Shepparton Junior Gators went close to another under-18 division-one Country Junior Championships title at the weekend, losing in the final to Southern Peninsula.DAMEN FRANCIS February 25, 2014 4:52am
(Back) Chris Judd (coach), Emily Taverna, Phoebe Wilson, Sarah Down, Michelle Judd (team manager), (front) Shelby Britten, Lauren Murray, Mia Beks and Maddie Dowling.
A second straight under-18 division-one title proved a bridge too far for Shepparton Junior Gators at the Basketball Victoria Country Junior Championships.
But coach Chris Judd could not be prouder of his ‘‘super seven’’, who finished runner-up to a powerful Southern Peninsula outfit in Bendigo on Sunday.
‘‘These girls have come from a little bit behind the eight-ball in regard to their skill level, to be the second best team in the state,’’ Judd said.
‘‘They just fight and fight and it’s been a wonderful effort.’’
After a competitive first half of Sunday’s grand final, the Junior Gators were overrun in the second to go down 44-24.
Earlier in the tournament they had beaten Warrnambool (34-19) and fallen one point short against Korumburra (32-33) in pool C, before blitzing division-one opponents Seymour (35-21) and bogey team Mildura 46-34.
With Janie Burn (back) and Lani Madill (knee) out injured, Judd was down to seven players, including ring-in Emily Taverna.
Australian under-17 representative Shelby Britten and Lady Gators Sarah Down and Lauren Murray were part of last year’s state title-winning team and led a group of undersized, but determined, players Mia Beks, Phoebe Wilson and Maddie Dowling.
‘‘Shelby’s an incredible on-court leader and gives advice to those other girls,’’ Judd said. ‘‘I’ve already asked Sarah, Lauren and Mia to work with the senior girls for Big V and the other girls will be top-age next year.’’
Judd’s girls were one of four Junior Gators teams in action.
Leigh Bathman’s under-16 girls’ team made the semi-final in division two.
Opening day defeats to Bellarine (20-34) and Ballarat (35-26) cost them a place in division one, despite a 46-28 win against Warragul.
Sunday began well, with a 29-14 win against Wangaratta in the qualifying final, but their campaign ended with a 28-35 semi-final defeat to Wodonga.
‘‘Our season was hampered by injury, illness and unavailability which severely hampered team chemistry and continuity,’’ Bathman said.
‘‘Considering all of this we did really well to test some of the more fancied teams throughout the season and on the weekend.
The under-16 boys’ team reached the division-one semi-final, where it fell agonisingly short against Ballarat.
Mason Farley scored 15 points and Gabe Evans 14 in the 45-46 defeat.
The boys had wins against Moe (36-29), Wodonga (49-30) and Bendigo (46-43) en route to the semi-final, with its only other defeat arriving against Southern Peninsula (38-44).
The under-18 boys also fell at the semi-final stage of division one, after running into a red-hot Traralgon side.
Led by Australian under-17 representative Jack White (23 points), Traralgon ran out a 72-37 winner and went on to win the title.
The Junior Gators otherwise had a terrific weekend, beating powerful sides Ballarat (41-38) and Geelong (41-37), while falling to Warrnambool 23-37.
Victoria Country representative Michael Reidy led the way with 12 points per game for the tournament.
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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