Basketball New Zealand has named the Aon New Zealand Girls basketball team to compete in the FIBA Oceania U15 Championships in December this year, to be held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
This comes after a selection camp held over Labour Weekend. Head Coach of the girls’ team, Natalie Visger, says it was tough to narrow the team to 12 players.
“This was a very prepared group coming into camp, super switched-on and competitive. Girls in New Zealand are starting to choose basketball earlier and it showed at camp with their ability to shoot the ball.
“This is a different group than last year’s. We lack some length in certain spots, but will make up for it with resilience and tenacity for 94 feet. We have some shooters, some versatile forwards, and kids that can attack the rim. I like the speed and versatility that we have. Pace won’t be an issue for us. This group has high character and that means a lot.
“Heading to PNG to compete with this group will be an adventure and we will continue to improve as we go on this journey together. Our goal is to develop these young ladies and to do our best to qualify for the Asia Champs in 2019,” says Coach Visger.
For those players narrowly missing the cut, Coach Visger says it’s constantly competitive for a spot on a national junior team. More opportunities wait for those who can work hard and fight their way back into contention.
“We could have gone either way on a couple of kids, but a lot of it has to do with positions and roles. We told them to continue to develop and grow as a player, and to not let a setback knock them off their goals of playing for a national team. This is a three-year pathway and kids will be moving in and out.”
Aon New Zealand Under 15 Girls:
• Alana Paewai - Waikato Basketball
• Hineaupounamu Nuku - Tauranga City Basketball
• Simone Barnard - North Harbour Basketball
• Melika Samia - Basketball Hawke's Bay
• Reece Anderson - Waikato Basketball
• Riana Matiseni - Waitakere West Auckland Basketball Inc.
• Breeje Schuler - Te Aroha Basketball
• Florence Dallow - North Harbour Basketball
• Emma Pugh - Hibiscus Coast Basketball Association
• Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu - North Harbour Basketball
• Vitolia Tuilave - Tauranga City Basketball
• Sera Taei - Basketball Auckland
• Makenzee Boucher - North Harbour Basketball
• Te Arani Te Puni - Manawatu Basketball
• Taiana Day - Tauranga City Basketball
• Dekoda Roberts - Rotorua Basketball
• Natalie Visger - Head Coach
• Kaea Samson - Assistant Coach
• Justine Reed - Assistant Coach
• Glenda Kaan - Manager
The Aon New Zealand Boys’ team will be named Friday morning, 26 October.
For more go to www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.