Tumut Public School’s Grace Whyte last week starred for Riverina in the state primary school basketball championships to earn a place in the NSW PSSA squad.
The exuberant Year 6 student will now play for her state at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide, scheduled to take place in December.
She was part of a Riverina team that finished fourth at the state titles, a vast improvement on last year’s ninth.
Riverina coach Toni Kerr described Grace as a raw talent, who had at times dominated her opposition during the eight-game carnival.
“She was just a delight to coach, and a delight to watch,” Ms Kerr said. “The state coach really liked her charisma on the court.
“Her athleticism really showed through and she was a dominant force in our team. She had the ability to grab a rebound, take the ball down the court and score a goal.”
While Grace was among the taller players in the Riverina team, Ms Kerr said the Tumut 12-year-old was not reliant on her height.
“Some taller girls are still growing in to their bodies at that age, but Grace is very co-ordinated,” she said.
In modern basketball parlance, Grace’s role is known as a ‘tall’. “Think centre in the old language,” Ms Kerr said.
Grace’s representative journey began earlier in the year when she tried out for the Tumut Public team, then progressed through to Highlands and Riverina selection, with fellow Tumut Public student Lilly Beavan also earning Riverina honours.
Along the way, Grace received training tips from renowned local basketball guru Allan Hartley, while Ben Wysman became a regular and valued training partner.
Grace will head to Maitland in a couple of weeks for a three-day training camp.
A natural talent on the sporting field, Grace is equally adept at netball and will soon play at the state championships in that sport, though her NSW basketball selection rules her ineligible for the same honours in netball.
Out shooting hoops at her home ring just about every day, Grace said she “just loves to play”.
The Whyte family will be out and about fundraising to assist with the costs of the Pacific Games venture, and any support the public can provide would be greatly appreciated.