Teen sensation Amelia Corasaniti plays with the fearlessness of youth and is bringing that bite to the Beeliar Boodjar Cougars this season where opposition veterans and star guards have become frustrated, and for her that means she’s achieving her goals out there.
Having moved from Narrogin this year to board and take part in the SEDA College basketball program, the now 16-year-old has joined the Cougars and is anything but just a young player learning at the end of the bench getting spot minutes.
She’s a genuinely important member of the Beeliar Boodjar team that is sitting on top of the NBL1 West standings with a 15-1 record heading into this this weekend’s double-header away to the Willetton Tigers and at home to the Goldfields Giants.
Corasaniti has provided quite the boost for the Cougars off the bench this season. The energy she brings is enormous and the attitude she brings is equally as infectious for her teammates to get a lift out of, and for the opposition guards she’s hounding to get annoyed and frustrated.
Thoughts about the season so far
Corasaniti is doing what you just don’t expect a 16-year-old to do against some of the genuine stars of the league. She’s loving every moment of it because she had no idea what to expect coming into her first NBL1 West season.
“It’s obviously my first season at the Cougars so I didn’t really know where I would fit in or if I was just going to be there to fill the bench spot and what not, but obviously I get to come in sometimes for Jewel to give her a rest,” Corasaniti said.
“Obviously I have a big spot to fill when I go out on the court because we’re high up on the ladder and are expected to do really good, so I have to keep up what Jewel’s been doing.
“I really enjoy it and we have a really good bunch, and we all really gel well together and get along. It’s just really fun. Trainings are fun and to win the games we are is fun, but to do that we all have to be switched on which we have been.”
Fearless approach up against the stars
Young players generally have one of two approaches when they start their careers, they are nervous and go out too scared to make a mistake or they just go out there feeling like they have nothing to lose, and want to turn the pressure back on the established stars.
You only have to watch Corasaniti hit the floor for one possession on defence to know that she takes the latter approach. That’s why she’s already racked up 19 steals including four in three separate games this season.
“I was kinda scared but obviously those sort of players have something to lose, I don’t. I’m the young one and they are obviously thinking that I’m just young and won’t really know what I’m doing,” she said.
“So I want to show them what I can do and I don’t have anything to lose. If they stuff up, they know more and have been there for longer so they have that pressure on themselves. So I try to just go out there and do the same thing that I do at 18s really and put the pressure on them.”
Opponents to really get your attention
The fearless approach Corasaniti has on defence is obvious and the higher calibre the player, the more she seems to lift for the occasion.
Experienced and quality guards right across the league have hated having her in their face, but it was Perth Lynx and Joondalup Wolves import Robbi Ryan that she really set herself for.
“When I go out on the floor especially in NBL1 my focus is on defence. I just try and go and get the ball off the dribbler, that’s my goal. I want to just disrupt them and make it difficult for them to bring the ball up the floor. That’s my focus in NBL1,” Corasaniti said.
“Robbi Ryan is the one I was really excited to play against. All I wanted to do when I played against her was to steal the ball off her, that’s all I wanted to do. And I got it, I did manage to do that in the first game when we played them so that was my match up that I wanted to play against the most.”
While Corasaniti doesn’t fear guarding any opposition player, she’s glad she doesn’t have to match up on her teammate Jewel Williams in games.
“She’s the last person in the world I would want to have to play defence on,” she said.
“I would happily play defence on anyone else, but I don’t like having to guard Jewel. I just can’t predict what she’s going to do so I’m glad she’s on my team and I only have to go against her at trainings.”
Year of firsts in 2023
Growing up in Narrogin, Corasaniti had been earmarked as one of the brightest rising stars in Western Australia especially on the back of her performances at last year’s national under-16s championships.
That has all led into a year of change in 2023 where she’s moved to Perth for the first time to be boarding and attending SEDA, and her basketball progress is in full swing.
It’s meant she’s got the chance to play basketball at senior level in the NBL1 for the first time and she’s been especially glad to do it alongside Kinley Paterson.
“Obviously it’s like me and Kinley who get to come in to give that big of a spark to give the starters a rest, and we’re called the hound dogs,” Corasaniti said.
“It’s been a bit of a surprise just how well we’ve both fit in so quickly because we’re so young, and how we work together really well when we come in and out. ”
As for living away from home, it has been a little bit of a steep learning curve for Corasaniti but at the same time she feels it’s helped her grow up a bit quicker and she’s grateful for the help of everyone at the Cougars.
“I’m actually living at a boarding house and I’m literally never there really. I’m always at trainings and stuff and get back late every night so I’m not really there a whole lot,” Corasaniti said.
“I do feel like it’s made me become very independent, though, getting used to taking transport everywhere to get around to places. In the first few weeks it was a bit tough working out how I was going to do it all, and what was the best ways and stuff.
“I didn’t know anything about Perth transport or about Perth really, but Cockburn has really helped me. Even getting to training and getting home sometimes, I’m able to get some lifts and that’s been really good to have the team helping me out.”