HTS Storm Basketball Academy are proud to announce the official launch of our Girls Academy Programme – following closely behind the programme’s rebrand to HTS Storm back in the summer. The female players at Holy Trinity School will continue to receive the expert provision of coaching, strength & conditioning and video analysis, whilst having the opportunity to test their skills in expanded competitive opportunities.
Girls basketball has been steadily on the rise in Crawley over the last four years, with the rapid growth kick-started by Crawley Cagers starting the first ever girls-only local league team in the town four seasons ago. After rebranding to become Storm Basketball Club in 2017/18, girls basketball continued to progress when the Crawley Storm Local League programme added further girls teams at the younger end of the player pathway. The 2018/19 season saw a number of major developments to the female side of the programme, when Crawley Storm entered two girls-only Local League Under 12’s teams, and the Sussex Storm National League programme entered its first female team at the Under 14 Girls age group. The growth of the club programme has continued into the 2019/20 season with the addition of the first girls-only Local League competition in the county as part of the Crawley Basketball League. Meanwhile, at the National League end of the pathway, the provision of Sussex Storm has expanded to offer three teams – Under 12 Regional, Under 14 Regional and Under 14 Premier. Storm Basketball Club are proud to be the only club to offer Premier girls basketball in the county, setting the standard for female competition in Sussex.
“This was the long term plan when we started the girls teams four years ago,” says Karl Youngman, Storm Local League Head Coach. “The girls in town that were interested in playing had no outlet to do so, so we followed the same model that we used to grow the boys programme – start with an Under 12 group and reset to add a team each year.” Coach Youngman continued, “Now with the club and schools’ programmes combined we have hundreds of girls playing from Under 7 upwards. We will keep going until the female provision and participation mirrors that of the boys.”
A dominant 2018/19 season in local competition saw Holy Trinity School capture Sussex Schools County Cup titles at Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 age groups – before reaching the Last 16 of the Dynamik National Schools championships at Under 14 and Under 16. Hoping to repeat this success, the HTS Storm Girls Basketball Academy will this year compete in the Dynamik National Schools competition at the Under 17 and Under 19 age groups, with the lower school also ready to defend their county titles at Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16.
The expanded provision of the HTS Storm Basketball Academy to offer an elite outlet for female players across Sussex and beyond comes as a reaction to the growing numbers of girls engaging with the game through the work of the Storm Basketball Foundation. With over 300 female participants across the vast schools programmes and 50+ girls within Storm Basketball Club – the talent pool is there to push through the programme to compete at the elite level when they reach Under 19 competition. The progression of the female talent across the Storm programme was evidenced in summer 2019 when 20 players earned county honours, 3 went on to represent the South East Region and 1 earned National Team honours. Chennai Mushore, who has been with the programme for the last four years throughout its transition from Crawley Cagers to Storm Basketball Club, was this summer the first female player to earn Great Britain honours as she represented the Under 16 Women at the European Championships in Bulgaria. With players of Chennai’s calibre making their way through the foundation, school and club programmes, the need for an elite female outlet is clear.
The international recognition in the HTS Storm Girls Academy does not end with the playing prowess of performers such as Chennai, with Barney Blake stepping up to lead the programme as Girls Academy Head Coach. Coach Blake has recently represented the England Talent Programme as the Under 15 Girls assistant coach, while also being named Head Coach of the South East U13 Girls squad for the 2019 Aspire Tournament. Alongside the upcoming exploits with HTS Storm, the former Great Britain Under 18 Women Assistant Coach has also recently been appointed as the South East Girls Aspire Head Coach – evidencing the calibre of coaching that our HTS Storm players will receive within the Girls Academy programme.
“One of the reasons I made the move to join HTS Storm last season was their passion for developing the female game across the club and academy, along with the massive potential and room for growth,” explains Barney Blake, HTS Storm Girls Academy Head Coach. “The number of girls we have playing across all that Storm Basketball provides is mind-blowing, and some of the talent coming through will definitely turn some heads.” Coach Blake summarised, “We hope that HTS Storm Basketball Academy can become a legitimate option for elite girls across Sussex, the South East Region and beyond – an environment where they are supported to achieve their potential on and off the court, as they further both their studies and their performance.”
The launch of the HTS Storm Girls Basketball Academy marks the arrival of the first female Academy Programme in the South East Region, now mirroring the boys programme in providing a highly competitive option for girls across the county and region to achieve their basketball dreams without having to move across the country.
For more information about Holy Trinity School and the HTS Storm Girls Basketball Academy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest for the upcoming Sixth Form Open Evening on Wednesday 16th October 2019, 6.00pm-8.00pm. Alternatively, if you are unable to attend the Open Evening, we would be more than happy to set up an individual visit at a time convenient for you.