Category: National Championships

Victoria dominates in AJC tournaments, SA takes home Men’s Ivor Burge title

IT was a successful weekend for Victoria as three of their four teams came out of the ACT victorious in this year’s Australian Junior Championships for Basketball. The three-teams being Victoria’s under 20 men and women, who both knocked over Queensland’s sides, while Victoria’s Ivor Burge Women’s team toppled NSW in convincing fashion. Lastly it was South Australia that took home the Ivor Burge Men’s title in an overtime classic.

U20 Men

Victoria (92) defeated Queensland (90) 

The Australian Junior Championships finally came to a head on Sunday as Queensland and Victoria squared off in what was a hectic gold medal game. Following a dominant 35-point first quarter, it already looked like the boys in navy-blue were ready to run away with the contest, leading Queensland by a sizeable 12 points. A gradual increase in scoring efficiency from the Reds saw them grind away at what was an 18-point deficit, outscoring team Vic 23-15 in the second, and then 26-20 in the third, resulting in a two-point lead at the final break for Queensland. In what was a back-and-forth final period, that saw the lead change hands nine times, it was not until the final 10 seconds that the game was decided. Former Melbourne Tigers guard in Joshua Giddey, took his chances from the three-point arch over a contesting Didan Tito, in which the ball bounced off the back of the rim straight into the lap of Giddey again, from which his second attempt from the elbow would strike true, putting the Vics up by two and win the coveted national title. Giddey played on another level throughout the entire game, as he amassed a sizeable 27 point, 10 rebound and eight assist stat line on the day. Credit still falls on the efforts of Southern Sabres big-man Kobe Williamson, who notched up a double-double, putting up 24 points and 11 rebounds, as well as a pair of blocks. For Zac Triplett, it was another shooting exhibition, as the Keilor Thunder guard rounded up 19 points, along with five three-pointers under his belt. For Queensland, the scoring load again fell onto the shoulders of Blake Jones, who piled it on with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, whereas Boston Mazlin supported as best as he could with 20 points and five assists. Donovan Crowe produced 16 of his own points in addition. The win for Victoria was their third consecutive year raising the trophy, their 30th in history.

Meanwhile, in the Bronze medal game, the contest once again came down to the wire, as Taran Armstrong’s two made free-throws put Tasmania up by one point with two seconds remaining, which was followed up by a last second Biwali Bayles three-point heave that was off target for NSW, earning Tasmania a third-place finish at the tournament. Top scorers for Tassie were Armstrong who finished with 28 points and seven assists, whereas Reyne Smith compiled 22 points along with four threes from deep. As for NSW, Bayles led the charge the Blues as the Sydney Comets prospect put up a respectable 28 points, six rebounds and nine assists.

U20 Women

Victoria (69) defeated Queensland (56)

Like their male counterparts, Victoria’s U20 Women’s side pushed out ahead early against Queensland, whilst also limiting the Reds’ ability to score, leading 20-10 after 10 minutes of play. The Big V continuously and patiently extended the deficit over the next two quarters, out ahead 56-33 after three quarters of basketball. A late charge by Queensland would ensue, with the women from up north outscoring Victoria 23-13 in the final session, falling 13 points short of the now four-time defending champs, 69-56. The major factor for Victoria was the all-around performance of UCLA-commit Gemma Potter, who produced at an exemplary level, finding her stroke with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. By her side was Stanford-commit Agnes Emma-Nnopu, who secured a double-double on the day, like she had been doing frequently throughout the tournament putting up 10 points and 11 rebounds. Despite managing just 56 points through four quarters, Queensland’s scoring was more widespread across the team, as four of their starting five collected double digits, notably led by Neferatali Notoa who put up 16 points in her side’s loss. Furthermore, Georgia Woolley was very effective on the boards, as she attained 11 points and seven rebounds, while Catherine Macgregor produced 14 points.

Victorian head coach, Hannah Lowe, was extremely grateful to be the one at the helm of such a talented group post-game, “It’s a fantastic group – I feel really privileged to coach a group of girls who are that talented,” Lowe said. “We had a really short preparation, which makes it hard for us to put together an extensive playbook, but I think with that limited preparation, the girls did really well – they executed on the day, under pressure and all-in-all it was an excellent week.”

Following the events of the gold medal game, attention turned to Victoria A’s demolition job of NSW. Outscoring the Blues 27-eight in the first period, Victoria owned the game from there on in. With a 46-point second half, Victoria A would easily come out on top, taking out the contest 58-85. Despite Victoria A scoring 85 total points, only two players in Keeley Evans and Casey Paea reached 15 points, while Kayla Salmons was a monster on the glass finishing with a massive 16 rebounds. For NSW, Isabella Morgan’s 12 and Rebekah Dallinger’s 10 points headlined their team’s statistics.

Ivor Burge Men

South Australia (98) defeated Victoria (90)

South Australia took home this year’s Ivor Burge Championship over a courageous Victoria side in an entertaining finish to an action-packed tournament. With both sides winning two quarters each, regulation would not be enough time to separate these two sides. South Australia went on to score 20 overtime points, and held Victoria’s offence to a mere 12 points, leading them to a historic eight-point victory.  Perhaps Victoria’s biggest downfall were the number of turnovers they allowed being 31, compared to South Australia’s 19. In addition, SA moved the ball spectacularly, accumulating a mammoth 32 assists. Wayne Kinross led the way for SA, with 27 points and four assists, meanwhile Keenan Georg-Dent racked up 22 points and 17 rebounds. Averaging over 38 points per game throughout the competition, it was inevitable Jake De La Motte would put on another scoring display, this time with a ridiculous 47 points next to his name as he was later named tournament MVP and received the Ivor Burge Medal. Whereas Frazer Dawber mustered 11 rebounds in his performance. For head coach Ryan Holloway, it was a journey for his side, one that led to a style of basketball that he was proud of. “They gave it their all throughout the week,” Holloway said. “From game one our goal was to play the most respectful basketball that we could, play fairly throughout the tournament and I think these guys did that excellently.”

Ivor Burge Women

Victoria (76) defeated New South Wales (53)

Victoria’s Ivor Burge Women’s team rounded out a stellar weekend for Victoria as a state, toppling a gallant NSW side on Sunday morning. The game started with both sides shooting at an efficient rate and staying neck-and-neck through the first quarter, with Victoria holding the slight one-point edge at the first break. Victoria’s defence put its best foot forward in the second and third quarters, as they limited NSW’s scoring almost completely, only allowing 11 points from the Blues over the two-quarter span. NSW scored 20 points in the fourth quarter; however, it would be too little, too late as they went down 76-53, with Victoria dominating the end result. With three women collecting double-doubles, Victoria was dominant at both ends of the floor. Kaitlyn Zonneveld (13 points and 11 rebounds), Jessica McCulloch (13 points and 10 rebounds) and Kaitlyn Papworth (10 points and 14 rebounds) all put on impressive displays, while Montana Haag-Witherden contributed 15 points. For NSW, 22 points and five rebounds was the end product for Brittany Anderson, as Eliza Mills was good for 13 points, five assists and five rebounds..

Head coach Simon Robinson was excited to see the group rise to the occasion and bring the gold medal back to Victoria. “We’re very happy to obvious avenge last year where we felt that we didn’t play as well as we possibly could,” Robinson said. “New South Wales is a very strong team and they always test us – they tested us on Friday morning in the rounds and that was quite a close one, so it was good to control things early, get to an early lead and then consolidate and build on it. “It’s delightful to coach this group; last year they were very disappointed obviously, so to win this one it’s quite a good feeling.”

Victoria to host the National Junior Classic

VICTORIA will will play host to the nation’s elite junior invitational tournament, with the best teams from around the country set to play off in the National Junior Classic across the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Victorian teams make up a large number of the 128 overall sides to have qualified for the invitation-only event, with a cap of 16 teams competing in age groups ranging from Under 12 to Under 18 in girls and boys divisions.

Dandenong and Nunawading will each have seven teams competing in the Classic, with Bulleen the next most represented with six, while Kilsyth and Melbourne have five, and Hawthorn and Keilor will send four each on the back of impressive qualifying campaigns. Three sides from Bendigo and Geelong, as well as one each from Ballarat, Pakenham, Sale, and Southern Peninsula also earned their place through Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) qualification, with three sides from the Basketball Victoria Country (BVC) Junior Championships – from Ballarat, Warrnambool, and Maffra – also making the cut.

VJBL General Manager John Hilton said it is “a great thrill” to have the best teams from around the state ready to compete in the Classic, noting the interstate sides would be just as keen.

“For the MUVJBL and Country teams across Victoria, the Classic is the perfect opportunity to highlight their abilities in one of Australia’s most elite junior tournaments,” he said.

“The interstate sides are just as keen to attend the Classic – as they are set to take on Australia’s best in their age group.

“The MUVJBL would like to wish all 128 competing teams the best of luck heading to the Classic.”

Teams from South Australia (29) New South Wales (17), the ACT (seven), and New Zealand (two) will also compete, with the journey to crown Australia’s best junior teams set to commence on Saturday, June 8.

Full fixtures can be found here, and entry is free for all spectators.

A full list of teams can be found below:

UNDER 12 BOYS
Ballarat
Bulleen
Canberra
Casey
Dandenong
Eltham
Kilsyth
McKinnon
Norths Bears
Norwood
Nunawading
Sandringham
South Adelaide
Southern Tigers
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets

UNDER 12 GIRLS
Bulleen
Canberra
Casey
Forestville
Frankston
Hawthorn
Kilsyth
Manly
Melbourne
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Norwood
Nunawading
Sandringham
Sydney Comets
Warrnambool

UNDER 14 BOYS
Canberra
Casey
Central Districts
Dandenong
Geelong
Hawthorn
Hills Hornets
Kilsyth
McKinnon
Melbourne
New Zealand
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Norwood
Nunawading
Penrith

UNDER 14 GIRLS
Canberra
Dandenong
Eltham
Forestville
Frankston
Hawthorn
Keilor
Kilsyth
Melbourne
New Zealand
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Nunawading
Sale
Sturt Sabres
West Adelaide

UNDER 16 BOYS
Bendigo
Bulleen
Canberra
Central Districts
Dandenong
Eltham
Geelong
Hills Hornets
Keilor
Knox
Maffra
North Adelaide
Norwood
Pakenham
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets

UNDER 16 GIRLS
Ballarat
Bulleen
Canberra
Dandenong
Diamond Valley
Eastern Mavericks
Forestville
Keilor
Manly
Melbourne
Norths Bears
Nunawading
Sandringham
Southern Tigers
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets

UNDER 18 BOYS
Bendigo
Bulleen
Canberra
Dandenong
Diamond Valley
Forestville
Hills Hornets
Keilor
Kilsyth
Melbourne
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Nunawading
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets
Werribee

UNDER 18 GIRLS
Altona
Bendigo
Bulleen
Dandenong
Diamond Valley
Forestville
Geelong
Hawthorn
Knox
Manly
Norths Bears
Nunawading
South Adelaide
Southern Peninsula
Sturt Sabres
West Adelaide

Victoria Metropolitan Under 18s claim both titles at the AusChamps

VICTORIA Metropolitan doubled up for wins in both the Men’s and Women’s National Championship competitions, snatching victory in a pair of remarkable comebacks to claim both trophies at the tournament.

The Metro men’s side overcame a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to topple South Australia 74-64 and regain the National trophy. Up against the swift outside attack of South Australia Metro, the Victorians were bombarded by threes in an unrelenting quarter-and-a-half display. A 32-8 run after that completely switched the momentum, with the South Australian side pushing to the very end after relinquishing the lead.

Josh Giddey proved the star for Vic Metro with 31 points, nine rebounds and five steals in an big-time performance on both sides of the paint, with the likes of Zac Taylor (10 points) and Paul Tsapatolis (nine) instrumental in keeping the margin manageable early on. Marcus Windhager (nine points, three assists) provided some grunt off the bench alongside Riley Simmons to thwart SA’s ball movement and scoring.

Crediting a shift to the 2-1-2 press, Vic Metro Coach Darren Perry said a call to “(back) each other” spurred his side to their incredible second half.

“We just talked about at half time that we weren’t playing hard enough, we weren’t backing each other and didn’t play our defence,” Perry said. “We just asked for effort and whatever happened was going to happen. “We found some success in the 2-1-2 and we just stuck with it – we had some great individual plays and some great defence and you don’t expect to run over teams in the second half like that… but it was a great win.”

In another come from behind effort, Vic Metro’s women’s team triumphed 72-51 in a hard slog against Queensland South to complete the Victorian double. Trailing by 13 points in the first quarter, the Big V built a revival on a typically even team effort. Leaders Gemma Potter (14 points, nine rebounds) and Leia Hanafin (nine points, six assists, five rebounds) were crucial to the early fightback, while Casey Valenti-Paea (13 points), Charlise Dunn (12) and Emily Sewell (10) ensured that the Victorians had plenty of scoring versatility – as had been their strength all tournament.

Vic Metro Coach Reece Potter lauded his side’s “big plays” in the second half after some defensive adjustments, while also acknowledging the depth required to win such tournaments.

“They had a really big time second half – I thought Leia Hanafin was unbelievable, with deflections, blocked shots and made some really big plays. Gemma Potter made some big plays as well and I think everyone followed,” Potter said. “That’s what we kept preaching to the girls – we run deeper than them. “They’ve had some players play 40 minutes but we’ve barely had any who played over 30, so we’ve really rotated well. We go 10-deep and that’s the great strength of Vic Metro.”

In other results, Victoria Country Women finished third after taking out a 68-67 overtime win over New South Wales Metro, rebounding well from their disappointing semi-final defeat. Meanwhile, Victoria Country Men lost its final tournament game against Queensland South 82-84, with the result seeing it finish sixth overall.

Victoria’s Under-20 Women win ninth straight national championships

VICTORIA’S Under-20 Women continued their decade of dominance at the national championships over the past week, taking home the title with a 13-point win over New South Wales (NSW) in the gold medal match. It was their ninth straight title, since South Australia last won in 2010.

Leading by six points at the first break, the Victorian women got better as the game went on, winning the second term by 12 and the third by seven to hold a 25-point lead at the final break. While NSW produced a gallant final term to win theh quarter 23-11, Victoria had done more than enough to add extra silverware to its already bulging trophy cabinet.

Victoria’s country quartet flourished on the big stage with Chelsea D’Angelo (17 points, nine rebounds and five assists), Agnes Emma-Nnopu (14 points), Georgia Amoore (12 points) and Jaz Shelley (10 points and seven assists) leading from the front. The four women sunk 10 attempts from the perimeter in a terrific display of outside shooting in the win.

The Vic’s defensive efforts were equally important in victory, with Eliza Hollingsworth (10 points and five rebounds), Madi Puli (six points and four rebounds) and Isobel Anstey (six points and six rebounds) all providing a brick wall making it tough for the opposition.

For NSW, Isabel Palmer was the standout performer, finishing the decider with 20 points, nine assists and two rebounds, while Matilda Flood (11 points, four rebounds and five assists) and Josephine Pinkerton (10 points and six rebounds) were also important in defeat.

Victorian Under-20 Women’s head coach, Dee Butler said despite another win, there were plenty of challenges to overcome throughout the tournament.

“Certainly with the players we had on our roster, the biggest challenge we had was for everyone to play well together,” she said. “Having a limited preparation was always going to be difficult too, but I’m sure all the other teams were in the same boat. “We had a great week, we certainly knew New South Wales were going to be a lot tougher – they progressed and improved a lot and I think they were the most improved team at the tournament and it was a good challenge for us. “I don’t know if they (Victorian Under-20 women) understand just how special this is cause they’ll never play together ever again with the same personnel – they were great off the court, they got along really well and were very professional and worked together so it was a breeze for us coaching staff.”

In the Ivor Burge Women’s gold medal match, NSW claimed one back against Victoria, 65-55. Leading by four at the first break, NSW had to fight hard when Victoria cut the deficit to three by the main break. A powerful third term put the game to bed with a 19-9 term in favour of the eventual winners, with Victoria’s 16-13 final quarter not enough to reverse the 10-point final margin.

Zora Hines-Coffey sunk 26 points, had 12 rebounds and three assists in the win, while Britt Anderson was the other dominant scorer for NSW, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds. NSW was a strong rebounding team, racking up 49 for the match, 44 of which were from the starting five.

Pic: Basketball Victoria

For Victoria, Kaitlin Zonneveld recorded a team-high 17 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, while Jess McCulloch produced an all-round performance with nine points, nine rebounds, four assists and five steals showing some terrific defensive play. Jasmine Dellas (nine points and four rebounds) and Kaitlyn Papworth (eight points and six rebounds) also contributed in the gold medal match.

Victoria goes back-to-back at Under-20 Men’s national championships

VICTORIA’S Under-20 Men were crowned national champions on Sunday for the second consecutive year after triumphing in their gold medal clash over Western Australia. Victoria’s Ivor Burge Men and Ivor Burge Women also medalled at the tournament, picking up silver in their competitions.

An elite defensive effort set up Victoria’s 76-69 triumph over Western Australia in the gold medal clashh on Sunday afternoon. An emphasis was put on shutting down the West Australian’s impressive roster, including national junior team members Swaka Lo Buluk and Luke Travers, which Victoria did, but not without a struggle. Tyler Robertson (14 points) and Keli Leaupepe (15 and nine rebounds) both stood up in clutch moments to both hit the scoreboard and shut down the dangerous West Australian pair.

With 26 points off the bench, including a second term spree from Kobe Williamson (10 points), Victoria had built a handy lead by half-time. Piece-by-piece the defensive strength of the reigning champions allowed opportunities for shooters to add scoreboard pressure up the other end. Robertson’s four treys set the tone early, while the inside-outside games of Leaupepe and Josh Bannan (12 points and 11 rebounds) made life difficult for their opposition. Western Australia threatened to steal the points at times with Kyle Bowen (22 points, 17 rebounds and six assists) simply dominating, but the overall consistency and strength of the Victorian side saw the team bring home the Jack Terrill Trophy.

Victoria Under-20 Men’s head coach, Chris Anstey said after identifying some areas of improvement earlier in the tournament, the team had come together and put out its best performance in the decider.

“It was nice to continually get better over the course of the week,” he said. “There were a few flaws in what we were doing early and I thought that was our best game defensively and we were really sound. “I think Western Australia had an incredible tournament and we certainly knew how tough they were going to be. “But when it came down to it, our boys were used to playing on the bigger stage and we executed well, got over a few nerves early and the best game for the tournament was the one that mattered.”

Victoria had a number of players who have now graduated from the junior pathways, with Leaupepe, Robertson, Sean Macdonald, Deng Dut, Josh Kunen, Oliver Hayes-Brown and Sam Taulapiu all multiple national championship winning players following their time as elite Victorian juniors.

Pic: Basketball Victoria

In the other men’s grades, South Australia defeated Victoria 85-76 with the winners’ fast start the key to victory. South Australia lead 22-9 at the first change before Victoria hitback. Victorian shooter, Jake De La Motte sunk 30 points, while James Debetta had a massive 18 rebounds to go with his eight points, but South Australia ultimately proved too strong. Jordan Palmer was massive off the boards and up the offensive end with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Keenan Georg-Dent was everywhere with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the winners. Zachary Georg-Dent scored 20 points, six rebounds and had six assists in a consistent effort across the match.

Meanwhile, Victoria A finished sixth overall in the same division, and the Under-20 A Men finished seventh, with a win over the NBA Global Academy on the final day, 82-75.