Panthers celebrate youth achievement

Wallan Panthers under 12 girls after a game at the Eltham Junior Tournament.

By Colin MacGillivray

WALLAN Basketball has returned with a bang, celebrating its inclusion in the Big V Youth League women’s competition.

Club president Gary O’Brien said the Panthers’ acceptance into the under-23 Big V Youth League women’s competition for the first time was a positive sign for the club.

“That’s the first ever women’s youth league team in the area, so there’s a real huge push for female basketball,” he said.

O’Brien said navigating the COVID-19 pandemic had been difficult for the club, but it was now poised to thrive.

“Basketball Victoria recognised that coming out of COVID, under-12 girls and under-18 girls were the two biggest-hit age groups,” he said.

“Getting a women’s youth league team really looks towards those girls in the 16 to 23 age bracket, which I think is really good.

“That provides a pathway for girls coming in in under-12 rep teams, go all the way through to youth league and then into women’s Big V.

“We’ve gone from trying to keep the club afloat during COVID everything happening at once.

“We’re coming off the Eltham-Dandenong tournament, which is the biggest tournament in the southern hemisphere.

“Our 15 rep teams went and competed and three of them won the title in their divisions, which is not a bad ratio for a little club like us.

“We’ve got CBL up and running and domestic competition restarted last Saturday. Now we’re building up to the Big V season, which will start in March.”