Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Successful weekend for junior Pirates

Under 14A boys team goes through Bendigo tournament undefeated.

February 1, 2013 4:02am

The winning under 14 Pirates team (from back left) Tristan Lindberg, Mathew Lias, Liam Tenace, Matt Hore, Luke Rosendale, coach Leo Tenace; (front) Kobe Poulton and Jordan Hutton.

The undefeated Echuca Junior Pirates 14A boys basketball team capped off a solid weekend for the club at the Bendigo Basketball Junior Classic on Monday.

The side won all of its pool matches in the under 14s second division and went on to defeat Wangaratta Warriors 46-24 in the grand final.

The Pirates held on to defeat a tall Benalla Breakers 30-29 in the first match, followed by a 31-21 win against the physical Melton Thoroughbreds, which saw Luke Rosendale and Koby Poulton star in defence.

The team came up against Kyneton on Sunday in what was a tough battle in the first half.

Coach Leo Tenace changed the players to a press defence and Jordan Hutton and Liam Tenace responded well to pressure and force the turnovers.

Tristan Lindberg shot well and Matt Hore drove strongly to the basket throughout the game as Echuca won 37-31.

The match was succeeded by a 22-18 victory against Ballarat, but it was not all easy going.

The Pirates led 12-4 at half-time after a great performance by Mathew Lias.

Ballarat fought back to get back within two points at three-quarter-time, then Echuca managed to hold in the final quarter.

Monday’s knockout semi-final saw the Pirates meet a strong Frankston outfit.

Echuca’s strong offence combined with a tight defence saw the side dominate the first half.

Poulton and Tenace both played strongly under the boards against their taller opponents and the side went to the main break with a comfortable 17-3 lead.

A determined Frankston emerged in the second half and fought back well.

The Pirates showed just as much determination and managed to hold on to win 18-17 for a berth in the grand final against old rivals Wangaratta.

The final started off tightly with both teams bringing their A game.

Tenace was active at both ends of the court for Echuca and at half-time it was locked at 16 apiece.

The second half saw the Pirates come out and play the match on their terms, combining a great team-game and a tight defence.

With all team members putting points on the board, Echuca went on to win 46-24.

Coach Leo Tenace said the seven-man team was not at its strongest due to withdrawals, but proved powerful enough to win the division.

‘‘I thought we’d be competitors but I didn’t expect to win it,’’ he said.

‘‘The boys just played really well and kept their best game for the grand final.

‘‘From the perspective of a town the size of ours, to compete in the second division and win is a pretty good effort.’’

Liam Tenace completed a dominant performance to be named most valuable player in the grand final.

■ Echuca’s 14B side could not mirror the height achieved by the A side, but managed three wins from its pool games.

The Pirates lost their opening matches to Maryborough Blazers 33-29 and Bendigo Braves C 45-37.

Their first win came on Sunday with a 31-27 victory against Myrtleford, but the side had no answers against Shepparton Gators to lose 24-32.

The day was completed on a high note when Echuca won 51-29 against Sunbury Jets 3, while Monday’s sole match saw the side thump Castlemaine Cannons 58-17.

■ The 12A boys side rounded out the club’s representation, falling 12 points shy of a grand final berth against Wangaratta in the semi-final.

The side opened its campaign with a 32-20 win against Ballarat 2 and a 32-23 victory against home side Bendigo Braves.

The Pirates continued their winning ways with a comfortable 26-10 win against Melton Thoroughbreds on Sunday, followed by a one-goal quarter-final victory against Sunbury Jets 2, 26-25.

But the team proved no match for Wangaratta, going down 28-16 in Monday’s semi-final to concede its only loss of the tournament.

■ Echuca basketballers Georgie Eishold, Emily Taverna, Jemma Osborne and Annabel Johnson each represented the club and themselves at recent basketball tournaments this month.

Osborne and Johnson represented the under 15 and under 14 Victorian Bushrangers sides respectively, at the Southern Cross Junior Basketball Challenge at Ballarat last week.

Neither side made the grand final, but both girls had plenty of court time.

Taverna’s under 16 Victorian Goldminers team came second at the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in Albury earlier in the month.

The team won four of its five pool games and two of its three finals.

Eishold played with the under 18 Victorian Settlers at the same competition, winning four of her six pool matches before losing the first play-off final by one point to South Australia Redbacks.

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