Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Heartbreak and medals at championships

Shepparton players Michael Reidy, Shelby Britten and Genna Ogier have won medals at the Under-18 Australian Junior Basketball Championships, but also tasted some heartbreak in their bids for glory.

DAMEN FRANCIS April 22, 2014 3:15am

Shepparton’s Shelby Britten (pictured) and Genna Ogier were part of the Victoria Country women’s team that won silver at the Under-18 Australian Junior Basketball Championships, while Michael Reidy and the men’s team won bronze.

Heartbreak was a common theme for the Shepparton contingent at last week’s Under-18 Australian Junior Basketball Championships in Canberra.

Michael Reidy was two planted feet away from being Victoria Country’s hero in the men’s semi-final.

Trailing by a point and with 10 seconds left on the clock, the athletic small forward drove to the basket and made what looked to be a game-winning layup, only to be pulled up for an offensive foul.

‘‘I heard the whistle and I thought it was going to be an ‘and one’ (an additional free throw for being fouled in the act of scoring) and I was pretty pumped, but then I saw the umpire signalling a charge,’’ Reidy said.

‘‘It was a pretty heartbreaking experience.’’

The one point loss to NSW Country was Vic Country’s only defeat of the tournament.

The Big V went on to beat South Australia Metro 91-70 in the third place playoff, while NSW Country lost the gold medal game to Victoria Metro 87-72.

After finishing fourth at last year’s championships in Brisbane, a bronze medal was some consolation for Reidy, who was given an expanded role as a top age player.

Reidy, 17, averaged 5.75 points, 3.75 rebounds and 1.75 assists a game, but was happy with his all-round game.

For the second year in a row, Shelby Britten was denied a gold medal by rival Victoria Metro in the women’s grand final.

Britten and fellow Shepparton baller Genna Ogier were part of the Victoria Country side that went down 70-75 to finish with a silver medal.

A sharp outside shooter, Britten had to put up a contested three-pointer to cut Vic Metro’s lead to one point late in the grand final, but was narrowly off line.

It was only the Vic Country girls’ second loss for the tournament, but Britten admitted their metropolitan counterparts were the better team on the day.

Britten averaged six points, 1.7 boards and 2.8 assists for the week, playing a largely defensive role.

‘‘I enjoyed it more, because I was more of an important player than last year,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m normally more of a offensive player, but I had a bit more of a defensive role than I thought I would and I mostly played on the top opposition guards and that adds another string to my bow.’’

Ogier was mighty impressive, averaging eight points 5.8 rebounds and two assists a game as a bottom age player.

Her tournament included big performances against WA Country (16 points, eight rebounds and three assists), New Zealand in the quarter-final (14 points, seven rebounds and one assist) and SA Metro in the semi-final (12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists).

The availability of Australian Institute of Sport Centre of Excellence member Chantel Horvat allowed Ogier to spend more time in her natural position as a forward and she thrived.

‘‘It’s the first time I’ve played in finals at that level, so that was a good experience,’’ Ogier said.

‘‘I had a couple of bad games, one was the grand final unfortunately, but I thought I contributed to the team, ran the floor and helped us get transition points.’’

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