Young gun Tessa Lavey signs with Bendigo Spirit

TESSA Lavey has the potential to be one of the best point guards in the Women’s National Basketball League, according to Bendigo Spirit coach Bernie Harrower.

Lavey, who joins the Spirit from WNBL rival the Canberra Capitals, took part in an Opals training camp at the AIS this week.

“I’ve always thought she’d be on one of the best point guards in Australia,’’ Harrower said of Lavey yesterday.

“We tried to sign her last year...we’re really looking forward to her coming into our group.

“She’s a tallish guard, she’s quick and strong and likes to play physical.

“We’ll give her the opportunity to learn the ropes of the role and, hopefully, she’ll become our on-court leader for years to come.”

Lavey’s signing gives the Spirit cover in the point guard role should Kristi Harrower decide to retire.

“If Kristi retires we’ve got Kelly Wilson to start in the point guard role and then Tessa and Jane Chalmers to provide the back-up,’’ Bernie Harrower said.

“You can’t replace someone like Kristi, but I’m happy with the depth we have in the guards should she not play.”

It will be a homecoming of sorts for  Lavey. 

The 20-year-old grew up in Swan Hill before moving to Bendigo to further her basketball career.

Lavey attend Catholic College where her form for Victoria Country at junior national titles level was rewarded with a scholarship to the AIS.

She played in the WNBL with the AIS for three seasons before spending last season with the Canberra Capitals.

“The fact she was invited to go to the Opals training camp this week shows that she’s highly regarded,’’ Bernie Harrower said.

“She’s having a good season in the SEABL (with Canberra) this year as well.

“We’re excited to have her on board.”

Lavey’s signing completes the Spirit’s roster for their WNBL title defence.

“We’ve never had our recruiting completed so early,’’ Harrower said.

“The only thing we have to finalise is what Chelsea Aubry is doing and we can’t do that until she returns from Canada. It’s a nice position for the club to be in.

“We’ve added some size to the group with Elyse Penaluna. Sara Blicavs is athletic and can play in a variety of positions and Tessa  gives us the other guard we were after.

“The most pleasing thing with our recruiting is that all those players are good people and they will fit in nicely with the group we had last season.” 

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