Tahlia's silver with Gems

IF Tahlia Tupaea is considering a career as an astrophysicist, it could be a while before she takes a degree.

In fact, if she's considering any sort of academic study, it could be some time before she graduates.

Life for the 16-year-old Penrith year 11 student has been basketball, basketball and basketball and the world has been her basket.

Tupaea's recently returned from the world under-19 championships in Lithuania, where she won a silver medal with the Australian Gems.

When Tupaea made her Women's National Basketball League debut with the Sydney University Flames last year, she was just 15 years and 133 days.

That made her the WNBL's second youngest debutant.

The 174cm guard had already won selection on the Australian All Schools team which toured Texas and Arizona last year.

She'd put in a most-valuable-player performance to steer the Penrith Panthers to a title.

So her selection in the Australian under-17 women's team to contest the 2014 Oceania qualifying series against New Zealand continues her progression up the court.

Tupaea isn't the only local hitting the hoops. A Penrith player and two local juniors were honoured at the Waratah State League awards.

Ben Ellsworth was chosen as best defensive player and an all-star-five forward, and the Panthers' Ben Kearin was under-21 player of the year.

The Springwood Scorchers' Tim Kirkwood was an all-star five in the youth league.

Meanwhile, award winners Goran Veg and Jane Warren are expected to be targeted by the Panthers now Basketball NSW has expelled the Parramatta Wildcats from the league.

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