Lavey prepares to represent Australia

POINT TO PROVE: Bendigo junior Tessa Lavey.  Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY
POINT TO PROVE: Bendigo junior Tessa Lavey. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

TALENTED Bendigo basketballer Tessa Lavey is preparing to represent Australia at the inaugural FIBA Oceania under-17 championships against New Zealand next month.Under-17 is a new age category for FIBA - the world governing body for basketball - with the Oceania championships to be played in Brisbane from August 20 to 22.Lavey, 16, is the only Victoria Country representative selected in the final squad of 12, which will be coached by Peter Lonergan, who heads the NSW National Intensive Training Program and was an assistant coach with the Australian Opals when they won the FIBA women’s world championship in 2006.Lavey earned her place in the squad after impressing for Victoria Country in the under-18 national championships in Adelaide in April.The point guard moved to Bendigo in January this year, having started her promising basketball career in Swan Hill at under-10 level.Lavey, a Year 11 student at Catholic College Bendigo, played for the Generals in the women’s division of the Bendigo Basketball Association’s summer competition. She is presently representing the Eltham Wildcats in the Victorian Junior Basketball League on Friday nights.Her impressive basketball CV also includes being a member of the National Intensive Training Camp Program, and being a member of the under-19 Australian Gems development squad since September, last year.The winner of the Oceania championship will go on to compete at the 2010 FIBA under-17 world championships next July in France (women) and Germany (men).Australia and New Zealand will play a best-of-three series to determine the Oceania champions.As part of the preparation, the team will have a pre-championship training camp on the Gold Coast from August 16 to 19.“This age group classification is an exciting new development in world basketball that provides an amazing opportunity for young athletes to test their skills among the world’s best players of the same age,’’ Basketball Australia general manager of national teams and competitions Lorraine Landon said.