THE Wonthaggi Coasters Under 14 Girls basketball team had a tune-up for the upcoming Australian titles at the National Junior Classic tournament on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend.
The reigning Victorian Country Champions were invited to compete against the best metropolitan teams in the state and selected interstate teams at Dandenong.
This tournament is a prelude to the Australian titles to be held at Gosford in September.
Wonthaggi were looking for a strong performance at Dandenong to gauge where they are in the pecking order and where improvement needs to be made to give a strong showing at Gosford.
The first game against eventual grand finalist, Diamond Valley was an eye opener.
With one player out injured and two others having netball commitments in the morning, Wonthaggi were given a basketball lesson on what is required to play at the top level.
With fouls being called regularly during the game the Coasters were in foul trouble and had its player depth tested.
Final score: Diamond Valley 73 def Wonthaggi 37.
Having learnt what was going to be called in the foul department, Wonthaggi Coasters hit round two with enthusiasm.

Wonthaggi Coaster Lanni Pryor drives down the court during the National Junior Classic tournament on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

Wonthaggi Coaster Lanni Pryor drives down the court during the National Junior Classic tournament on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

Nunawading Two was their next opponent and with netball commitments over the girls had more confidence and were adjusting to the up-tempo pace and a 24-second clock.
They teamed well and produced the basketball that was needed to get results.
Final score: Wonthaggi 52 def Nunawading Two 48
The girls started their third game for the day at 8.30pm against Manly.
After leaving home before 7am it was a long day and late finish and the flatness in the girls’ performance showed through.
Another lesson learned about how tough it is to play consistently well at this level
Final score: Manly 38 def Wonthaggi 28
The first game for Sunday morning was against Hornsby.
Although rested, Wonthaggi could not get its act together and played very ordinary basketball resulting in a close 57-44 loss, in a game that was there for the taking.
The next game was against the Northern Suburbs and the girls had a strong performing winning 61-55.
Monday was the final day and Wonthaggi played a consolation game against Central Districts.
The Coasters played much better and won convincingly 61-54.
With three wins and three losses, Wonthaggi were more than competitive and learnt a great deal about the standard required at the top level.
Attention now turns to more training and the Coasters would like to acknowledge the help from Basketball Victoria Country representative Bill Jeffs for his assistance, knowledge and expertise.
Fundraising for the trip to Gosford is well under way with a Trivia night scheduled for Saturday, August 15 at the Wonthaggi Golf Club at 7pm.
For any details of the night or tickets please contact Jenny McRae by emailing rjjchag5@bigpond.com