Two teams from the Goulburn Bears experienced a significant learning curve last weekend at the Barrengarry competition in Wollongong.
A team of Under 14’s girls and a team of Under 12’s girls made the trip, and although they were unsuccessful in their matches, club secretary Kate Rice said that winning was not the focus for the club.
“The U12 girls, they played two games,” Rice said.
“They were unlucky on the day, but they were very close games.
“The U14 girls played three games. They came up against three strong teams and played well, but were unlucky on the day.
“It’s a development league, so they’re developing their skills throughout these rounds with the hope that in the following years that they’ll be going to the Southern Junior League representative realm.”
The competition included teams from as far north as Sydney and as far south as Merimbula, and some of the players in attendance were highly experienced.
“Some of these teams that play in Barrengarry play at the Australian level as well, so they’re at that top representative level,” Rice said.
“It’s very difficult for some of the players, certainly for our Under 12 girls and Under 14 girls, most of the team haven’t played representative basketball before.”
Challenges such as these, Rice noted, will only help the girls as they return to the local competition in Goulburn.
“They’re learning to play well as a team, and they’re building those friendships, and they’re learning to lean on each other and develop each other’s skills,” Rice said.
“Whilst they’re developing their skills at the representative level, it only improves their games when they come back to [the] local level as well.”
But the trip was not all about skill development and experience, Rice noted. The girls also had enormous fun travelling and playing together.
“They loved it, they absolutely loved it,” Rice said.
“They get quite disappointed in themselves because they didn’t get a basket or whatever, but they passed the ball around pretty well and they just play well as a team.
“They all come off with positive attitudes.”
Rice praised the tournament and the inclusive attitude espoused by players and officials, and cited her daughter as an example of the positive atmosphere.
“My little daughter, Lucy, she’s 10, and she plays in the Under 12’s in the Australia level,” Rice said.
“She played with the girls on the weekend because they were short. Now, my daughter only has half an arm, but she gets out there and she has a go, nothing holds her back.
“No matter who they are or what they look like, everybody supports everybody, I love it.”