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Jess Hopkins has taken her basketball progression beyond county level and on to the regional stage as she helped take the East of England side to victory in an inter-regional tournament at Lilleshall.

The 12-year-old from Witham, who is 5ft 6in tall and only took up the sport in September, played a key part in the heart of the Eastern team’s defence as they completely dominated the competition and went unbeaten on their way to overall victory.

It was a flawless performance by the team against the best under-13 players from across the country and they ended up beating the team from the North East in the final.

Hopkins, who earned her call-up after impressing for Essex, said: “It was amazing and the whole environment was just so good. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

“No-one could come close to us.”

See this week's paper for the full version of this story.