The sky is the limit for Naracoorte basketball umpire

UMPIRE: Susie Maber and Charles Russell from Tasmania. Photo: Supplied

UMPIRE: Susie Maber and Charles Russell from Tasmania. Photo: Supplied

Heading to New Zealand is a dream come true for Naracoorte basketball umpire Susie Maber.

Susie was selected out of five other umpires in South Australia to umpire at the Mel Young Easter Classic Tournament next month.

"So basically in January, I went up to Albury to do a country basketball carnival, and from there, you nominate yourself to go to New Zealand. They select one person (each) from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania," Susie told the Herald.

Susie has always been encouraged by people at the Naracoorte Basketball Association to see where umpiring can take her.

She believes she was selected because of her age and her seven years of experience.

"I was in one of the higher age groups. They do prefer people with a bit more experience, and I suppose they know I'll take the most out of it."

The 20-year-old started umpiring when she wasn't busy playing herself, and said it was a great way to rake in some extra pocket money when she was young.

Susie will jet off for New Zealand on the Wednesday before the Easter long weekend, giving her some time to sight-see before the tournament begins.

"It's like their own carnival like we have here. So it's all the different regions playing each other for the title.

"We've been told the New Zealand Basketball is very different to Australia. So while we're umpiring, we're also trying to teach them how to play."

The tournament will see players of all ages and skill levels compete, from 13 years old to 21 years old.

This will be a "very different" experience for Susie, but she's thrilled to be taking the next step in what could be a hopeful career path for her.

"I'm very excited. My dad is from New Zealand, so I'm hoping to meet up with some of my family."

Susie told the Herald she's hoping to keep up her umpiring when she returns to Naracoorte after the seven-day trip, but she also understands that living in a country town can be somewhat limiting.

"It is obviously hard being (in Naracoorte) because everything's in Adelaide. But now with the Pioneers playing NBL 1 (in Mount Gambier), it's a bit closer."

This trip will certainly be a highlight in Susie's umpiring career, and she's grateful to have been given so much encouragement from everyone in town.

"I love all the friendships I've made. Naracoorte (basketball association) has just helped me so much. I wouldn't be where I am without them.

"The committee are helping me out financially ... I didn't expect them to.

"Kelly Burke, our umpiring coordinator, has just pushed me to do all of these things. He's just organised a (coach) course for us so I can start coaching our younger kids. He's a massive drive for us."

It's not long now until Susie flies off to New Zealand, and everyone in Naracoorte is wishing her the best of luck.