Flames Young Guns Fly Out To Represent Western Australia

Article by : Travis Young
Flames Young Guns To Represent WA This Thursday morning, four of our very talented Flames juniors will make the long journey to Townsville in Far North Queensland along with a huge contingent of players, team officials and referees from WA Metro & Country, for the 2017 HelloWorld Basketball Australia U18 Championships.
Jesni Cooper, Izzy Classon, Luke Travers & Callum Beard will have the entire #FlamesFamily behind them as they don the Black & Gold against the best talent from across Australia in the week long tournament. Our resident reporter Travis Young caught up with the two youngest Flames making the trip across to Townsville in Jesni Cooper and Luke Travers, to get their thoughts on the upcoming Tournament:
RF: It's a heck of a journey from South West WA to far north Queensland. Given Townsville's tropical climate - what do you both see as some challenges over there for you as a team, and also individually?
JC: Yeah having represented WA at the Southern Cross challenge a few years ago, the levels across the board are a lot higher, as well as the expectations. Preparation for the upcoming tournament in Townsville has been a lot tougher mentally and physically, having had to do four 10 hour camps, long training sessions every week and looking after my body to make sure I am at my best before leaving. I think our biggest challenge going over for the team is really just staying hydrated and keeping our bodies together and ready for each game. I think it's important that we as a team are recovering appropriately to the conditions we may face. Personally, it's all about me and my body and how I'm performing and adjusting to the climate over there and facing any problems when and if needed. Our coaching staff have been great in preparing our team and being ready for any scenario. Also having Darcee Garbin from the Townsville Fire over there already to help us out when we need.
LT: The long trip over will be pretty tiring and the humidity cause we're not used to it. We need to make sure we are well hydrated and in top physical condition. It is always a great feeling to make the State team but this a little bit more special being bottom age , I'm really thankful that Dan Donaldson selected me this year.
RF: Jesni - You have a very experienced coach in Craig Reynolds leading your team. What have been some of the key things you've learnt from him and the other coaches involved with the team since you began training through the SPP sessions?
JC: Firstly, It has been great that Craig has showed faith in me by selecting me in the team and I think I owe it to him to perform to the best I can. Craig has prepared me and the team well, as well as our assistant coaches, Chris and Kath. Craig has experienced national tournaments before so I'm looking forward to it. I think one of the biggest things I've learn from Craig is that in order to be able to play at the next level you have to have the ability to play within a team and trust the people around you.
RF: Luke - Your State Team last year won Bronze at Under 16s Nationals. With some of those players joining you in the 18s team this year, would it be fair to say a medal is a realistic expectation for you and the team at the tournament?
LT: Definitely we have a really strong team this year too and i think we have a great chance to medal again
RF: Both of you have been training with your respective SBL squads since the start of this year. How do you think training with those bigger, more experienced bodies each week back home, will help you in a high pressure environment like you will get over in Townsville?
JC: The SBL program for me has been great and I thank Ryan for giving me that opportunity as a young player. Being surrounded by such talent each week pushes me to step and up really adapt to the next level of play. Past and present players within the program like Sami whitcomb, Jacinta Bourne and Darcee Garbin are just some of the players who I have always watched and aspired to, both individually and from a team point of view. I think that the level of play here at SBL will definitely help me in adapting to the level of nationals, and have helped me be somewhat ready to compete over there. Then there's Ari Hetherington and Keegan Crawford who have done no good in my past two years with the sbl squad!! :')
LT: I think it has definitely helped my preparation coming up against the bigger and faster players. I have to thank Sammy for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the SBL squad and all of the guys have been helpful and welcoming
RF: Finally, something we always ask is both personal goals and team goals for the tournament. I will be a bit different this time and say what is one thing you think you bring to each of your teams and what would be one thing you want to get from the tournament either as a player, or as part of the team
JC: I think the most important aspect I bring to the team is energy, encouragement and willingness to be a solid team player. I think anyone going to a national tournament would agree that the one thing they want to get out of it is a medal for our state which I have confidence in my teams ability to do so. Personally, my goal would be contributing sufficiently to the teams success and giving 100% at all times on court.

LT: I think I help with my play making ability and I would love our team to come home with a medal.

On behalf of the entire club, we wish Jesni, Izzy, Luke & Callum all the very best over in Townsville. Regardless of the results, your #FlamesFamily will be proud of whatever you achieve over East in representing yourselves, your families and Rockingham Basketball.

WA Metro Women kick off their campaign on Saturday up against Tasmania, whilst for the WA Metro Men they will play Queensland South in their first game of the tournament on Saturday also.
To stay up to date with how the teams are going throughout the next week, head to websites.sportstg.com/comp_info.cgi?a=ROUND&compID=439123&c=1-4101-0-0-0


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