WHAT a fantastic way to finish the VJBL season with our Wildcats 12 Boys taking out the Division 2 VJBL Premiership and our 14 Girls Division 2 runners-up.
The Wildcats had huge support at Dandenong Stadium, surrounding nearly three quarters of the court, as both teams gave their all in what was the first-ever Grand Final experience at this level for all players.
The 14.1 Girls were first to take the court and could have been excused for feeling nervous with all eyes on them.
They finished the regular season on top of the ladder and were matched up against the team who finished second, the Melbourne Tigers, meeting for the 4th time this season, having played out two wins and a draw in the previous games.
Having only dropped two games all year the Wildcats went into the Grand Final as slight favourites over the Tigers who had only lost the three games throughout the season.
With the support of the 12 Boys team and their families, along with an army of orange and black who had made the trip to Dandenong, the girls settled in well to take a two-point lead at quarter time.
The second term was just as even but scoring became easier for both teams after shaking off those nerves. Melbourne outscored the Wildcats by 2 to have things tied up 16 all at half time.
The third was more of the same with terrific defence from both sides and many missed shots. A 5-4 third quarter saw the Wildcat girls lead by the narrowest of margins at the final break.
Unfortunately Melbourne found that extra gear in the last and our girls couldn’t keep the Tigers’ shooters under control.
The girls never gave up and were beaten by a better team on the night. A terrific season from all involved and a great achievement to compete in a VJBL Div 2 Grand Final.
The 12.1 Boys didn’t have time to continue their support for the 14 Girls as they had to prepare to play the next game on the adjoining court.
It was one win apiece between the young Wildcats and Frankston, having met twice during the home and away series with the Wildcats winning the first encounter at home by 7 but going down the second time around at Frankston by 10.
So, on the neutral Dandenong court, it was sure to be a close one. Although Frankston finished 5th to make finals and our boys second, the competition as a whole was so incredibly even.
The first quarter couldn’t have started better with the Wildcats jumping out to an 8-2 lead early.
Frankston started to settle in the second and it was basket for basket through most of the quarter but the Wildcats’ defence was shining and they took a 9 point lead into half time.
Frankston awoke in the third, throwing everything at the young Wildcats and dominating the third quarter managing to tie things up at 21 all at the last change.
Coach Ian was composed and this rubbed off on the boys who slowly built their lead back to be well in control with about two minutes remaining to eventually take the Premiership 30 to 24.
A very mature effort for such a young group who have developed dramatically since their first training back in October 2018. Congratulations to all involved – a result thoroughly deserved.