Melton’s Mackenzie Reddrop and her Melbourne Tigers teammates are aiming to make their successful year even more of a winner.
Reddrop was part of the Tigers’ side earlier this year that claimed the under-14 girls title at the National Junior Classic.
Teams from across Victoria, Canberra, South Australia, New Zealand and New South Wales competed in the event on the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
The Tigers went through undefeated, with Reddrop averaging nearly 10 points a game in her side’s six matches.
Capping off the tournament, Reddrop was named most valuable player in her age group.
“To win the MVP was a surprise,” she said. “I thought I played well, but overall it was a great team effort. My whole team are MVPs.”
Reddrop, who considers herself a better defender than an offensive player, says the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is her hero. “I just like the way he shoots and takes the game on with confidence,” she said.
The Tigers will be looking to add another title to the cabinet when competing for the Michele Timms Trophy at the Basketball Australia Under-14 Club Championships in Ballarat next month.
The Victorian teams for the championships were selected on their performances in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League, in which the Tigers are currently second in the VC Champ division.
Reddrop said it was a prestigious event and something they were looking forward to.
Reddrop is one of two Melton basketballers in the Tigers’ team, with Ella Macleod the other.
Reddrop, 12, started playing basketball as a six-year-old at Melton, moving to the Melbourne Tigers a year later.
“I love playing basketball with my friends, but it’s taught me so much more, like being resilient, teamwork, communication, respect and sportsmanship, which are life skills I will have forever,” she said.
“My brother started playing basketball and then I got involved.
“I changed clubs to the Melbourne Tigers as I thought it was a better club for me and with more opportunities.
“They’ve got some really good coaches and I’ve been lucky enough to play high level basketball in the VJBL competition.”
Reddrop is currently coached by Basketball Australia hall of fame member Ray Tomlinson, who is one of Australia’s greatest female coaches.
Reddrop’s mum, Leanne Reddrop, said they wanted to thank Rob and the team at Uniblinds for their support in helping get Mackenzie to Ballarat, with players needing to pay their own way.
“This is a pretty big deal,” she said. “Thanks to Rob for helping out. It’s so nice to see a local business supporting a local sporting talent. It’s such a good opportunity for Mackenzie to play in the Australian champs.”
As well as focusing on the championships and the VJBL season, Reddrop is entering the try-out process for the under-16 Victorian teams.
She’s hoping it’s the start of a long basketball career.
“I want to play for Australia one day,” she said. “My coach, Ray Tomlinson, has always said, ‘If it’s meant to be it’s up to me’. This quote has always stuck with me so that’s what I’m striving for – to play for Australia one day.”