Under 16 & 18 Country Championship Wrap-up

It was a big weekend in Bendigo as our Under 16 and 18 Boys and Girls converged on Bendigo Stadium to compete in the 2022 Junior Country Championships. With two full days of games, our teams fought hard and displayed great resilience which returned some fantastic results. Check out how each of our teams went below!

Under 16 Girls

Day 1 for our under 16 girls produced 2 tight games that would set the tone for the tournament. Coming up against eventual champions in Korumburra first up was no easy task. Eventually going down 31-39, Indiana Schwarz top-scored with 10 in the game. Game 2 saw a win 34-29 against Warragul which kept the door open for a Division 1 finals berth. The final game of day 1 saw the girls dominate Mildura 52-27. Once again Indiana Schwarz (Surfcoasters) dominated with 27 points of her own.

However, it was not to be on day 2 as the girls came up against a well-drilled Traralgon team with the final score of 36-30 falling in favour of the T-Birds. While it wasn’t the result the team was after we are incredibly proud of their efforts and look forward to seeing what the team can accomplish throughout the season.

Under 16 Boys

The under 16 boys came in hot after a tough Friday night loss and were ready for some revenge. Day 1 saw a record of 1-2 with all three games being decided by 5 points or less. The final game of day 1 against Warrnambool was decided in overtime and saw a heartbreaking result which sent out boys into the Division 2 final structure. Game 1 saw a 46-43 win against Maffra. Riley Lane (Pivot City) starred leading the team with 15 points. Game 2 was a 1 point thriller against Wangaratta 30-29, with the full team effort offensively and defensively. Another nail-bitter ensued in the Grand-Final against Humevale which saw our boys take the win 46-43.

We are super proud of the team and their resilience in what was an incredibly tough tournament. With every game decided by 5 points or less, we are sure the players, coaches, and parents were on the edge of their seats all weekend. Congratulations to all!

Under 18 Girls

Our Under 18 girls came out firing in Game 1 against the Bendigo Braves. In a tightly contested game, unfortunately, when the final buzzer sounded our girls fell by 5 points, 35-30. Game 2 saw the team struggle going down to Portland 19-40. The final game of the day culminated in a 40-30 win against southern Peninsula sending our girls through to a quarter-final on Sunday morning against Echuca. A 48-30 win started off final Sunday in a great way which led to another 10 point win in the Semi against Horsham.

The Grand-Final was locked in, and the girls were set to face the Traralgon T-Birds. A tightly contested game ultimately led to the T-Birds pulling away claiming the championship 38-29. While the girls didn’t come away winners, we are super proud of their achievement and look forward to seeing them compete throughout the VJBL season.

Under 18 Boys

Our final team to ascend on Bendigo for the Country Champs was our Under 18 Boys. The team opened up day 1 with a 19 point win against Bellarine Storm, with every player taking the court and scoring it was a great start to the weekend. Game 2 saw more of a challenge, however, the boys were able to come away 9 points winners, beating Mildura 48-39. The final game of pool play for the boys saw a 67-95 victory against the Wonthaggi Coasters. Once again all players scored, with Bailey Bruce (YMCA) pouring in 28 points including 6 threes.

Sunday’s quarter-final started off with a 2 point thriller against the Shepparton Gators. Boston Dowling for the Gators tried his hardest with 24 points, however, the team effort of the GU boys saw them irk out a 55-53 win.

Game 2 was again an incredibly close match-up with a spot in the Grand-Final on the line. Max Zalakos (Pivot City) poured in 16 points to lead the game in scoring as well as the team into the Grand-Final, breaking the hearts of Ballarat 47-44.

A date with destiny and the home side Bendigo was set as the Under 18 Championship game got underway. Heading into half-time the boys had taken a slight lead 27-22. However, the second half was all GU as the boys finished up the game 19 point winners, 55-36. We would like to congratulate the team, coaching staff, and parents on a great weekend and achievement of taking home the hardware!

Referees

While it was a big weekend on the court for the players, we also had a number of referees take the court in Bendigo this weekend, with many also gaining the opportunity to referee the finals during Sunday’s play. We would like to congratulate the following referees for taking on the challenge this weekend.

Ashton Gould 
Blake Lavelle 
Caitlin Newcombe 
Joel Lay18 Boys 1 Final
Joey Henderson 
Kynan Parker 
Liam Harrison 
Mark Ough 
Meg Hastie16 Boys 1 Final
Mitch Lay18 Boys 1 Final
Preston Pedron 
Shaun Ryan 
Shania Watson 18 Girls Final
Rodney Bush  Referee Coach
Wayne Watson  Referee Coach