Long weekend triple treat

THREE local teams won their division at the world’s largest junior basketball tournament, held over the long weekend.

The Eltham-Dandenong tournament attracts teams from across Australia, New Zealand and even Europe, with Sale winning two finals and Maffra one.

Sale was represented by 10 teams at the tournament, Maffra five and Heyfield one.

The Maffra Eagles’ under 10s team won its four pool matches, before defeating Frankston 27-23 in the semi-finals then Frankston again, 54-18, in the grand final. Most valuable player Ace Burgiel scored 25 points in the final for Maffra.

Sale won the boys’ under 16 B grade division three title.

The Sonics won all of their five matches to finish on top of their pool.

They defeated Sherbrooke 36-20 in the semi-finals then Sturt 45-31 in the grand final, with Ryan Beale scoring 13 points and Isaac Wheeler awarded MVP.

Coach Mel Johnston said the boys had to beat some tall, quality teams in the pool games.

“Despite being undermanned with an injury on the weekend the boys fought hard to beat Sherbrooke in the crossover semi-final and then to beat Sturt for the second time by 14 points in the grand final,” she said.

In the girls’ under 16 C grade division one, Sale also went through the tournament undefeated.

After winning their five pool matches, the Sonics defeated Warwick from Western Australia 24-14 in the semi-finals and Southern Peninsula 26-17 in the grand final.

Coach Emma-Lee Ross said excellent defence saw the team win its way into the grand final.

“After a tight first half, great team work prevailed and we ran away with a 19-point win,” she said.

Lucy Best was named grand final MVP.

The Sale under 14 girls played in the championship grade against the top 22 teams from across Australia. Coach Bree Alexander said the girls played some quality basketball, recording wins over Stuart (South Australia) and Frankston.

Sale and Maffra contested the girls’ under 16 A reserve. The Sonics won all five of their round robin matches, including a 59-25 victory over the Eagles, but lost their semi-final 43-31 to North Adelaide, which they defeated earlier in the tournament.

In the boys’ under 12 B grade division one, Sale showed huge improvement, defeating Casey 25-15. Coach Jo Crawford-Wynd said the boys were within a point in the final minutes of three other matches but lost them all, which cost them a finals place.

Heyfield and Sale competed strongly in boy’s under 12 C grade division one. The highlight for Heyfield was a 26-20 victory over Pakenham.

After going 3-3 in the round robin stage, Sale missed the finals in boys’ under 14 B grade division two.

The Sonics began with one-point wins over Southern Sabres and Dandenong, and also defeated Armstrong. Continued close games didn’t go their way and losses to McKinnon and Korumburra cost them a spot in the finals.

After going through the round robin stage winning of its five matches, Sale reached the girls’ under 12 A reserve semi-finals, going down to the Melbourne Tigers 40-26. Coach Luc Wilson said the game went goal-for-goal for the first 30 minutes, but Melbourne lifted to win by 12 points.

In the girls’ under 12 B grade division one, Maffra won two matches, lost two and drew another to finish fourth in its pool, but missed the finals.

The Sale under 10 boys had a fun-filled weekend, getting their first tournament win as a team. The boys made it through to the semi-finals but went down to Casey 17-12.

Maffra missed the finals in boys’ under 16 A reserve division one on percentage. The Eagles won three of their six matches.

After losing its first three matches in boys’ under 18 A reserve, Maffra finished with strong wins over the Southern Sabres and Southern Peninsula.

Sale competed strongly in boys’ under 18 B grade division two, but fell short of victory.