Held at the newly-opened Ballarat Sports and Events Centre as well as the Ballarat Minerdome, the city was treated to some extraordinary basketball to cap off a stellar week across…
Held at the newly-opened Ballarat Sports and Events Centre as well as the Ballarat Minerdome, the city was treated to some extraordinary basketball to cap off a stellar week across the tournament.
But all eyes turned to the showcourt as Hawthorn Magic battled perennial high flyers Melbourne Tigers in the girls’ grand final.
The Magic took their game to the next level to run out 44-26 winners to claim the Championship – to the sound of thunderous applause from the many carloads of Hawthorn fans who made the trip up the highway.
In the battle of the undefeated sides, Hawthorn found that extra level to ensure it would remain that way throughout the week in Ballarat.
The hard yards were put down through the middle quarters as Hawthorn started chipping away at the Melbourne defence. Piece-by-piece the strategy started locking together as Georgia McBean (18 points) led the onslaught. Her outside shooting was just as superb as her work in the key as she created headaches across the floor.
It was an evenly weighted performance from the Magic as the girls found open looks and made the most of their opportunity on the big stage.
Melbourne was led by Caitlyn Petersen (eight points) and Anouk Bennett (five points) in the gallant defeat.
Magic girls’ head coach Michael Dimattina said the side has loved every second of the last few weeks – with the team picking up a VC Under-14 title before backing it up here in Ballarat with the Under-14 Club Championships victory.
“For our girls it was the culmination of a whole season’s worth of training and heartache,” Dimattina said. “It wasn’t easy as we had injuries throughout the year as most teams do, but the final score is that we went through VC undefeated and won the title and now here we’ve also gone undefeated and won the title.
“It’s been a huge couple of weeks – All credit to them as they’re a phenomenal bunch of girls.
“You’ve also got to give credit to the Melbourne Tigers – Ray (Tomlinson) does a terrific job with those girls… I thought they played really well all week.”
It was agonisingly close to a Hawthorn Magic double, with the Magic boys locked in an epic Championship Boys gold medal clash against Hills Hornets. The sides could not be split through regulation, following some incredible displays from the Magic at both ends of the court. Phoenix Windsor (17 points), Liam Edwards (14 points) and Jesse Mcintosh (9 points) were exceptional for the Magic at both ends of the court.
Sale Sonics girls continued to impress in the national arena by making it through to the bronze medal clash in the Championship Division. It wasn’t the result they were aiming for however as Gold Coast took out a 54-61 win. Sharing the workload ably, Alexandra Beale (13 points) and Lola Wilson (two points) flung themselves around in the key to fight off the Waves’ imposing talls while Sienna Wynd (15 points) and Ashley Centra (12 points) also battled bravely. The Sonics have flourished in tournament play over the last few seasons – with a third place finish at the National Junior Classic this year showcasing their talents.
Frankston Blues girls finished sixth in the Championship Division with a final day 59-71 defeat at the hands of Bankstown Bruins. Bonnie Deas (22 points) surged throughout the clash for the Blues alongside Elli Symonds (14 points) and Ava Torassi (10 points).
Dandenong boys finished 8th in the Championship Division; an impressive effort from the nine-man roster – depleted by the last minute injury to Dhiluk Samarawickrama, that sidelined him throughout the championships. The final day clash against Willeton Tigers didn’t fall the Rangers way, despite the best efforts of Jett Garnham (13 points) and Landon Purcell (13 points) in the 47-56 defeat.
Nunawading girls finished 12th in the Championship Division after its final day 48-59 loss to Forestville. Madeline Potts (19 points) and Amelia Lees (14 points) led from the front for the Spectres.
In the Boys Shield Division, McKinnon took out the gold medal clash against Kilsyth to record an impressive 63-60 triumph. It went down to the wire, as the Cobras struck back at the death, but in the end the cooler heads from the Cougars prevailed as Jude Fountain (16 points), Aussie Gatkouth (12 points), Luke Ryan (11 points) and Jayden Nguyen (10 points) shared the workload. For the Cobras, Baylin Spencer (19 points), Ryan Nunziante (12 points) and Cameron West (11 points) led the scoring.
Ballarat Miners nearly unearthed the bronze medal in the Shield Division, but fell just short in a thrilling 62-70 clash against Norths Bears unfortunately not falling their way. Nicholas Robinson (17 points), Ned Renfree (15 points) and Samuel Mcdonald (12 points) shone for the Miners.
Geelong Supercats battled their way through the week, but were able to hold their heads high with a 92-64 win over Perry Lakes Hawks to earn fifth in the Shield Division. Kai Smith (16 points), Oscar Leavold (16 points) and Jesse Ombega (13 points) led the scoring barrage as six Supercats notched double-digits.
In the Girls Shield Division, the Ballarat Rush girls capped off a challenging week with a 73-47 win over Warwick Senators to finish seventh. Georgia Bodey (29 points) and Emily Lewis (23 points) excelled in the final clash.