Young Latrobe Valley guns firing ahead in basketball

TRARALGON basketball has two new rising stars in Danni Pearce and Jack White.

Two weeks ago Danni returned from China after representing the Australian under 17 women’s team at a competition in China.

Initially listed as an emergency, Danni said she received a call on Easter Saturday to say she’d made the team.

“A girl in the team hurt her knee and had to have surgery, so luckily I made it,” she said.

“I was so excited, then we spent two weeks over in China, it was really fun but we also worked hard.”

The team played nine games in two weeks against teams from China, including the women’s Olympic reserve team, the United States and New Zealand.

Overall Australia came third, and Danni particularly enjoyed playing against the Chinese Olympic reserve team.

“Against the Chinese Olympic reserve team we lost by 20 points so that was pretty good,” she said.

“It was amazing to get that experience of playing such an experienced team.”

According to Danni, the coach was equally impressed with her personal performance.

“The coach said that I’d come in as an emergency, but now had a really good chance of making it into the team,” she said.

In June, Danni will attend a camp at the Australian Institute of Sport where another under 17 side will be selected for the World Championships to be held later in the year.

“This is what I’m really working towards,” she said.

Danni agreed that she had been “inspired” by the trip to China, and was now more determined than ever to represent Australia again.

Closer to home, Traralgon’s Jack White has recently been selected in the Victorian Country under 16 team that will compete at the Under 16 National Basketball Championships at Tamworth during the July school holidays

With accolades coming from Latrobe City Energy coach Luke Smith and a gold medal from the recent Australian Junior Country Basketball Cup, Jack is looking to perform at his best once again in Tamworth.

Jack is also part of the Victorian Country’s National Intensive Training Program, and participates in specialised weekly training sessions and camps.

“I love everything about basketball,” Jack said.

“The intensity, the competition and the fun of it too.

“I just want to continue and do the best I can.”

When asked about the standard of basketball in the area, Jack said he believed the standard was “pretty high” considering the number of people in the area, and said it was continuing to increase in popularity.