The Victorian basketball community has been treated to an amazing display of junior talent, teamwork and sportsmanship with the 2016 Medibank National Junior Classic being run and won over the weekend.
There is always a lot of hype surrounding the ‘Classic’ as teams break from their regular season play and switch their focus to the 3-day tournament. The intense schedule is designed to test even the strongest of teams with 6 highly competitive games in less than 72 hours.
Medibank National Junior Classic and Melb Utd. VJBL Manager, John Hilton said “The quality of the competition is unsurpassed. The Classic is the closest to a junior age National Club Championship that we have in Australia and the teams involved come to the event very well prepared and ready to play.
“In addition to the large interstate contingent, we welcomed teams from New Zealand for the first time, adding another dimension to the tournament.”
The event is a season goal for every junior representative coach and invitations to the event only extended to those teams which rank in the top bracket in each State.
The 2016 event provided the perfect backdrop for 128 of the strongest junior teams from both sides of the Tasman to battle it out for the prestigious title of Classic Champion. As is always the case, the Victorian teams were strong but the unknown element of the interstate and New Zealand teams was high.
The grand finalists were largely Victorian with the traditional powerhouses of the Victorian Championship competition shining through. Bendigo Braves, the reigning U14 girls Country Champions took it up to the highly fancied metro competition to make the gold medal game and Sturt in the U18 boys also showed that the SA champions were prepared to leave nothing on the floor in their quest to take the 2016 title back to Adelaide.
It was however, an all-Victorian affair with the home sides sweeping the Grand Finals.
For a number of junior athletes, the Medibank National Junior Classic is the highpoint of their junior basketball career and it is for this very reason, the lessons learnt, friends made and memories created, last a lifetime.
2016 National Junior Classic Grand Final Results
Grand Final – Knox 41 def Eltham 38
Grand Final – Kilsyth 62 def Knox 49
Grand Final – Bendigo 50 def Melbourne 42
Grand Final – Eltham 49 def Dandenong 41
Grand Final – Bulleen 58 def Knox 46
Grand Final – Keilor 90 def Bulleen 66
Grand Final – Bulleen 58 def Diamond Valley 46
Grand Final – Dandenong 67 def Sturt 60
A full summary of results and final standings can be found on the tournament page.