THE year is just four and a half months old, but already it has been filled with highlights for Bendigo Lady Braves young gun Ahlise Hurst.
It’s likely only to get better for the 18-year-old, who is fresh from signing a US college contract to play with University of New Mexico (UHM)Lobos later this year.
But first Hurst is intent on gaining selection in the Australian Gems Under-19 team for the 2018 FIBA Asian Championship in India this October, as well as playing her part in the Braves’ chase for a SEABL title.
Sometimes – as Hurst found out on the weekend – those goals will clash.
The young point guard was absent from the Braves line-up for their nine-point win against Melbourne Tigers last Saturday while attending a Gems camp.
It was the Braves women’s sixth straight win to open the season and has them sitting atop the ladder ahead of Kilsyth (7-1), Nunawading (5-2) and this Sunday’s opponent Dandenong (5-3).
An announcement on whether Hurst will be invited to the next camp in August will be made in mid-June.
She remains hopeful, but uncertain, whether her commitment to UNM will prevent her from seeing out what Hurst believes is shaping as a “special season” for the Braves’ women.
“I haven’t decided a date when I’m leaving yet, which has been good – I’d like to have as much time here with the Braves as I can before going,” she said.
“It’s going to a big difference for me. I have visited (New Mexico) and am used to the heat, but the altitude there is a lot higher.
“I will have to adjust to that.
“July or early August is when I’ll likely go and the season here ends in August.
“I know they want to get me there as quickly possible, but I would love to play the season out.”
The Braves women will also play the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence this Friday night in Bendigo.
It’s a game Hurst, who has played four of six games this season, is particularly looking forward to, as it gives here the chance to test herself against similarly talented and elite youthful players.
“We played them only two weeks ago and got the win, but I wouldn’t say it was easy,” said Hurst, who spent the 2017-18 WNBL season with Bendigo Spirit.
“We’ve also got Dandenong on Sunday, which will be tough. When aren’t Dandenong tough?
“Everything for me this year resolves around basketball; it’s pretty much all I have lined up for the rest of the year.”