This past weekend saw reward for effort as the U18 Miners and U18 Rush claimed Division one Country Titles in Shepparton.
Teams from all over Victoria converged on Shepparton to compete across the two days for the crown of the best U16 & U18 Teams in Country Victoria Basketball.
The Thrifty Ballarat Miners earned the first of its two under-18 titles with a 52-45 victory over Corio Bay in the U18 Boys Division 1 finale. Jerimiah McKenzie (15 points), Ethan Fiegert (14 points) and Jarrod Hunter (10 points) struck gold for the Miners.
While the Thrifty Ballarat Rush surged 48-37 against the Geelong Supercats 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 dug their heels in, but in the end the best efforts of the entire Geelong roster weren’t enough to stake a claim to Ballarat’s golden performance.
Basketball Ballarat Manager of Athlete & Coach Development Nathan Cooper-Brown commented on the weekends results, “We couldn’t be more proud of the athletes, coaches and families that represented us in Shepparton over the weekend. For two and a half years everyone involved in the program has been working tirelessly to build a culture that helps people become the best version of themselves, and the by-product of that is on court success, and that’s what we have been rewarded with here.”
Cooper-Brown added, “We are very grateful to everyone involved in our program who contributes daily, it’s truly a team effort. Huge congratulations to our coaches and athletes who performed so well under pressure”
“We continue the push to be one of the leaders in the State at developing athletes and coaches, and these two championships go a long way in demonstrating that. We look forward to further on court success in 2018”
The Thrifty U16 Miners caught a tough Horsham Hornets team in the division one semifinals, and although leaving it all out on the floor couldn’t triumph, and finished a courageous third in the State.
The U16 Rush dropped a crucial pool game to Warragul in overtime which meant a division one quarter final clash with eventual champions Southern Peninsula. A loss and seventh place finish wasn’t indicative of their hard work and talent, and these athletes and coaches take away plenty of teaching points to improve on in coming weeks.
Building on the positives of the Championships results is the qualification of the Thrifty U16 Rush, Thrifty U16 Miners, and Thrifty U18 Rush to Victorian Championship in the VJBL, (with the Thrifty U18 Miners playing a crossover game to qualify this Friday). This sees each team in the 2018 season given an opportunity to continue to develop playing against the best in the State, and hopefully lead to further team and individual achievements in the near future.