Top talents to watch at Basketball Qld State Champs
It's the pinnacle of junior representative basketball in Queensland and the stage where rising talents can burst onto the scene.
The Basketball Queensland Under-18 State Championships starting tomorrow on the Gold Coast features some of Australia's brightest young athletes, who will all battle it out to bring a title back to their respective clubs.
From players in the Australian national program to state representatives and other talents who have gone under the radar - see who made our top talents to watch list below.
All of these players will be in action as part of our livestream of the tournament.
TOP TALENTS TO WATCH (GIRLS)
Andrea Heard, Guard - Cairns
Andrea Heard is an athletic scorer, who led the QNJBC in scoring for the Cairns Dolphins. Heard shines in transition and playing at pace, has a motor that runs hot and will be one of the most exciting talents to watch on the offensive end at the state championships on the Gold Coast.
Paris Santacaterina, Guard - Mackay
Paris Santacaterina is a guard, who competes on every play and will form a tough backcourt with teammate Phoebe Holmes. Santacaterina is a natural leader, who will attack and control the game from the perimeter. She was also a member of the championship-winning ConocoPhillips CQ Cup side.
Phoebe Holmes, Guard - Mackay
A live wire guard, who is relentless on the defensive end. Holmes will make life hard for opposing ball handlers and is equally talented at doing the same on offence. She is coming off helping the Mackay Meteorettes win the ConocoPhillips CQ Cup and has represented Queensland North.
Lil Dart, Guard - South West
An athletic guard with a unique scoring ability from the perimeter and in the paint, who is especially dangerous in transition. Was the leading scorer after the first half of the SQJBC competition with the South West Metro Pirates, averaging 27.4 points per game. Has represented Queensland South throughout her juniors and also been selected in national programs.
Mackenzie Auton, Guard - Logan
Has bounced back impressively after returning to the court following a year on the sidelines with a serious knee injury. Mackenzie Auton helped the Logan Thunder finish in third place after the first half of the SQJBC competition, averaging almost 14 points per game but also leading her team with her tenacity and work ethic on both ends of the floor. Is a member of the Queensland National Performance Program.
Summah Hanson, Forward - Spartans
A mobile forward, who has been dominant since making the move to the Southern Districts Spartans, Hanson can do it all. With the ability to score, rebound and defend, Hanson also has the athleticism which makes her a tough cover for any opposition. Averaging 16 points per game, the Queensland and national program athlete will have a big say in the Spartans can win it all.
Lulu Twidale, Forward - Spartans
Another athletic forward, who has helped form a balanced attack for the Southern Districts Spartans, Lulu Twidale has had an impressive season to date, averaging more than 14 points per game. Twidale has improved in every season over the past few years and with her ability to play multiple positions, athleticism and scoring ability, will be an exciting prospect to see at the tournament.
Jess Petrie, Forward - Gold Coast
The daughter of former Australian Boomer and NBL veteran Anthony Petrie has been a standout throughout her junior career for the Gold Coast Waves, helping the club win multiple state championships as well as a National Club Championship. The mobile big, who is part of both the Queensland and national program, is a future star of the Australian program. She averaged more than 17 points per game in the SQJBC competition and helps form Gold Coast's big front line with teammate Skye Mason.
Lilly Rotunno, Guard - Gold Coast
The top guard in the state, Lilly Rotunno has not only shown she is a star at the junior level but also that she can match it at the senior level following an impressive debut season in last year's Queensland State League competition. Part of the Australian program, Rotunno has led this Gold Coast Waves group to championship after championship in recent years and with her ability to control a game from the point guard position, score the ball and defend, it will take a huge effort to prevent her from leading her team to another title.
Skye Mason, Forward/Centre - Gold Coast
One of the best bigs in Queensland, Skye Mason has shown what she can do on the state championships stage for several years now as part of the dominant Gold Coast Waves team. Mason, a Queensland South representative for several years, forms a dominant partnership with fellow big Jess Petrie, which will be a huge challenge for opposing teams at this week's tournament.
TOP TALENTS TO WATCH (BOYS)
Kobe McDowell-White, Guard - RedCity Roar
The premier guard in the state and one of the best guards around the country, Kobe McDowell-White is known for winning championships and will try and do the same with a new team in the RedCity Roar this week. McDowell-White won a state championship with both the Southern Districts Spartans as well as Anglican Church Grammar School in 2020. His ability to take over a game, either by scoring himself or creating for others, will make him a tough task to contain for any opponent this week.
Haizyn Mellars, Forward - RedCity Roar
A must see at the State Championships with his impressive athleticism and high-flying plays, Haizyn Mellars will be one part of the RedCity dynamic duo with Kobe McDowell-White. Coming off a state championship last year for the Southern Districts Spartans and an impressive campaign for Brisbane State High, Mellars has averaged more than 21 points per game over the first half of the SQJBC competition and will need to have a big tournament if the Roar are to feature at the business end of the competition.
Nazar Angallo, Guard - Logan Thunder
Making the move from the Brisbane Capitals to the Logan Thunder this season, Nazar Angallo's lightning speed, ability to score and tenacity on the defensive end has helped make the Thunder into a potential top four team at state championships. The St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace star and Queensland South representative will lead a Thunder team full of quick and exciting guards on the Gold Coast this week.
Geordan Papacostas, Centre - Brisbane Capitals
Geordan Papacostas is set for one of his best tournaments yet if his form in the SQJBC season is anything to go by. The Brisbane Capitals big man averaged more than 23 points per game across the first seven games of the regular season heading into the Christmas break, including a season-high of 33 points against the RedCity Roar. Papacostas is a workhorse at the big position, has an impressive tough around the basket and can even stretch out to the perimeter with his improving jump shot.
Rafferty Morris, Forward - Brisbane Capitals
One of the best athletes at the tournament, Rafferty Morris will try and lead the Capitals to going one step further than they did last year, Morris is an athletic scorer, who can play both inside and out. Morris was top five in scoring in the SQJBC competition averaging more than 16 points per game, including two 20 point games.
Joshua Hughes, Centre - Northside Wizards
Coming off a dominant season at the under-16 level, which saw him lead the Northside Wizards to a state championship and earn a scholarship to the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence, Hughes will look to make a similar impact this week. The Wizards big man has impressive mobility at his size, can do damage from the post and with his length can trouble other teams on the defensive end.
Rory Hawke, Guard - Townsville Heat
A Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence scholarship holder, Hawke is a hard-nosed guard, who is relentless in attacking and will play a big role in success of the Townsville Heat. Will form a tough duo with teammate and big man Luka Yates with both being among the most exciting prospects to watch at the tournament.
Luka Yates, Centre - Townsville Heat
The Townsville product is a talented and skilful big, who has good touch and is a dominant force on the defensive boards. Yates, who will help lead the Heat - one of the favourites heading into the tournament - will protect the paint and has the ability to stretch the opposition's defence with the ability to hit from the perimeter.
Ben Tweedy, Guard - Rockhampton Rockets
A Queensland North representative, Ben Tweedy will be one of the most talented scorers at the state championships on the Gold Coast. Tweedy's unique ability to create space and knockdown shots from beyond the arc as well as get to the rim and finish will be something to watch and will prove a huge challenge for opposing teams to stop. Had an impressive under-16 state championships for the Rockets last year and will look to continue that form this week.
Kane Runnalls, Forward - Cairns Marlins
Runnalls is a natural talent, who when switched on is one of the best talents in Australia. The 208cm guard/forward can impose his will on any game on both ends of the floor and can impact a game in many ways.
Originally published as LIVESTREAM: Top talents to watch at Basketball Qld State Champs