Laura named conference’s finest

BASKETBALL may be seen as a game for giants, but Swan Hill Lady Flyers ace Laura Anderson defies that popular view.

Laura Anderson proved a star contributor for the Lady Flyers this CBL season and was a popular choice as the North West Conference MVP. Pictures: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Laura Anderson proved a star contributor for the Lady Flyers this CBL season and was a popular choice as the North West Conference MVP. Pictures: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Anderson, 17, was announced named in the North West Women All Star Five team — honouring the top elite basketballers from the season.

After the teams were published on Facebook, Anderson was asked to attend the North West CBL grand final in Horsham and it was there where she got an even greater shock.

"They announced me as the (conference’s) MVP. I was very surprised, but it felt great," Anderson told The Guardian.

"I was actually surprised with both of them really because I'm not as experienced as a lot of the other players in the competition, but I guess I did have a pretty good season."

Having played the majority of the season at point guard, if Anderson was not causing the turnovers, she was often the first breaking away for a counter-attack.

There is one attribute she credits for her abilities on the court.

"I think my speed. It helps me both defensively and offensively — I can beat players and I have quick feet so I can help a lot in defence," she said.

Having previously represented Victoria a handful of times in national competitions at junior level, Anderson described this accolade as potentially her biggest achievement to date.

"Because it's the CBL, it was fairly good compared to the Vic stuff because a lot of that was in junior competitions and the CBL is a women's game," she said.

Anderson may be shy and humble on the sidelines, but once she hits the deck, her hair matches her personality — fiery.

Growing up among a family passionate about their basketball, including her sister, Sarah — who also represented Victoria while climbing through the junior ranks here in Swan Hill — there is a key reason for her competitiveness.

"I played since I was nine. My family all played basketball — we just love the competitiveness of it all," she said.

"My sister and I sort of pushed each other, but I've always had it (the aggression) since a young age. I've always just wanted to get the ball and it's just continued on, especially with the girls that I had around me — it has helped heaps."

The Lady Flyers may have fallen just short of a grand final berth this season, but Anderson still sees progress with the Swan Hill side.

"I think we played very well and gelled well together. We got a lot further than what a fair few people would have expected," she said.

There is one person she credits for her growth as a player through the ranks of the Swan Hill Basketball Association (SHBA).

"Sharon (Denham). I've had her throughout. When I started, I knew nothing and she was the coach that sort of took me in and trained me — she's always helped me through my Vic stuff and everything," she said.

Anderson is also paying Denham and the SHBA back in spades, volunteering most of her spare time outside of either studies at Swan Hill College or without the basketball in hand, developing Swan Hill's future stars through coaching and umpiring.

"I just love the sport and I love helping the younger kids that can strive towards what I play. I make time to do it (help out) — it's my leisure time really," she said.

With the basketball season finished, Anderson will now focus on netball, where she will hopes to guide Tyntynder to another Central Murray A-grade netball premiership title.

Despite holding strong accolades in both sports — one beats a stronger pulse in her heart.

"I like netball, too. But if I had to choose, it'd be basketball," she said.

As for the goal for her basketball career, even Anderson does not know.

"I will just continue to play the best I can play and we'll just see where it takes me," she said.

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