Hall of Fame Inductee
Beverley Tonge began her basketball journey with the Eagles basketball club and continued as a valued member with the Toowoomba club for her junior playing career.
Her talent was recognised at an early age, selected to represent South Queensland at Queensland junior state championships every year between 1972 and 1975.
Bev’s consistently exceptional performances at these junior state championships resulted in her representing Queensland at junior Australian championships every year for which she was age-eligible: under 16s in 1973 and under 18s in 1974 and 1975.
Bev first represented Darling Downs at the Queensland senior state championships in 1973, as a 14-year-old junior player, and subsequently represented South Queensland or Metropolitan Zones at every Queensland senior state championship until they were discontinued.
In 1975, Bev represented Queensland at her final junior Australian championships and played in her first senior Australian championship, still aged 16 years, going on to represent Queensland at seven senior women’s Australian championships.
This is the equal third-highest number of senior Australian championships played by any Queensland male or female player, and the equal second highest number of senior Australian championships played by any Queensland female player.
1983 saw the last senior women’s Australian championship held; it was also the only Australian senior championship, male or female, at which Queensland made the final, winning the silver medal, with Bev as co-captain.
As well as junior and senior representation at State and Australian championships, Bev represented Queensland clubs in at least two Australian Women’s Club Championships finals series.
The Brisbane Lady Bullets entered the fledgling Women’s National Basketball League in the league’s second year. Under the challenging conditions of an emerging team and developing league, where players carried some costs and support was limited, Bev Tonge played for the Lady Bullets in the 1983 and 1984 seasons.
In 1975, stellar performances for Queensland in Junior and Senior Australian championships earned her selection in the shadow Australian team (the equivalent of Emerging Opals of today). However, playing opportunities were limited. The Australian team did not get to go to the preliminaries for the 1976 Montreal Olympics as the powers to be at the time did not feel they had any chance of success; it would take another eight years to again reach pre-Olympic qualification.
Again, in 1984, as member of Lady Bullets, Bev Tonge was invited by the Australian Basketball Federation (now Basketball Australia) to be a member of the Australian squad from which the team to represent Australia for the Inaugural Australia Games would be selected.
It was, as part of this Australian squad, that Bev injured her knee, denying her selection for the Opals and the opportunity of playing more seasons for the Lady Bullets.
Beverley Tonge’s exceptional journey through basketball, encompassing the years before and after the advent of the national leagues, can be held up as a model for any aspiring player to emulate. She is a most worthy inductee to the Queensland Basketball Hall of Fame.