Wonthaggi’s Under 16 girls worked their way back into the grand final in the third term on the back of great defence but couldn’t quite hold the strong Bendigo Braves side in the stretch.

LAST weekend, the Under 16 Wonthaggi Coasters basketball team went to the Victorian Country Championships at Shepparton, and against all comers from the likes Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon, they went all the way to the grand final in Division One.
In the end, though, they went down to the Bendigo Braves 25 to 40, but they performed strongly in the final match all the same.
At the six minute mark of the third period, after holding the strong Bendigo girls scoreless for four minutes, they closed to within seven points on the back of a free throw by Grace McRae. Some fierce end-to-end play followed with Wonthaggi on the end of some fouls dished out by a desperate Bendigo side.
A timeout halfway through the third quarter was something of a turning point however, and the Bendigo girls came out and put on eight points in-a-row to stretch the lead out to 15 and safety by the end of the third quarter.
The teams put on 12-18 points in a free-flowing last quarter that featured some great team play and shooting by both sides but it was Bendigo which won the Under 16 Victorian Country Championship.
But there was no downside for the Wonthaggi girls, grabbing the silver medal and an amazing showing at this level.
And all that despite the sub-standard facilities in Bass Coast, that no other side in the top division would have to put up with.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem, who back the bid by Shepparton to host the championship finals praised the organisation of the event and thanks Basketball Victoria for boosting the local economy by attracting so many teams, players, officials and family members to the region.