Beck recovers from injury to play for Junior Tall Ferns

TIM BARTON
Last updated 05:00 19/09/2012

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Stella Beck was felled by friendly fire last month, but will make the court for the Oceania under-19 championships that begin in Porirua tomorrow.

Beck's participation in the series was threatened after she was injured in her first match in the women's basketball championship (WBC) finals in Dunedin late last month.

The Hutt Valley High School pupil got an elbow in the mouth from a Hutt Valley Flyers team-mate when they were both going for a loose ball. Despite wearing a mouthguard, Beck ended up with broken and cracked teeth and needed eight stitches on the inside of her lip.

"It shows the value of a mouthguard," said her father, Shawn, who was also the team's assistant coach. "If she hadn't been using a mouthguard, we would have been picking her teeth [up] off the court."

Beck was still named the WBC junior player of the year, despite taking virtually no part in the final round. Her injury was also a blow for the Flyers, who finished fifth after leading going into the last round.

Beck, a year 12 student, is the only Wellington player to make the Junior Tall Ferns roster for the Oceania tournament and should have a significant role with the side.

The Junior Tall Ferns play the first of their three matches against Australia at 6pm tomorrow, at Te Rauparaha Arena, with the Junior Tall Blacks, who include St Pat's Town forward Tom Vodanovich, playing at 7.45pm.

The prize for the victors in this week's tournament is a spot in the 2013 world under-19 championships.

Meanwhile, four Wellington schools have qualified for the national secondary schools basketball championships.

Hutt Valley High and St Pat's Town qualified by making the final of the boys' regional tournament, with Hutt Valley reversing the result of the Wellington competition when winning the final.

Wellington Girls' and St Mary's made the nationals by finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the girls' regional tournament.

The first six schools in the zone tournaments make the 24-team draw for the nationals.

The Hutt Valley junior boys' team also won their regional tournament, for the first time, beating Onslow College in the final.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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