When rising talent Georgia Amoore played her first competitive basketball match, she was wearing thongs.
The five year old had been called upon to fill in for her cousin.
“I just wanted to be like my cousin when I was younger,” Georgia said.
“She played basketball, so I wanted to play basketball.”
Little did she know, this match would kick off a highly successful junior career for the Ballarat Clarendon College student, who, at 16, wants to start talking with colleges in the United States.
But it was not until Georgia had opportunities to play for Victoria in the Southern Cross Challenge and the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup that she started to think more seriously about the sport.
Highlights for the young gun have included competing in India on the Australian Sapphires team for the FIBA Women’s Under-16 Asia Cup and making her South East Australian Basketball League debut with Ballarat Rush.
“I was happy to get on for a few minutes – the bodies are bigger and playing against women, they’re smarter and stronger so I really had to adjust,” Georgia said of SEABL.
Also playing in under-18, Georgia is proud to have spent her junior career with Ballarat Basketball and has felt lucky to have plenty of opportunity while continuing to live in her home town.
“The (basketball) community is so tight, they know of what you’ve done,” she said.
“And the little kids, they’re so cute when they come up and talk to you. Even all the coaches like to see you grow through the pathway.”
Georgia also believed living in the country had made her more appreciative of Ballarat’s facilities such as the Minerdome stadium and the club’s strong culture.
“Competitiveness is bred here, we all just want to win,” Georgia said. “When we train against each other there is always that little bit of grunt and I think that’s good because then it carries onto the court.”
Mother Kelly Amoore, who grew up in Ballarat, said despite her husband being from Melbourne, they had settled on a country lifestyle.
All three children have been able to pursue their passions, with the try outs and camps Georgia attended when she was younger leading to the chance to represent country Victoria.
“You’ll find with Ballarat, if you’ve got talent you can still do it here,” Ms Amoore said.
“A lot of basketballers from Ballarat have played in the Olympics for their country… so you don’t have to go and play for Bulleen or Dandenong or Melbourne Tigers to make it.
“Ballarat has been good to Georgia.”