NORMALLY before a big tournament you would like to get in a fair share of practice matches to get yourself up to speed and into top shape.
But ahead of the NSW Basketball Hoopfest in Sydney that opportunity wasn't afforded to Bathurst Goldminers star Roxy George.
George had suffered an ankle injury around 12 weeks earlier during the local Bathurst Indoor Sports Stadium's junior competition and rested up in order to get herself ready in time for Hoopfest.
She managed to do that but knew she would be heading to the Penrith competition
However, the results literally could not have been better for the Bathurst player.
George's team went through all five of their games undefeated as they improved markedly with every game they played.
Hoopfest sees both under 16s and under 18s country and metro players split up into three teams from each region, testing out everyone's ability to come together quickly as a new side and co-operate.
George said the country side she was put into was brilliant to play alongside.
"It was a new group that I played with. Everyone was really friendly and it was great fun to play with them," she said.
"I thought that I got better as I went along in my games, which was good because I was a bit nervous about my ankle but I felt fine after my first game."
Coming back for your first game post-injury is always a nervous experience but more so when that game is up against some of the best players your age across the state.
But it was a satisfying experience for George, especially after missing out on the opportunity to play in the D-League competition back in November.
George said one aim of Hoopfest was naturally to try and come away with as many wins as possible, but the other was to closer monitor her ankle and keep herself in fighting shape.
"I got that ankle injury from a local basketball comps when I went for a layup and I got knocked over," she said.
"That was probably about 12 weeks ago, so this was my first basketball game since then. My ankle was fine at the end of it all, maybe just a little stiff."
That's an encouraging sign for George who still has plenty of basketball to look forward to over the opening quarter of 2021.
She's keen to represent her home city once again.
"I'll have a WRAS [Western Region Academy of Sport] tournament at the end of this month," George said.
"After that I've got Bathurst Goldminers starting in February."
The Western Junior League starting in February is something George and all other Goldminers athletes will be itching to take part in after the 2020 edition never got off the ground due to COVID-19.
The newly created Waratah Country Junior Challenge gave players the chance to get in basketball time for the WJL minutes lost, but everyone will be welcoming back the original tournament with open arms.