Junior Tall Fern buddies head to the States

By Moana Makapelu Lee

Junior Tall Fern stars Tiarna Clarke and Zara Jillings have signed full scholarships to play basketball in the states.

The West Lake High School buddies who have played basketball for over 6 years will be separated for the first time as they head to study in separate states for four years. Despite the big move, the girls say they won’t be alone.

'There's quite a few Kiwi girls and lots of them that we know so there is a good network and people you can talk to and seek help from,’ says Jillings.

The teens were a part of the Junior Tall Ferns team who competed in a tour of China. The girls hope the new skills they’ll learn from their time in America will see them make the Tall Ferns in the future.

'Tall Ferns is a definite goal and something that maybe during the four years could happen as well. My school has been really supportive in saying if [I] do get those opportunities that they'll let me go and do that.'

Clarke heads to the University of Colorado next June, while Jillings will head east to Fordham in New York before the end of the New Year.