Sport

Chasing Chastity

IF anyone’s heard a cheerful “N’awlins” accent around Warrandyte recently, chances are you’ve bumped into the community’s latest sporting import.

Chastity Reed, former WNBA player and native of Louisiana, is the Warrandyte Venom’s newest star player. Having also plied her trade in Europe, Chastity joins Martino Brock as one of the two imports the club has secured for this season and she is loving the opportunity to play Australian basketball.

“Nicole Howard got in touch with my agent and we thought coming down here was a good way to keep me in shape, because right now is my off-season,” Chastity says.

The New Orleans-born basketballer was originally a footballer, until realising she would have a better chance of making an elite level in basketball. After moving to Dallas, she received a scholarship to college in Arkansas where her coach and her team’s style of offence allowed her to excel.

Now in the Australian basketball system, there are a few things Chastity has noticed.

“Over here, the players actually have better fundamentals. But overseas you probably find the more athletic players. It’s funny because I play tall in Australia, at the power forward position, but back home I was a guard.”

Adapting to Venom basketball is something Chastity has enjoyed and she hopes she can continue to make an impact for the remainder of her stay.

“I really trust my teammates already and I love the ball in their hands. I’m putting up some decent numbers and I don’t usually turn the ball over, so I think it’s going well.”

The style of basketball isn’t the only difference for Chastity, who has also made observations about the more easygoing mentality of the Australian persona.

“In Australia people are more laid back and easygoing, which is nice compared with back home. In Europe, people are really harsh and will crucify you. I like it out here because it’s a really close community.”

Having previously played at the highest level in America, after being drafted into the WNBA in 2011, Chastity is under no illusions for her future basketball goals.

“I want to be back in the WNBA because I am sure that I can play at that level. I know the girls who are playing there now and I know that I can compete,” Chastity says.

“I also feel I need to find a team that suits me as a player. One with a solid half court offence set that suits my game. I just need to get in the gym and do more so that I am at my best.”

But for now, Chastity is focusing on making the most of her time here in Warrandyte. Her status
as an import runs out at season’s end in July/August, and her time abroad is something that she believes more should have the opportunity to experience.

“I think Australia, Europe or wherever should allow more imports, as many as possible. Staying with Jenny Trewella has just been fantastic, they have been really great to me and it’s just been a great experience.”

Casey’s on the pace

CURRENTLY playing only his second season of representative basketball, Casey DeWacht’s selection in the Victorian Under 16 Men’s side may have surprised some, but not those at Warrandyte who have been fortunate enough to see him play.
Having just turned 15, Casey stands at 197cm tall and plays an up-tempo, athletic and physical style of basketball.
Playing for the Warrandyte Venom Under 16.1 Boys side under coach Nathan Marsh, Casey has become  a Warrandyte Basketball celebrity to his young team and club mates.
Already a member of coach Beau Bentley’s Venom Big V Youth League squad, the young baller has taken the next big step with state selection on his road to potential stardom.
Chosen as just one of 10 athletes to represent Victoria, Casey has begun a rigorous campaign of training and practice games in preparation for the Under 16 Australian Junior Championships, to be held from July 4-11 in Ulverstone, Tasmania.
“The training environment is great. Every single person pushes each other to get better and we go hard,” Casey says.
State straining has added an extra six hours to Casey’s already busy schedule of club basketball and schooling, including a 6.30am session designed to fast track his game in time for competition.
However, Casey is relishing the opportunity to further improve his game, ahead of the biggest basketball event of his young career in Tasmania.
“What I’m looking forward to most is putting my skills to the test against some of the best players in Australia and to really get out of the experience as much as I have been putting in,” Casey says.
In Australia’s competitive basketball environment, state selection is an extremely difficult path to navigate. Victorian clubs must first nominate their strongest players to attend tryouts in front of representatives of the state program and Basketball Victoria.
Casey immediately impressed head coach Rob Coulter at recent tryouts and is proud to declare his affiliation with the Warrandyte Venom and their role in his meteoric rise to a representative of Victorian basketball.
Level headed and humble, Casey is held in high regard by teammates and coaches alike and is already serving as a terrific role model and aspirational figure to younger basketballers in his club environment.
As athletes and their families fund their state program involvement, the Warrandyte Venom and indeed the greater community have responsibility to rally behind Casey to support this incredible opportunity.
Community members have a perfect opportunity to do this on Saturday (May 16)  at the Warrandyte Sports Complex.
The organisation plays host to a Big V double header from 6.30pm, featuring the Venom Youth League Men and Senior Men.

Bloods on the rampage

THE Warrandyte Bloods got their season off to the best possible start, crushing a hapless Glen Waverley Hawks side at Central Reserve in the season opener.

New sharp shooter Ashley Froud spearheaded the side, kicking eight majors to lead Warrandyte to a 101-point victory.

The Bloods led at every change and restricted Glen Waverley to just two goals for the match, conceding only six points through the first two quarters. After a forgettable first half, Warrandyte raced into action in the third quarter and finished strongly, booting nine goals in the last period to run away deserving winners.

On a perfect day for football both sides were rusty out of the gates and unable to move the ball efficiently to their respective forwards. It was youngster Scott Ternes who would eventually boot the Blood’s first, with a thumping kick from 50 metres out.

Another major quickly followed, this time scored by last season’s centurion goal kicker Luke Dunn. On the back of these goals, Warrandyte led by 16 points at the first change, despite distributing the ball inefficiently.

It was no easier going in the second quarter, with both sides struggling to play their best football. Warrandyte’s play broke down far too often in the middle of the park and clangers slowed any momentum. Excellent play through the centre by hard running Chris Tout and the ever-steady Tim Hookey ensured that Warrandyte led 6.2 to 0.6 at the half.

Fresh off the halftime break, Warrandyte never looked back and put the game to bed midway through the third quarter. Although Glen Waverley finally managed to hit the scoreboard, Warrandyte ran all over what looked a tired opposition and booted goals late in the term to end any chance of a revival. Young Tout continued to impress in his first seniors game and other debutant Chad Gauci began to leave his fingerprints on the result. Froud also looked strong, presenting himself as a genuine forward target.

The fourth quarter became a Froud fest, as the speedster put through major after major, ending the game with eight to his name. The Bloods moved the ball through the middle of the park with nonchalant ease and put the Hawks to the sword to win 19.8 122 to 2.9 21.

The Reserves and Under 19s ensured that Warrandyte was undefeated as a club on the day. Sean Bowers’ 12 goals for the Under 19s side was a particular highlight in a demolition 196-point win, 30.22 to 1.0.

Meanwhile, the Reserves won in an arm wrestle that only broke open in the fourth quarter. A five goal bag from Gareth Hitchman ensured a 26-point victory, 9.11 to 6.3.

The Bloods face Ferntree Gully at Warrandyte Reserve this weekend with early weather forecasts suggesting it could be a beautiful day for footy. A big crowd is tipped.

Local lad bags a world title

WARRANDYTE’S dual Olympian snowboarder Scotty James has finally cracked a world title at the tender age of 20 after winning the World Championship Snowboard Halfpipe at the FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding championship in Austria.

“It was a pretty amazing experience to win,” Scotty told the Diary on Sunday. “It’s super, actually, obviously something I’ve wanted to do from a very young age. One of the really cool things about it is that snowboarding’s a very individual sport, so I’m obviously out there doing it for myself but when you’re out there for the world champs you’re also out there doing it for Australia as well. There really was a great camaraderie between us in the team all week and then just to win it made me feel very patriotic.”

Scotty is the second Aussie man to win the title in the half-pipe after nailing 91.50 points in his first run of the final. He says he was in tip-top shape going into the championships, despite being nervous.

ScottyJames1“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions you go through when you’re competing at that level, so you obviously think about what they’re going to do,” Scotty says.

“But at the end of the day I just had to worry about what I was doing. I’d talked to my coach and we talked about having the same game plan that I had for qualification. I was definitely nervous, and knowing I could potentially come away with the win meant you have to sort of calm yourself down because it can have an impact on you mentally.

“So it was a case of settling down and getting the job done, and hopefully be standing on top later and it all worked out for me fortunately. It clicked.”

With his loyal best front, Ghost the Husky, Scotty caught up with the Diary on the river behind the Warrandyte Bakery on Sunday, and the born and bred Warrandytian described the moment when he knew he’d bagged the title as a “crazy experience that was exhilarating”.

“To be honest, I didn’t really know what to do with myself,” he says, laughing.

“I’ve always dreamt of doing a victory lap and it happened at world champs. I was sitting at the top and said to my brother, ‘If I win before I’m on the podium can you tell me before I go?’ So I was sitting there and trying to block out all the noise and Tim came up to me and he did this thing (signaled No.1) to me.

“And I just jumped out of my seat and gave him a hug and I said to my coach, ‘I’ve always dreamt of doing a victory lap but I never thought it would actually happen’. He said, ‘Hey, do whatever you want!’ So I just did one air on the half-pipe and jumped out onto the deck and went down and gave everyone a big high five.

“I think it’s really cool when people come out and cheer us on, so for me to give the spectators a high five was easy.”

Scotty says although he’s based in Colorado and often travelling the globe, he says Warrandyte will always be home.

“What is there not to love about Warrandyte, I’ve lived here my whole life, so 20 years now,” Scotty told the Diary.

scotty James1“It’s an amazing little spot and every time I get a chance I tell people that . One thing I really love about it is that it has a very good family orientated feel about it – obviously I’ve lived here my whole life with my family – and being right here on the river it’s just an awesome spot.

“It’s so easy to wake up in the morning and whip down my street, go grab a great breakfast and enjoy the place, and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon, so you’ve got to deal with me a bit longer Warrandyte.”

Scotty is kicking back at home in Warrandyte this week before heading to Japan.

“I’ll head to Japan and get some snowboarding in, get some photos,” he says. “That really is a culture I want to check out. Then there’s the US Open coming up at the start of March. After that I’ll either come back here for F1 or stay over there and do this new event called Red Bull Double Pipe in Aspen.

“My calendar is all over the shop at the moment,” he says laughing.

Check out more at www.scottyjames.com.au

Basketball in full swing

WARRANDYTE Basketball has been busy with all competitions and levels of basketball in full swing as we move through another season and another year of rep ball.

The Redbacks have been hotly contesting matches every Saturday, while the Venom sides are participating in VJBL grading and some additional tournaments, the Sunday night comp is operating full tilt, Wednesday night Greyburn Cup competition is in the finals process, the Venom USA trip has departed, and all four Big V sides are in the middle of an intense pre-season.

A welcome addition has been the offering of skills sessions for Under 12 and 14 Venom players for a four-week period heading into the Christmas break.

These sessions run by director of coaching, Nicole Howard, have been well received and are facilitating young and aspiring Warrandyte basketball players in extending their knowledge and ability.

These four week block sessions will be again offered in the New Year and will include some Redbacks specific sessions.

SOUTHERN PENINSULA

The 28th Southern Peninsula Junior Basketball Tournament was held on the weekend of November 22 and 23 and Warrandyte was well represented.

Among the many teams competing were Warrandyte Venom’s newly formed 18.1 Girls. It was an extremely productive weekend under the guidance of coach David Blyth, according to club officials, with the girls finishing third in Division 1.

BIG V EXCITEMENT

Big V Season 2015 can’t come soon enough for the Venom young guns who have been selected to represent Warrandyte as members of the Youth League 1 Women (YL1W) and Youth League 2 Men (YL2M).

With head coach Beau Bentley at the helm for his second season with the Youth Men’s team, he and his newly appointed coaching staff of Phil Noone and Bill Nicolaidis have put together what they believe will be a squad that can push for a finals birth in 2015.

After a finals finish last season that left the YL1W just short of another shot at the title, Warrandyte Venom has farewelled 2014 coach Damian Clarke. Recently the club welcomed Angela Heigh to the position of head coach and she will be assisted by Kellie Taylor.

Angela, having coached VJBL sides for Warrandyte Venom over the past few years, is very aware of the talent of many of the Venom juniors. She is now witnessing first hand, through tryouts and training, that there is a lot to like about these young developing players.

Although the main goal at Youth League level is to develop our athletes in readiness to move to senior basketball, our coaches will place a big emphasis on developing fundamentals in doing the little things to enable them to adapt to higher levels for the future. These teams will also be hungry to win.

It is an exciting time for the club with so many talented junior players progressing through the ranks and this is backed up by the huge turnout at tryouts, which shows strength within the club and for those not selected this time we have no doubt we will see many faces back pushing for selection in the coming years.