Warrnambool Mermaids’ Meg Carlin takes on the challenge of the 2022 Country Basketball League Grand Final | The standard

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SHARING the court with a former WNBL player is the perfect learning tool for budding basketball player Meg Carlin. The teenage perspective pays close attention to how Katie O’Keefe behaves on the floor. The fact that 16-year-old Carlin plays on two different teams with O’Keefe is a bonus. The pair will be part of the Warrnambool Mermaids roster in Saturday’s Country Basketball League Grand Final against the Portland Coasters in Horsham. Carlin is also enjoying the chance to play with O’Keefe – the Mermaids’ CBL coach – in national competition every Monday. “I think now having Katie on my national team is going to really improve my game,” she said. “Just our pick-and-rolls and the way she plays, I can learn from that. I think that really helps.” Carlin is one of a host of Mermaids under-18 players on the CBL Grand Finals squad. “I’m personally very excited because this is my first CBL season and a lot of other young girls’ first seasons as well,” she said. “I think we’re very grateful to be playing, along with the older girls like Molly McKinnon, Katie O’Keefe, Ava Bishop and Leah Bartlett.” Basketball — a sport curtailed during COVID-19 restrictions due to indoor use — has rebounded this summer. That meant a busy schedule for players like Carlin, who mixes senior CBL competition with junior tournaments. “With CBL and the team, the seasons are mixed, so we travel a lot and all over the place,” Carlin said. “I have 80 hours (on my L-plates).” The next challenge for the Under-18 team is the Victoria National Basketball Championship in Bendigo on February 19-20. “I think it will give us a really good run for our money,” Carlin said. “We have a few tough games in our group which will certainly test us, but it should be a good weekend and I hope it comes with a good result.” Carlin – a Year 11 student from Warrnambool College looking to pursue a career in nursing or paramedics – also plays netball for league club Hampden Koroit. “Mom (Gemma) was a netball player. I get my netball from her and dad (Bernie) basketball,” she said. “I started because dad was a basketball player at the time. He used to play in Melbourne and then he came and played domestically. I’m his height.” Carlin usually plays two netball games – a junior level and a senior level – every Saturday during the winter. “I would love to play a few open games,” she said of the 2022 season which begins in April. “I had two or three last year, which I was quite happy with, but I love the Premier League, which I played in most of the time last season, and it was really nice. too. I’d be happy with either one.” Both sports provide Carlin with an outlet between work — she’s casual at McDonald’s — and school. “I like to take my mind off things and enjoy it with the girls around me,” she said. “We have such a good team, both as a team and in CBL, and you always have a good laugh in practice.” MORE SPORT: Now just one tap away with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the option to receive information faster, at their fingertips with The Standard:


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