The Junior Pirates took part in a basketball tournament in Wodonga last month, with the under 14A girls and under 18 girls winning their respective grand finals.
Under 14A girls
The 14A girls had a great weekend, winning all their games, including the grand final against Wodonga.
Their first match was against Wodonga, which was a tight defensive game and closely contested.
Molly Byrne scored the first two points and continued to find the basket.
Annabel Johnson fought hard for the ball and managed to draw the fouls and go to the free throw line on a number of occasions.
Georgie Pain continued to work hard under the ring and created opportunities for quick scoring shots.
The girls led at half-time and held on to a seven-point lead to win their first game.
The second game was against Wangaratta.
Again the girls were off to a quick start and scored early in the match.
Amee Hardess came out strongly and intercepted the ball and, with a number of fast breaks, drove the ball down the court and added to the scoreboard.
Rosy Miechel provided the speed and played a good defensive game.
Going into the second half leading by two points the Pirates came out with more accurate shooting to increase their lead and win by 11 points.
The third game for the day was against Seymour.
The Pirates showed great teamwork and continued to dominate the scoreboard.
Molly Frew drove strongly to the basket and scored under pressure on a number of occasions.
Olivia Taverna and Meg Rhode fought hard for the ball and passed strongly down the court to provide scoring opportunities for Johnson and Byrne.
A long shot on the half-time bell by Johnson increased the lead to seven points.
During the second half the girls continued to show good teamwork and applied good pressure down the court and won by 10 points.
The following day the Pirates took on Shepparton and continued their winning run.
Sam Mason contributed to the scoreboard early and was ably assisted down the court by Hardess and Johnson.
Lucy Higgins shot well from outside the key and Rhode turned the ball over a number of times and enabled shots to be scored.
With a strong lead at half-time the girls continued to dominate the game and won by 24 points to qualify for the grand final.
The Pirates faced Wodonga again and came out with strength in defence and displayed good teamwork.
At half-time Echuca led by nine points, increasing that to an 11-point win.
To add to the win, Molly Byrne won MVP for the final.
Under 14B girls
The Pirates took on Bendigo in their first game.
Lucy Deola, Bec Eade and Brigette Byrnes drove numerous times to the basket, but were blocked by a stronger side.
There was some good rebounding by Joelle and Emmerson Simpson under the ring.
Bec Huismann and Annie Sampson worked hard at the top of the key in defence with some good steals, but the Pirates eventually went down 52-2.
Against Myrtleford, Deola and Mia Gregor rebounded well under the ring to score and also draw fouls.
Gregor scored from some nice passes through Eade and Emmerson Simpson.
Jess Gould worked hard with some great intercepts and drives to the basket.
The Pirates worked hard, with some tight defence and great offensive play, falling seven points short, 13-20.
The Pirates then took on Benalla.
Gregor, Eade, Deola and Emmerson grew in confidence and all scored with some nice drives.
Byrnes fought hard for the rebounds at both ends of the court, while Joelle worked hard with some intercepts and chased down the loose ball.
Cam Yeates and Huismann put pressure on their opponents with some tight defence, but the side eventually went down 13-19.
In their final match, the Pirates took on Deniliquin for the first time this season.
The girls started off with the first goal with a drive to the basket by Gregor.
After that it was a hard slog against taller opponents.
Emmerson, Byrnes and Eade tried hard to rebound any loose balls that came their way.
Deola and Gould got a few nice steals, but the team was unable to make the most of them.
Under 16A girls
The team of seven were a little short of substitutes for the weekend, with Vanessa Handy, Chelsea Atkins and Khloe Miechel missing from the line-up.
Echuca was up against Wodonga in the first game.
From the beginning the girls were full of energy, keeping tight, strong defence on the Wodonga players.
For the first 10 minutes, Eve Gregor was the player who put points on the board.
Not to be out done, Aylssa Clark converted two out of three from the three-point line.
At half-time Echuca led Wodonga by one point, 13-12.
The second half saw Wodonga increase its intensity and defence which saw Echuca only score another six points to come away winners 30-19.
Echuca’s next match was against Benalla.
Gregor started the scoring again, before Liv Hannon, Emmison Rohde, Abby Poulton and Lil Ward started to put scores on the board.
The game was scrappy in the first half, with Echuca capitalising on vital turnovers.
Echuca was up by one point at half-time 16-15.
The second half was a cleaner and more fluent game of play.
In a fantastic team game, Echuca extended its lead to win 33-22.
Echuca lined up against Shepparton for the final game of the day.
A long day and weary legs saw a sleepy start to the game.
Hannon put the Pirates on the scoreboard with one point from the free throw line and then it was Poulton’s turn at the basket.
Rohde continued to rebound strongly under the basket in offence and defence.
Ward created havoc when she stole the ball and converted it for two points.
At half-time Shepparton was up 20-12.
Echuca lifted in the first 11 minutes of the second half to level the scores, 21-all.
Unfortunately Echuca was to remain scoreless for the remainder of the game, seeing Shepparton run away winners 34-21.
Echuca faced Swan Hill for its only game on Sunday.
With Hannon out with an ankle injury, the team only had one player on the bench.
Swan Hill fouled many times to see most of the Echuca players at the free throw line.
Delaney Couroupis created great space and helped put scores on the board.
From a 14-5 lead at half-time, Swan Hill did well to draw the game 21-all at the final siren.
Under 18 girls
In the first game against Mildura, Tess Ringin and Jess Hardess shot well with some great offensive and defensive rebounds by Megan Fuller.
Liv Slattery made some great moves in the post.
Mildura pushed the Pirates until the end but the girls came together for a great win, 30-22.
In the second game against Seymour, the girls had a slow start but kept on the tail of Seymour with some strong defence from Alkina Edwards and three pointers from Georgie Eishold.
The girls came together in the last half and picked up the intensity with an effective full court press.
The Pirates fought back hard but could not quite get over the line for a win, drawing 32-all.
Wodonga was the next opponent, and the Pirates got off to a flying start, taking a 10-0 lead in the first 10 minutes with some great shots by Alyx Glanville and Hardess and great defence from Courtney Muller.
The pressure in the Pirates full court press led to some easy intercepts by Shantelle Worsnop and Ringin.
The girls had a great game, winning 53-15.
In the semi-final, Wodonga came out hard but the girls fought hard to get the lead.
Muller rebounded strongly and Slattery made some great cuts to the basket.
Ringin, Eishold and Hardess ran hard with some great fast breaks and lay-ups.
Edwards made some amazing steals to increase the lead and help the team to an easy win.
The Pirates faced Seymour in the grand final.
Eishold and Hardess made some great drives to the basket and Muller was strong under the basket.
Slattery and Ringin shot well from outside to keep the Pirates in the lead.
All the girls played well over the weekend to help the Pirates win the grand final.
Eishold won the MVP for the grand final.
Under 14A boys
The under 14A boys went into the Wodonga tournament full of confidence after a win in Bendigo in January.
Their first opponent, Mildura, had proved to be well-matched with Echuca in past tournaments and the game was another close contest.
Jake Martin was again the major contributor to the scoreboard, keeping the Pirates neck-and-neck with Mildura throughout the match.
Mildura’s number of shooting options hurt Echuca as its defence struggled to limit the two-point scores and Mildura took out the match by a narrow margin.
The second game against a strong Shepparton team again saw Echuca’s defence under pressure.
Nick Phillips contributed with a number of defensive rebounds and assists.
Liam Tenace, who always performs consistently for Echuca, carried a lot of the workload, bringing the ball down the court and setting up offensive plays.
Despite a more structured defence from the Pirates, Shepparton maintained its small lead and came away with the points.
The Pirates struggled to lift in their third match against Wangaratta, showing signs of fatigue.
Jordan Hutton played a great game, converting a number of shots to keep Echuca in touch with Wangaratta, as well as showing tenacity in defence.
Tristan Lindberg also gave the Pirates another scoring option, shooting consistently.
Luke Rosendale’s passes were a highlight of the game, anticipating his team members’ movements.
Echuca pegged Wangaratta’s lead back going into the last minutes of the second half and managed to put pressure on their defence.
A drawn game was a fitting outcome.
Echuca was disappointed with its play on the Saturday and wanted to make amends in their last match of the tournament against Wodonga.
Wodonga proved to be a much improved team and showed class on the court.
Wodonga’s team showed good depth and was able to play consistently good basketball.
Matt Hore stepped the defence up a level for Echuca in the second half, successfully turning the ball over a number of times.
Matt Lias again showed courage in his offensive play, finding the basket despite a tight Wodonga defence.
Despite their determined efforts, the Pirates were not able to peg back Wodonga’s lead.
Under 16A boys
The under 16A boys, coached by Scott Worsnop, took a full team to Wodonga with the return of Brayden Worsnop from injury.
In their first match against Swan Hill, Jacob Bruns, Lach Tenace, Alex McCann, Tyler Phillips and Brayden Worsnop led the way as the starting five with Bruns the first to put a score on the board with a deft three-pointer.
Phillips played strongly under the key in offense and defence and McCann was a strong scorer.
Swan Hill fought back hard but strong defensive pressure by Izaac Johnstone and Lachlan Chumbley saw the Pirates pull away to win by 30 points, 51-21.
The Pirates came up against Seymour in game two.
The Blasters were quick to put up a few baskets but the Pirates fought back quickly.
Bruns showed strong command of the ball and Worsnop was accurate at goals.
Tyler Phillips showed great elevation at the basket to help steer his team to a seven-point win.
Game three saw the Pirates play Mildura.
The Pirates controlled the game from the outset, with Bruns the first to score.
At half-time the Pirates led by 11 points.
Echuca held on to the lead through the second half, with accurate passing, strong defence and great teamwork leading to a 35-27 win.
In the semi-final, the Pirates played Wodonga.
The Pirates were quick to get away and held a handy 16-point lead at half-time.
Rylan Evans, McCann and to steer their team to a 45-24 win.
The team took on Shepparton in the grand final — another undefeated team.
From the outset the game was physical and tough.
Shepparton was first to score and led 8-0 before the Pirates put up a shot.
McCann started the ball rolling with a three-pointer which he followed up with another basket and Bruns added another three points.
Johnson, Tenace and Caleb Smith were strong in defence and Evans and Phillips a great duo in the key.
At half-time the Pirates trailed by seven points.
In the second half the Pirates kept strong pressure on the ball.
Chumbley showed good play under pressure and the Pirates worked well together but the Shepparton Gators were too strong on the day to win by 21 points.
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