SHARING the titles around the state, sides from across Country Victoria claimed the championships at the BVC Under-16 and Under-18 Championships over the weekend.
Ballarat, Echuca, Southern Peninsula, Mildura, Warragul, Bendigo and Corio Bay took out the country championships in their respective divisions following an intense weekend of competition in Shepparton.
Ballarat earned the first of its two under-18 titles with a 52-45 victory over Corio Bay in the U18 Boys Division 1 finale. Ethan Blythe (17 points) and Hamish Goodier (14 points) were superb for the Stingrays offensively while Jerimiah McKenzie (15 points), Ethan Fiegert (14 points) and Jarrod Hunter (10 points) struck gold for the Miners.
In a U18 Boys Division 2 nail-biter, Warragul took the lead in the dying seconds to claim a 42-40 triumph over Portland Coasters. The last-second field goal from Declan Bagot (10 points) gave the Warriors the victory. Sam Flanders (11 points) and Connor Graham (seven points) led the surge for Warragul while Harry Punton (11 points) and Zane Barker (nine points) were the Coasters’ finest in the grand final.
Ballarat surged 48-37 to take home the U18 Girls Division 1 title on the back of some exceptional shooting via Sophie Molan (13 points), Charlotte Todd (12 points) and Sophie Grylewicz (10 points). Geelong’s state representatives Carly Remmos (11 points) and Karli Bruce (nine points) dug their heels in for the Supercats, but in the end the best efforts of the entire Geelong roster weren’t enough to stake a claim to Ballarat’s golden performance.
Traralgon’s U18 Girls Division 2 – led by Australian and Victoria Country champion Jade Melbourne (30 points) – could not overcome the tenacious Echuca Pirates’ lineup. The Pirates scraped home 48-45 with the starring efforts of Lucy Higgins (10 points), Alex Tenace (eight points) and Meg Eishold (eight points) enough to grant Echuca the championship.
Southern Peninsula’s U18 Girls Division 1 side flexed its muscles against Bendigo in a thrilling 52-48 victory. Bendigo shot out of the blocks early through Meg McCarthy (17 points), Maddison Nash (12 points) and Piper Dunlop (eight points) and to lead 14-4… but it wasn’t enough to keep the Sharks out of the contest. Gemma Simon (17 points) unleashed fire with five threes slash the deficit before the last 10 minutes to decide the champion. In league with Lani Thornton (14 points) and Charli Dobson (11 points) the sensational fightback was carved into the BVC history books.
Mildura Heat surged to take the 31-29 victory over Wangaratta Warriors in the U16 Girls Division 2 championship decider. Brianna Behsmann (12 points) took the game by the scruff of the neck for the Heat in league with Lauren Breguet and Lavinia Erskine (four points each). Mildura eked out the early lead but Wangaratta returned fire through Morgan Byrne (10 points), Ebony Norris (seven points) and Ebony O’Donohue (six points) to regain the lead. In the end the back-and-forth was claimed by the Heat in a thrilling two-point triumph.
U16 Boys Division 1 was claimed emphatically by Bendigo in a thrilling 44-37 grand final against Horsham. Neither side could really crack the other throughout the first half as Bendigo pushed out to a six-point lead through Dylan McCauley (14 points) and Jackson Fletcher (seven points). The margin rapidly ballooned out to a dozen though as Horsham was left scrambling. The Hornets swarmed back into it through Sam Breuer (12 points), Austin McKenzie (10 points) and Harley Pope (seven points), as they slashed the gap to five. But there wasn’t enough left in the tank to crack the Braves again as Dyson Daniels (12 points) starting sinking long bombs to grant the Braves the championship.
In the U16 Boys Division 2 grand final, Corio Bay surged early and broke away to a 17-6 lead through the likes of Declan Coles (16 points), Jamie Ryan and Joseph Macula (eight points each) … but Portland wasn’t done by any stretch. The Coasters toiled through Jack Burton (10 points), Patrick Burgoyne (seven points) to erase the margin through the second and third to set up a thrilling final term. Coles started the fourth in fine fettle – knocking down a monster three to push the Stingrays back in front as the side held on for the incredible 38-34 triumph.
We would like to congratulate all the participating teams, the referees and administration staff and our champions on a phenomenal weekend in Shepparton.
BVC UNDER-16 AND UNDER-18 CHAMPIONSHIPS – GRAND FINAL RESULTS
Under 18 Girls Division 1
Ballarat 48 defeated Geelong 37
Eliza Singleton, Jordan Royal and Kaine Jefferies
Under 18 Girls Division 2
Echuca 48 defeated Traralgon 45
Chris Crosbie, Russell Robinson and Lachlan Saines
Under 16 Girls Division 1
Southern Peninsula 52 defeated Bendigo 48
Nicholas Foord and Zoe Allen
Under 16 Girls Division 2
Mildura 31 defeated Wangaratta 29
Riley Hood and Mackenzie Gorman
Under 18 Boys Division 1
Ballarat 52 defeated Corio Bay 45
Shannon Jennings, Matthew McLoughlin and Roozbeh Koladoohz
Under 18 Boys Division 2
Warragul 42 defeated Portland 40
Daniel Nancarrow, Shania Watson and Cory Bannister
Under 16 Boys Division 1
Bendigo 44 defeated Horsham 37
Ataliah Zito and Emma Thorn
Under 16 Boys Division 2
Corio Bay 38 defeated Portland 34
Axel Goodall and Jake Stevenson