KORUMBURRA Basketball Association’s Under 12 Boys have taken out the A Reserve final in the biggest junior basketball tournament in the world.
The Eltham/Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament is held over the Australia Day weekend every year, with nearly 1400 teams coming from all over the country to compete.
This year Korumburra fielded 12 sides across all age groups, both boys and girls, with seven of the teams making it to the grand final in their respective divisions.
The Under 12 boys won their fourth tournament for the season, undefeated in the A Reserve division – the highest division available for non-Victorian Championship teams. It’s a tremendous effort for a regional association.
The group had to beat top Metropolitan representative and junior league sides, and some of the best teams from South Australia, to take out the title, beating the McKinnon Cougars by nine points in the final.
The Cougars hope to be playing at Championship level next season.
The Under 14.1 Girls also snatched the B2 division title, beating the Melbourne Tigers in a four point thriller.
Other grand finalists were the under 12 girls, the 14.1 boys, the Under 16.2 girls, under 16.1 boys and under 18 boys who played high level, competitive basketball but could not claim the wins.
Under 12 team coach and director of coaching at the Korumburra Basketball Association Bill Jeffs said the weekend’s results were the Wildcats’ best ever at the prestigious tournament.
“We entered the teams at the highest grades possible. We’re not trophy hunting, but extending the kids and we’re very pleased with the results.”
Mr Jeffs, who’s also the Basketball Victoria Country Council chair, said full credit had to go to the association’s coaches.
“Looking with objective eyes, for a small association (under 1500 registrations), to have that many teams in the grand finals is a huge achievement and a testament to the Wildcats coaches who are involved in BVCC state programs.”
As for his under 12s, he said they are a special group.
“They play so well together, they’re smart decision makers and they like to win.
“They are not a very tall side but they’re very quick, play terrific defence and are a delight to coach.”
The Wonthaggi Coasters Under 16 girls side was again successful, winning the B1 grand final against Pakenham 33 to 16.
Gemma Thomas starred for the Coasters with 14 points and Lanni Pryor scored nine.
The Coasters’ Under 14 Boys were also winners, while the Leongatha and Poowong associations also had successful teams.