From February 17th-18th, the Southern Peninsula u16 Women, u16 Men and u18 Men competed in their respective Basketball Victoria Country Division 1/2 Championships. Unfortunately, we did not have an u18 Women’s team compete in 2018 due to a lack of eligible players.
The Southern Peninsula Basketball Association were also represented on the weekend by Riley Hood and Axel Goodall who both attended the Country Championships as referees. Riley was awarded the U16 division 2 girls Grand Final whilst Axel officiated the U16 division 2 boys Grand Final, a fantastic achievement by both officials.
The Basketball Victoria Country Division 1/2 Championships are the premier event within Basketball Victoria Country and is where the Champions for each age group are annually proclaimed.
Our u16 Women, coached by Gerard Hillier had a fantastic weekend at the Country Championships, finishing as Division 1 Champions for 2018.
The tournament started off well for the Women, defeating Shepparton, Moe and Geelong on the Saturday by an average of 24 points per game, qualifying them for the Division 1 finals on the Sunday.
Sunday’s first opponent in the Division 1 finals was Ballarat. Our girls managed a 14-point win to secure a spot in the Semi Finals.
The Semi Final was a much tougher encounter, eventually winning by 4 points against Traralgon, qualifying the team for the Grand Final in the afternoon.
The Grand Final saw a rematch from the girls u14 Basketball Victoria Country Championships in 2016, their opponent, Bendigo. In 2016, Bendigo won the Championship, however, 2018 saw the tables turned with the Southern Peninsula u16 Women winning the Championship by 4 points, 52-48.
Coach Gerard Hillier saw the weekend as being a great success for more reasons than just getting the wins “The weekend as a whole was hugely beneficial for our team, playing 6 games in 2 days was physically taxing on the players so it was fantastic to see them work together and grind out some really tough wins. Winning the tournament was simply a bonus, a great reward for the players, we’ll let them enjoy it for a few days before we reset our focus and talk over our next set of goals”
Our U16 Men, coached by Ben White had a disappointing weekend in terms of results, however, White believes it can be a catalyst for the growth of the playing group “our boys learnt on the weekend what it looks like to compete for a full game, every game. Hopefully we can make some strides towards being a team that can do that regularly through our practice as we move forwards. We need to ensure we use the experience as a learning opportunity”.
The tournament started off on a rough note, dropping the opening game by 1 point to Wangaratta before losing to Traralgon by 14 and Ballarat by 17.
The boys qualified for the Division 2 finals, set to face Portland on Sunday morning.
Portland managed to get the better of our boys, winning their matchup 31-17.
Ben added “we have other goals to achieve this season and we now move our focus to achieving those”.
Our U18 Men, coached by Cam Torres had a challenging weekend, playing against some supremely talented athletes and teams “the boys tried hard all weekend. We were physically outmuscled, which eventually took its toll in the second halves of games. I am very proud of the effort and the fact that we never stopped and had each other’s backs”.
Warrnambool were the first team we faced, a perennial powerhouse in this age group. Although our boys fought hard, we eventually lost the encounter 46-29. The next match up was against Wangaratta, unfortunately our boys couldn’t quite get over the line, dropping the game 46-40.
The two losses placed the boys in the Division 2 finals on Sunday, drawing Warragul in their first round. Warragul, led by former Sharks BigV player, Sam Flanders and current Sharks BigV player, Connor Graham were simply too strong in this game. The Warriors ended up winning 58-28 before going on to win the Division 2 Championship.
The Southern Peninsula Basketball Association is proud of the efforts of all of our Players, Coaches and Team Managers as well as thankful for the time and commitment that the team’s parents contributed in order to allow their children to represent us at this event. Winning is a part of development, however, in the eyes of the SPBA, short term success never outweighs long term success. All three of our teams that participated will maximize the opportunity to learn from the experience in order to aide their long term development.
We still have our U14 Boys and Girls as well as our U12 Boys and Girls awaiting their opportunity to compete for their Basketball Victoria Country Championships, their opportunities will come during April.