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Inverness teenagers from Highland Bears called up to Scotland basketball squad



Inverness teenagers from Highland Bears called up to Scotland basketball squad

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Emily Hill, Grace Alexander, Jeni Alexander and Charlotte Alexander. Picture: Callum Mackay
Emily Hill, Grace Alexander, Jeni Alexander and Charlotte Alexander. Picture: Callum Mackay

Three players and a coach from Inverness basketball club Highland Bears have been called up to the Scotland under-16 squad for the Four Nations Tournament in Ireland.

Players Charlotte Alexander, Grace Alexander and Emily Hill, along with Bears coach Jeni Alexander who will be Scotland under-16 assistant coach, are in the squad that will compete in Dublin next weekend.

Scotland will face hosts Ireland, England and Wales in the tournament which starts next Friday with games across the weekend.

The trio, along with their coach, are the latest players to be called up for national selection in recent years at junior level, showing the strength of women’s basketball in Inverness.

Jeni says it is an honour to be selected as assistant coach for the national team.

She said for three of her players to also be selected for Scotland, it is a sign of how well the Highland Bears is doing to promote the sport in the area.

She said: “It is just testament to the level of basketball in Inverness with the amount of girls who are going to the tournament.

“All the girls have played at under-14 level, Charlotte played at under-16 level, Grace is still eligible for under-14 level and she has been selected for the under-16 team.

“We have other players who will hopefully be making the team in the future and players coming up for the under-18 team. Things are going in the right direction.

“Between the Inverness Lions and the Highland Bears, we are producing some fantastic female basketball players.

“It is great to see them progressing through the pathway to play for Scotland.”

Jeni says Scotland are looking to put in some good competitive performances against the other nations at the tournament and show how strong the game is growing in the country, as well as in Inverness.

“This year the Scotland team has a lot more scorers on it and we are hoping to put a few points on the board.

“We also have to defend and stop teams like England and Ireland doing fast transitional plays.

“We might not have the height of some of the other teams, but if we defend with the Scottish tenacity we have, we can be competitive in these games.

“In terms of results, we are still at a developmental stage, but being competitive in matches will be hugely important for Scotland.”

All three players selected are pupils at Culloden Academy, with Charlotte (15) being selected for the squad at last year’s tournament as well.

She is hoping to use what she learned at the tournament last year to put in a good performance next weekend.

She said: “Playing for Scotland last time was amazing, it was so much fun.

“We had a really good team last year and it was great being in Ireland.

“I just want to come away from the competition knowing that I have played my best.”

Grace (13) is looking forward to making the step up in age group having previous played for Scotland at under-14 level.

She said: “I have played at under-14 level before and that was a really good experience and I know under-16 level will be a different level.

“At under-14 level there are two teams but at under-16 level there is only one. It will also be exciting to go to Dublin.”

Emily (16) is looking to make a strong contribution for Scotland at the Four Nations tournament.

She said: “I have played under-14 for Scotland and I was at regionals last year for under-16 level and I am excited to be part of it.

“The main thing will be to play my hardest and look to play as a team as well.”

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