RISING to the top are the Under-20 Men, Ivor Burge Men and Ivor Burge Women, who are through to the next stage of the competition, while both of the Under-20 Women’s teams battled it out on Friday night.
UNDER-20 WOMEN AND UNDER-20 A WOMEN
Our Victorian teams battled it out on Friday night, with eagerness and excitement rising up from the court. The only thing better than defeating an enemy is besting a friend, and these teams played with it all on the line. Having played against each other for years, through VJBL,
The U20 Women had their reputation on the line and played with purpose while the U20A Women were playing free-flowing basketball without fear or hesitation as the underdog. Don’t let the scoreline fool you though, this was an incredible game played in the deepest section of the trenches.
The grind under the ring was incredible – both sides went at every rebound and ground ball like their lives were on the line. Bodies flew into the crowd as offence and defence went full tilt and their lay-ups and guarding.
Keeley Evans (eight points, six rebounds), Kayla Salmons (four points, seven rebounds) and Maddie Condron (six points) had to content with the power house Victoria offence under the basket, but they held their own and made some extraordinary stops, including a block by Condron on Agnes Emma-Nnopu that had the crowd up and about.
The second half was where the Under-20 Women started to showcase their might though. With a power-packed arsenal like theirs’, it’s truly difficult to hold down a roster that potent and to the Victoria A Women’s credit, they went toe-to-toe with them longer than most have this week.
Isabel Anstey (16 points, seven rebounds) and Gemma Potter (14 points, eight rebounds) broke the chain and began to really take control of the clash in league with Lily Scanlon (10 points, nine rebounds, four assists), who turned herself into a human cannonball as she launched herself at the basket on the way into the crowd.
In the end, Victoria took the points with a 79-47 win, but Victoria A was by no means embarrassed out of this game and put up a sterling performance against an almighty opposition.
Victoria U20 Women started the day just as impressively with a 78-54 win over South Australia led by Gemma Potter (23 points, seven rebounds) and Lara Edmanson (16 points, eight rebounds).
The Under-20 Women will face Tasmania on Saturday from 5pm in their final pool game.
In a must-win clash for the Under-20 A Women, the Victorians are set to face NSW on Saturday in in their last pool clash.
The pool stage ended strongly for the Under-20 Men with a 97-59 win over the ACT. Taking the reins and dishing off a mighty 25 assists, the Victorians were led by Joe Mutimer (20 points), Patrick Ryan (18 points, 10 rebounds), Kane Williamson (15 points, seven rebounds) and Michael Alfirenko (15 points, nine rebounds) in the emphatic performance that pushed the Victorians through to the quarter finals.
Victoria made light work of Western Australia in the quarter final, taking an emphatic 101-57 victory led by Wil Tattersall (24 points, eight rebounds) and Kobe Williamson (20 points).
The Under-20 Men are into the semi-final on Saturday and are going to battle Tasmania in the semi-final at 5pm.
UNDER-20 A MEN
Friday was a bitter pill for the Victoria U20 A Men, with a pair of losses knocking them out of the running for the title. The Victoria U20 A Men battled bravely to start Friday off, but in the end could not best a powerhouse Queensland side in a 62-91 loss. Tamuri Wigness (28 points, eight assists) and Blake Jones (25 points, 14 rebounds) proved powerful for the Queenslanders, but the likes of Kingsley Box (17 points) and David Okwera (11 points, eight rebounds) pushed through for the Victorians.
It didn’t get much better for the Victorians in the evening, despite the best efforts of the roster in coming back against Tasmania. The gap the Tassie boys set earlier in the clash was too much in the end, despite some great shooting from Brody Nunn (11 points) outside the arc. At the coalface, Keith Robinson (18 points) and David Okwera (17 points, seven rebounds) toiled for the Vic A Men alongside Kai Daniels (15 points) and Kingsley Box (11 points).
The Under-20 A Men will face WA on Saturday from 11am in a classification game.
IVOR BURGE MEN
Clinical, thorough and precise. It was the sum of all parts of perfection for the Victorians on Friday night as they lay siege to New South Wales in a 146-18 quarter final victory. With the pool games completed the previous day, the IB Men made their intent clear in the afternoon.
They’re out to take the title back and are ticking all the boxes along the way. It was extraordinary in all ways as the likes of James Debetta (28 points, 9 rebounds), Ryan Lethlean (26 points, 13 points) and Frazer Dawber (22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) stole the show under the basket, with the distribution of Ryan Briggs (10 points, 15 rebounds, six steals) proving just as impressive. It was a roster-wide emphatic performance that will have the coaching staff excited heading into today’s semi-final.
The Ivor Burge Men will face ACT at 3pm for a place in the gold medal clash.
IVOR BURGE WOMEN
Taking an extraordinary come-from-behind triumph over New South Wales 59-57, Victoria then backed it up to take an emphatic 112-41 win over WA to book its place in the gold medal game.
The morning action woke up Canberra as the Victorians toiled to erase an early deficit. Jessica McCulloch (15 points, six rebounds), Kate Leckenby (13 points, five assists) and Kaitlyn Papworth (six points, 13 rebounds) took the game by the horns and worked together to bring the Victorians back into the clash. Leckenby was too nimble in the key as she drew foul after foul and made the most of her chances from the free-throw line to close out the game and keep Victoria’s winning ways intact.
The Women would shine later that day once again as they made light work of Western Australia as Kaitlin Zonneveld (28 points, seven rebounds), Kaitlyn Papworth (22 points, 12 rebounds), Montana Haag-Witherden (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Dani Phillips (15 points) soared to end the clash in style.
Victoria is through to the gold medal match following its incredible pool stage success and will face the winner of NSW and ACT in the final on Sunday morning.