players and it was an extremely difficult team to pick.
“I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the preparation stages before the championships – this is a great group and we’re keen to build the chemistry to be successful.
“Ultimately we’ve got our eyes on one goal - coming back with a gold medal; that’s the ultimate goal and we want to bring it back home to Victoria where it belongs.”
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN MEN – TEAM LIST
Archer McMenamin (Casey)
Austin Rapp (Knox)
Carlin Briggs (Knox)
Ethan Bolton (Casey)
Joel Foxwell (Bulleen)
Kristian Ferronato (Eltham)
Kynan Philippe (Frankston)
Luke Fennell (Knox)
Tiernan Stynes (Nunawading)
Tristan Devers (Nunawading)
Kiir Kuany (Coburg)
Fraser Roxburgh (Knox)
Jack Whitbourn (Melbourne)
Jesse McIntosh (Hawthorn)
Keyan Bongso (Melbourne)
Patrick Carr (Diamond Valley)
UNDER-18 METROPOLITAN MEN – STAFF
Head Coach: Trevor Lee
Assistant Coach: Duncan Berg (Dandenong)
Assistant Coach: Matt Shanahan
Development Coach: Brent Andrews (Dandenong)
Team Manager: Mark Sainsbery (McKinnon)