Local hoopers named to Vic Country squads

February 9, 2024 BY

Geelong United junior and Bellarine Storm Big V player Keegan Johnson was selected as a member of the Under 16 Vic Country squad in 2023. He will again represent Vic Country as part of the Under 18 squad this year. Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

A BIG contingent of local basketballers will don the “Big V” this April, after being selected to the Under-18 State National Championships in Queensland from April 7-14.

Geelong and Bellarine representatives Alistair Smaniotto, Hugh Buckby, Keegan Johnson, Indi Schwarz, Jasmine King, and Malik Davis (emergency) were announced by Basketball Victoria among regional Victoria’s top junior talents.

Geelong United NBL1 Men’s coach Grant Wallace, who also serves as Basketball Victoria’s general manager of High Performance and Pathways, said recent performances at major tournaments shaped the squads for Vic Country.

“The regular calendar of play and preparation, plus recent stellar performances at the East Coast Challenge and Country Cup determined a high calibre group of athletes to be selected from,” Wallace said.

“Our biggest strength is our culture, and we have seen the success of our high-performance hubs as part of our state development program that has helped drive the standards and competitiveness to a new level.

“Our whole group is looking forward to the trip to Queensland in April.”

This year’s National Championships will be held in Brisbane at the South Pine Indoor Sports Centre and the Northside Indoor Sports Centre.

The National Championships are widely regarded as the pinnacle Australian event for emerging basketball athletes, all eager to showcase their talents on a national stage.

The National Championships features Vic Country, Vic Metro, Queensland South, Queensland North, New South Wales Metro, New South Wales Country, Western Australia Metro, Western Australia Country, Northern Territory, Tasmania, and Australia Capital Territory all trying to be crowned National Champion.

Vic Country and Vic Metro headlined last year’s National Championships Grand Final with the latter ultimately securing gold.