Ella Bradley is one of the most accomplished age group basketball players in the country.
The year 12 student at St Peter’s Cambridge was recently named in the tournament team at the National Under-19 championships having been selected in the same squad at the National Secondary Schools Championships in 2017.
A two-time National Secondary Schools gold medalist, Bradley is a member of the New Zealand Under-17 squad, but remarkably isn't the most accomplished player on her team.
Bradley is a pivotal teammate of Tall Fern Charlisse Leger-Walker, perhaps the most dominant age group talent New Zealand has seen since Steven Adams. How do the two girls work together?
“Charlisse has taught me a lot and I hope I have taught her some things too. We just try and feed off each other and when she’s not open, I try to step up,” Bradley answers.
The daughter of two Cambridge accountants, Bradley started playing basketball four years ago and earned Waikato representative selection in her first season.
At St Peter's, Bradley has flourished under the guidance of another Walker. Leanne Walker (mother of Charlisse) is a former Tall Fern and the coach of the St Peter’s First V. A strong culture has been built over the course of many seasons.
“There's a lot of work that goes in off the court as well as on it. We have at least two ‘live in’s a year which don't involve much basketball at all, but are all about bonding. All the girls get on and we love playing together,” Bradley acclaims.
St Peter’s are unbeaten in 2018 having narrowly lost the National final to St Mary’s College, Wellington last October. What do St Peter's have to do to go one step better this year?
“It was a close game that could have gone either way. I don't think we would have done much differently,” Bradley reflects.
“We have three Year 13s and four year 12s this year so I guess we have more experience,” she continued.
Waikato retained their National U19 title recently, comfortably beating Harbour in the final, surging to a 60-35 lead at three-quarter time and prevailing 81-54.Bradley contributed 15 points.
In July, Bradley will experience a new country when she travels to Belarus for the FIBA World Under-17 championships.
New Zealand finished fourth at the FIBA Asian Championship in India last October to clinch a spot at the World Cup. The tournament will be a historic occasion as it is the first FIBA age-group World Cup ever attended by a New Zealand Women’s team.
The tournament will open on 21 July with New Zealand scheduled to play Spain in Minsk on that day.
New Zealand are drawn in Group C and will also play Americas bronze medalists Argentina and European Championship runners-up Hungary in pool play. Bradley insists New Zealand is not present to make up the numbers.
“Our goal is to get out of pool play and see what happens from there. A lot of the girls have played together before and we've got good coaches and players,” Bradley warns.
The Australians are the reigning champions with the USA having won the first three World Cup’s.
In addition to basketball, Bradley is a representative standard goal attack in netball she plays for the Fraser Tech club in Hamilton.
Aon New Zealand U17 Team:
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