MOUNT Gambier junior basketballer Cara Nulty will travel across the Tasman Sea this Easter when she represents Australia at the Mel Young Easter Classic in New Zealand.
The 12-year-old talent was selected for the Under 14 Australian girls team after a standout performance with the SA Country Magpies at the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in Albury last month.
“I got selected in the state team to go to Albury and from there they chose four people from South Australia to go to New Zealand,” Nulty said.
She will be joined by three country players from both Victoria and New South Wales, along with three fellow South Australians, with the extra player position rotated between the states each year.
Nulty is grateful for the opportunity to don the green and gold, which adds further excitement to her first overseas trip.
The tournament will be held at Tauranga and will run over the Easter long weekend, from April 10 to 13, with Nulty and her team leaving on April 8 in order to allow time for preparation.
As the team consists of players from across three states, there will be no opportunity to train together and as such Nulty will need to become quickly accustomed to her new teammates in the training day held before the competition tips off.
That process will be made easier with the familiar faces of her fellow South Australians.
Crystal Edwards played in the SA Country Magpies team alongside Nulty, while both Layla Hearne and Brooke Edwards were members of the SA Country Sharks side.
Nulty was happy with how she played in Albury and her team performed well to finish second in its pool, losing only one minor round game.
She was a consistent scorer for the Magpies and averaged 7.5 points a game for the tournament, with her top performance against the NSW Waratahs, where she scored 15 points in the 18-point win.
Nulty will look to play at a similar level in New Zealand, as the Australian side matches up against the “locals” on their home courts.
She will not be the first from her family to attend the event, as her sister Sarah made the Under 16 team two years ago.
“She is very excited for me,” Nulty said.
As the fourth of five children, all of which played basketball from an early age, Nulty grew up around her home courts at the Icehouse.
She started playing when she was about four and has not looked back since.
Her passion for the sport is clear and she loves both the social and individual development sides of the game.
“I love being with my friends and improving and getting the best I can from my training,” she said.
With the Mount Gambier Pioneers now providing a women’s pathway in the NBL1, Nulty said the possibility of one day playing for her home-town club is a goal.
“It would be pretty exciting if I could do that,” she said.
Pioneers women’s coach Matt Sutton leads Nulty’s junior Lakers team, which has provided her an insight into the standard of coaching expected at that level.
But first she will do all she can to make her country proud, as she puts her skills to the test on foreign soil.