Jacinta pride of Kapiti basketball
Jacinta Beckley heads to Perth tomorrow after being selected for the New Zealand under-18 women's basketball team.
Jacinta, 16, was named for the Australian national basketball tournament on March 25, after her final New Zealand cluster camp.
She was excited to have been named in the 10-strong team, but was reluctant to say what led to her selection.
"I don't like being cocky," she said. "I play as a small forward. I guess I am pretty physical. I don't mind getting physical with other players."
Kapiti Basketball Association director of coaching Angelo Robinson has been holding one-on-one training sessions with Jacinta, working on different areas of her game, including shooting, her work in the post, footwork and fitness.
"I wasn't expecting to be picked, but I guess I was just hoping . . . It will be pretty hard. They will be really good at the tournament."
Jacinta also plays netball and volleyball but is hoping to take basketball as far as she can and has set a goal of gaining a basketball scholarship in the United States.
"I'm working really hard on my study. I want to pass with merit this year because you have to do well at school to get scholarships in America," she said.
Jacinta started playing basketball when she arrived at Paraparaumu College four years ago, having only played for fun at primary school.
Robinson said she joined Kapiti Basketball Association teams when she was 12 and has gone from strength to strength.
"We are all extremely proud of Jacinta and all her efforts. She works very hard and is a talented, committed athlete who has the potential to go far.
"Jacinta is Kapiti Basketball's first New Zealand female representative player and she is a real credit to our organisation and to the community."
After the 12-day tournament in Perth, Beckley will return to her Paraparaumu College side, as well as Hutt Valley under-18 and under- 21 sides.
- Kapiti Observer