Basketball Victoria signals potential junior CBL season

By Aydin Payne

Basketball for country juniors is set to look a little different with a new junior basketball competition in the works at Basketball Victoria.

During the past few months, the state governing body has been hard at work preparing a junior Country Basketball League.

Following the same principle as the senior competition, the proposed junior league will feature four conferences and age groups ranging from under-10 to under-18.

Basketball Victoria hopes, with COVID-19 restrictions permitting, to start its season on October 9.

In an effort to maximise fixture flexibility, the competition will not feature a finals series.

Basketball Victoria competitions co-ordinator Sammy Cartwright confirmed a junior league was being planned.

“Very much so, we are looking at running a junior equivalent of the senior CBL,” Cartwright said.

“We are aiming for an October 9 start and then a December finish at the end of term four.

“With restrictions permitting, we will announce the fixture the week before the start date.

“And not having finals or a ladder allows us to be flexible with our fixture. If we need to cancel or postpone games we can.

“We just want to run this with as much flexibility as possible.”

With regional cities unable to host junior basketball tournaments due to COVID-19, Basketball Victoria hopes the junior league can provide juniors the chance to showcase their skills against other regional opponents.

And it is good news for the Goulburn Valley's many junior stars, with Greater Shepparton Basketball Association already signalling its intentions to be involved.

“In the north-east conference specifically, we have had over 100 teams register their expression of interests,” Cartwright said.

“We have had teams from Shepparton, Benalla, Echuca, Seymour and many more towns signal their intention to be involved.

“Most of these towns run local tournaments and, although we can't replace everything that tournaments offer, a junior CBL season will help tourism in the town.

“But most importantly, it will get kids back out playing again.”

The roadmap out of current COVID-19 restrictions, which was revealed by the Victorian Government on Sunday, September 6, will factor heavily into the JCBL start date.

Cartwright recently said if the start date was postponed, then Basketball Victoria would wait up to five weeks before cancelling the season.

“If it looks like we can't start on October 9, then we can afford to miss four to five weeks, but if we can't get out (after five weeks) then we won't play,” he said.