By David Nagel
If hard work and dedication are the hallmarks of success, then keep an eye out for Pakenham’s Breana Granger on the biggest basketball stages in the coming years.
The 11-year-old power forward has been selected to represent Victoria in the School Sport Australia Pacific Basketball Championships to be held in Adelaide in early December.
Breana, who attends Timbarra P-9 College in Berwick, is part of a 10-strong squad that will represent the state in the Girls 12 Years and Under competition.
“To be picked as one of the top-10 players in Victoria was really surprising but very exciting,” said the dedicated Breana, who plays or trains basketball seven days a week.
Making the squad was no easy feat with a long selection process required to sort out the best basketballers from across the state. Breana’s elite skills and fitness saw her survive the first and second rounds of trials before the final step took its course.
“There were 80 of us left and we did drills, then played a game, did more drills then played again, and it kept going like that,” Breana said.
“It was just so exciting to hear my name called out.”
Breana started her journey as an eight-year-old in Hoop Time, a program that offers children in Grades 3/4 (Junior) and Grades 5/6 (Senior) the opportunity to play in a fun interschool competition with qualified referees.
Breana progressed quickly and soon found herself in a representative squad with the Dandenong Rangers.
She currently plays for the Rangers Under 14s and can’t speak highly enough of the program.
“We train twice a week, on Tuesday and Sunday, and there’s lots of running involved, learning about defence, and learning how to run plays and set screens, that type of thing,” Breana said.
“But I like it all, the speed is really fast and there’s lots of running involved but I’m growing and developing as a player and I really enjoy that feeling.”
Breana is also part of the Basketball Victoria Country Junior program, and was last year selected for the annual BVC Jamboree in Echuca – a congregation of the best country basketballers in the state.
Combining Rangers and Regional commitments, along with private training sessions and two games a week, Breana spends all seven days on the court in some capacity.
Her parents, Phil and Leanne, make sure her basketball commitments are balanced out with a healthy dose of homework.
So who are her heroes and what are her ambitions?
“I really like Penny Taylor, she’s a great player who played for Dandenong and went on to play for Australia at the Olympics,” Breana said.
“And one day I’d love to go to college in America and play basketball over there.”
Breana has special people that she would like to thank for helping her along her journey.
“Mum and dad have been really supportive, getting me to training and that type of thing, and Trevor Burnette (from ‘Team Energy’ at Hoops 24-7 in Dandenong) has really helped along the way,” Breana said.
Breana and the family also wanted to pay special tribute to Timbarra P-9 for their ongoing support.
“We could not ask for anything else from the school,” said Breana’s mum Leanne.
“We would like to thank Matt Tyndall (vice-principal) and Maura Conroy (office) for their continued support. It’s an absolutely amazing primary school that will always come up with an alternative to fit basketball and school together.”
Breana’s siblings, twin sister Katie, older sister Brooke, and brothers Reece and Jamie are also very proud of her achievement.