MAFFRA had success at the world’s largest junior basketball tournament at the weekend, while two Sale teams played off in the gold medal matches.
The Eltham-Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament features 1300 teams from across Australia and New Zealand.
The Sonics under 14 girls’ had the privilege of playing A grade, which was limited to 24 teams of Victorian championship standard or equivalent, and attracted the top ranked teams from across Australia.
The Sonics made it through their five pool games undefeated against teams from Melbourne, South Australia and Queensland. Sale then defeated Perth 49-38 and Hawthorn 45-31 to qualify for the gold medal game.
The intense semi-final against Hawthorn took its toll when the girls lined up two hours later against the Melbourne Tigers. Sale lost the final 46-23.
Showing the strength of Sale, four local girls were ranked in the top 20 of all league scorers: Ashley Centra, Sophia Wilson, Sienna Wynd and Jemma Birss.
The Sale under 12 girls also had an impressive tournament making it through to the grand final in A reserve, the highest grade most country teams play. The girls won a thrilling semi-final against Kilsyth 27-24, coming from behind with a goal each from Mia Ballinger, then Tarla Stewart in the final minute to win.
The girls lost their final to Mornington 27-17. Emma Callahan and Krystal Craft were both in the top four scorers for their division.
Maffra won the under 10 boys’ B grade title.The Eagles convincingly won all six of the pool matches before defeating Coburg 19-12 in the semi-finals. The Eagles defeated Eltham 42-21 in the final.
Isaac Brown was outstanding for the Eagles, leading the competition with 73 points, while teammates Ace Burgiel and Cooper Hole scored 49 and 29 respectively.
Maffra’s under 14 boys’ team played in A grade, winning two of its five pool matches, while the Eagles also put in a strong effort in under 12 boys’ A grade.
While it won three of its five matches to finish third in its group, Maffra’s under 16 boys’ team missed out on a spot in the A grade finals.
The Eagles defeated Eltham 54-36 before losing to Hawthorn 53-49 and Norwood 66-44. The next day, the Eagles defeated Nunawading 44-37, then finished with a 41-34 loss to Kilsyth.
Sale’s under 16 boys played competitive basketball all weekend. After winning their first game, the Sonics struggled against Chelsea however regrouped and played hard and competed well in their remaining three games.
The Sale under 14 boys challenged themselves playing A reserve and learned a lot from the high standard of opposition.
The highlight was a five-point win over Knox at the State Basketball Centre. Noah Johnston ranked third
in the division for scoring with a game average of 13 points.
Maffra’s under 12 girls reached the final in B1 grade, losing to Sandringham 19-18. Isabel Goldsmith was the second highest scorer in the grade, posting 64 points, just one behind the leader.
The second Sonics under 12 girls’ team reached its final, going down to Sturt by just one goal, 12-10.
The girls finished third on the ladder in B2 grade after wins over Chelsea 22-9, Casey 13-9 and Knox 12-10.
The next Gippsland tournament will be at Warragul on February 9 and 10, with the Sale tournament to be played on the new surface at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex February 23 and 24.