Sunbury’s Lily Scanlon will step on the international stage next month with some of the world’s best up-and-coming basketballers.
Having first stepped on to the court after being inspired by her brother’s basketball efforts, the 18-year-old will represent Australia at a world cup for a second time next month.
She was part of the Sapphires under-17 team that won bronze last year.
This year she’s part of the under-19 Gems who will be looking to defy their seventh ranking and come away with a medal.
Scanlon said she was excited to head to Thailand for the cup.
“It’s an honour and an absolute privilege,” she said.
“I can’t wait to get over there. Having played at an international level before, it’s a whole new game.
“We have a pre-worlds tournament in France … we’ll be there for 10 days to get the chemistry going.”
The Gems start the cup with the toughest task – taking on the-top ranked Americans.
Scanlon said it was always exciting to face the best and that she thought the Gems’ athleticism and quickness would be keys in that game and across the championships.
Scanlon is one of several bottom-age players in the side, but she said age wasn’t something she thought about in making the team.
“I just wanted to go out and play my game and hopefully show how I can play,” she said.
“I think I did pretty well at both training camps.”
Scanlon has had a big 12 months.
She moved to Canberra after receiving a scholarship for the Centre of Excellence (formerly the AIS).
She said the experience of being at the centre had exceeded her expectations.
Canberra is a long way from the Sunbury Jets where she started her basketball career, before moving to the Bulleen Boomers.
“I’m loving it, to be honest,” she said. “It was one of my goals growing up.
“It’s the best place for my basketball and being able to take it to the next level.
“It’s basketball, plus all the other things of being a professional athlete as well.”
She plays with the centre’s team in the NBL1 competition – and that means facing the top players in Victoria week in, week out.
“It is awesome,” Scanlon said. “You’re playing against a lot of older, more experienced players. Some have played for the Opals at that higher level. You learn so much.”
The point guard is this year juggling her basketball with completing year 12.
She said that while it can be difficult at times, it was something she had become used to.
Scanlon already has her first post-school challenge in her sights, with an American trip on the agenda for the back end of the year.
“I want to go to college at a division 1 school,” she said.
“I want to find the best fit for me. Hopefully, I’ll go to college for four years.
“The long-term goal is to play for the Opals, playing in the WNBA.”