8 February, 2024
Junior Hornets shine in Albury
On January 16-20, the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup (ACJBC) was held in Albury where Ruby Bethune, Rani Potter and Levi Munyard all participated.
The ACJBC is an annual state representative tournament that features upward of 60 teams and 700 players, coaches and officials featuring teams from NSW, SA, VIC, Tasmania and New Zealand in the U14, U16 and U18 age groups.
All three basketballers played in the tournament for the first time and were pivotal for their respective teams.
Potter played for the under-14 Goldminers which won the tournament. She scored 78 points and was their top scorer.
It was her first interstate representative tournament. Before that she played in Jamboree in 2022, a country Victoria tournament in Echuca.
Potter's mum, Jodi Bigmore, said that she enjoyed playing at the higher level and it was a different experience, one which she will remember for a long time.
"She felt she got better and better as the week went on," Jodi said.
"There were team meetings, team plays and reviews. She learned a lot and enjoyed playing at a higher level. It was really good for her."
Potter got selected for the Nunawading Spectres in the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) which started in December 2023. The VJBL is the premier pathway program for juniors in Victoria.
"She wanted to try out and kept asking if she could go," Jodi said.
"Owen Hughan said she has the ability and needs to play in the VJBL. He organised a tryout for her.
"I wasn't allowed to watch but afterward Rani said she loved it and that is where she is meant to be."
Potter will be playing this year and Jodi is proud of her.
"A lot of kids that play at the high level tend to get intimidated but she isn't. I am very proud of her," Jodi concluded.
Ruby Bethune played for the under-14 Bushrangers which finished third. She scored 39 points, averaging 4.88 a game.
Like Rani, it was her first representative interstate tournament, previously participating in Jamboree for the under-12's.
Ruby's mum, Alana, said that she was nervous to begin with but loved every minute of it.
"She was nervous at first but really enjoyed it. It was not what she was used to. It was all skills-based and a lot of new plays," Alana said.
"The main thing that was different was the intensity in preparation and recovery featuring hot and cold showers and nutrition.
"She is a quiet girl and it was a big thing to stay away for a week but she handled it well. It was a fantastic opportunity and I am so proud of her."