Turnbull Toyota and Morelli’s Furniture and Bed went head to head on Wednesday night in the Little Apples Basketball League Season 6 grand final.

In 2019, Cameron Churchill and Ross Bennell recognised the limited opportunity for the Sale and surrounding community to play competitive basketball that would cater to those with all different abilities.

So, the two men in their 20s created their own league, the Little Apples Basketball League.

Little Apples Basketball League creators Cameron Churchill and Ross Bennell. Photo: Zoe Askew

“We wanted to create a competitive league that was able to help grow the game of basketball within our area and support the community and local charities,” Mr Churchill explained.

“We have created a draft system for teams which means, no matter what skill or level of experience people are at; all the other squads would be at that same level.

“We have Country League Basketball representatives in our league that are on the same teams as guys who have never played before,” Cameron added.

Morelli’s Mike O’Brien during Wednesday night’s grand final. Photo: Zoe Askew

For the league to cover the costs of uniforms, Mr Churchill and Mr Bennell sought out local businesses to sponsor individual teams.

“Bringing in local businesses to sponsor individual teams enabled the league to wear the cost of uniforms, rather than that falling to the players,” Mr Churchill said.

“This not only drastically reduced the cost for someone to play a game of basketball but also aimed to support the local businesses that have always supported our community by having their name in bright lights all over our league,” Mr Bennell added.

Turnbull Toyota’s Paddy Mack makes a jump for the hoop in LABBL Season 6 Grand Final. Photo: Zoe Askew.

In the line-up for Turnbull Toyota, Mitch Brewis took to the court as Captain, with players Corey Swanton, Dylan O’Shanassy, Jordan Moscript, Justin Hunt, Mark Lobley and Paddy Mack.

On the Morelli’s Furniture and Bed squad, fighting to win their first-ever grand final was Sam Morelli as captain, Jake Dyt, Jarrod Freeman, Jayden Flint, Lachlan Todd, Michael O’Brien and Sam Krusic.

Sitting on top of the ladder, Turnbull Toyota headed into the grand final as the favourite over Morelli’s Furniture and Bed.

Turnbull Toyota was crowned inaugural premiers after winning the league’s first-ever grand final in Season 1, 2019; however, failed to make another decider until Wednesday night.

Jordan Moscript dribbles down the court for Turnbull Toyota. Photo: Zoe Askew

In Season 4, Morelli’s Furniture and Bed made the grand final, but a disappointing 35-34 loss to Created by Bels robbed them of a premier title.

Turnbull Toyota’s guards, Paddy Mack and Dylan O’Shanassy, had been unstoppable in the lead up to the Season 6 grand final.

So it came as no surprise that Morelli’s conjured a game strategy focused on keeping Mack and O’Shanassy out of the game as much as possible.

Turnbull Toyota’s Paddy Mack in action during Wednesday night’s grand final. Photo: Zoe Askew

Unfortunately, the Morelli’s team took the court with a man down, following several players falling sick just days before the Grand Final; nonetheless, the boys put in a solid effort.

Turnbull Toyota took the Season 6 grand final title beating Morelli’s 49-26.

The best players were Morelli’s Jayden Flint with 18 points, nine rebounds and one assist, and Turnbull Toyota’s Paddy Mack with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Turnbull Toyota’s Corey Swanton goes to shoot as Morelli’s Sam Morelli defends. Photo: Zoe Askew

For his outstanding skills and effort, Turnbull Toyota’s Corey Swanton, with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three assists, was awarded the Grand Final MVP.

At half-time of the grand final, one representative from each team took the court to compete in the ‘Randy Sanchez Sauce Co. three-point comp’. Morelli’s Mike O’Brien was the winner sinking seven from 15.

Morelli’s Mike O’Brien, Season Six Randy Sanchez Sauce Co. three-point comp winner, with Randy Sanchez founder Adam Jackson. Photo: Zoe Askew

Mr Churchill and Mr Bennell are passionate and dedicated to the Sale and surrounding community and are working hard to support local charities.

“Each month, our players nominate a charity they want to see benefit from this program, and with our ‘Chucking for Charity’ program, a dollar is donated for every three-pointer that gets hit,” Mr Churchill said.

LABBL founder Cameron Churchill. Photo: Zoe Askew.Supporting men’s mental health is a fundamental cause for the Little Apples Basketball League boys.

“With mental health being such an issue with young men, especially in our area, we revel in the fact that we can get 50-60 blokes together, on a weekly basis, who can have a run-around, meet new people and socialise,” Mr Churchill added.

Turnbull Toyota’s Justin Hunt during the LABL grand final. Photos: Zoe Askew

Despite Little Apples Basketball being in its infancy, LABL is quickly gaining traction and is now a seven-team league. Starting with only four teams, the LABL has added three entire teams to the league in just a short three years.

Mr Churchill and Mr Bennell say that “a lot of new people have found their way” to the Little Apples Basketball League and that it “has really helped them integrate into this great town and make some friends in an unfamiliar environment”.

Morelli’s Tommy Freeman assesses his options. Photo: Zoe Askew

The league will be hosting its seasonal awards night before Season 7 commences in July.

The Little Apples Basketball League extends an invitation to all new potential players to join the competition in Season 7.

Mr Churchill and Mr Bennell say, “all new players are encouraged to contact the league via Facebook, regardless of playing experience.”

LABBL founder Ross Bennell. Photo Zoe Askew.

Mr Churchill and Mr Bennell have been hard at work, creating a competitive and inclusive basketball community for Sale and the surrounding community, supporting local businesses, charities and causes.

Suppose the Little Apples Basketball League sounds like the sporting community for you.

In that case, their Facebook page provides further information about the league and upcoming seasons and is the best way to contact league organisers.