Four local youths will represent the state this week at the Australian Junior Country Basketball Cup. Pictured were Luke Karssen, Jorja Eldridge, Tia Bails Development Network Squad Program coach Sean Sheedy and AJ Day.Four Whyalla youths will face tough competition from January 12 to 17 as they represent the state at the Australian Junior Country Basketball Cup in New South Wales.

Tia Bails, Jorja Eldridge, AJ Day and Luke Karssen travelled to Adelaide on January 9 to join their fellow team mates as part of the South Australian Country Basketball squad.

The state squad left for Albury Wodonga the next day where teams will play one to two games each day.

This will be Luke, Jorja and AJ’s first time competing in the cup however this will be the second time Tia represents Whyalla and the state.

Tia was selected for the under 14 girls’ team in 2013 and her talent on the court saw her travel to New Zealand as a member of the country cup team.

Last year she continued to enjoy success being selected for an under 15s team that competed in Melbourne.

This year, 14-year-old Tia will be joining her fellow Sharks team mates as they compete in the under 16 girls’ competition.

“I’m a little nervous as I think I might be against girls that are much bigger than me,” Tia said.

Twelve-year-old Jorja will be hoping her height will be an advantage as she heads into the competition with her team the Sharks in the under 14 girls’ competition.

“I’m a little bit nervous but excited at the same time,” Jorja said.

Twelve-year-old Luke will be playing for his team the Redbacks in the under 14 boys division but said he was not too nervous going into the competition.

AJ will also be playing in the under 14 boys’ comp on opposing team the Sharks.

The 12-year-old said he was looking forward to having fun.

“I want to try to be selected to travel to New Zealand,” AJ said.

While most kids have been taking it easy over the school holidays, the Whyalla representatives have been training each weekday for the past three weeks minus a short break over Christmas.

Development Network Squad Program coach Sean Sheedy said only 10 children from across the state were selected for each team for the SA Country squad.

“We’ve pushed them pretty hard but I think they’re ready,” he said.

Mr Sheedy said the kids would face some hard competition during the cup but they would be up for the challenge.

“They’re competing against the best kids in Australia but they’ll definitely do Whyalla and their families proud,” Mr Sheedy said.

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