Traralgon basketballers state champions

Family: Players received great support from parents and friends.



TRARALGON under 12 boys basketballers came away as state champions recently, taking out the Junior Country Championship Division One Title.

Previously winning 43 games straight throughout the squad season, which commenced back in October with their first tournament through to the Traralgon Tournament in March, these boys continued this success on Day 1 of the championships winning all three games against Surfcoast, Bellarine and Pakenham, entitling them to gain a spot in Division 1.

Day 2 was a little different, with the boys coming up against Bendigo in the morning. Bendigo took an early six-point lead and unfortunately Traralgon could not take the lead from them, finishing the game still six points behind.

The boys regrouped for their next game against Melton to run out convincing winners.

Finals day on Day 3 put the boys up against the strong Southern Peninsula team in the quarter final and despite allowing Southern Peninsula to take an early lead, the Traralgon boys held their nerve and their resilience to stick to the task. The T-Birds unsettled their opponents and kept their prime performers in check during the second half to outscore them 32-17 to secure an 11-point win, allowing them to progress to the semi final against Pakenham.

Having already had a win against Pakenham on Day 1, even though the boys trailed by nine points at one stage in that game, this was never on their mind, and the boys approached the semi final fresh and ready to go from the start, taking the lead early and never giving it up until the end to run out six-point winners, and onto the title game.

Geelong was their opponent in the title game, a team Traralgon had never come across over the squad season.

Geelong took an early lead and lead at half time 23-20.

Traralgon regrouped at halftime and never gave up and took the lead halfway through the second half to run out six-point winners.

Hugo MacPherson led the scoring in the title game with 16 points, and Goy Deng scored 12, but all players contributed throughout the weekend.

The boys were coached by Dwayne Tibballs and Karen Joyce, who worked hard to prepare the Traralgon boys to the title.

Winning the title gives the boys an invitation to the National Junior Classic in June at Dandenong, where they will play against Melbourne Metropolitan associations as well as teams from South Australia and New South Wales.

Traralgon Under 12 boys representatives were Noah Edgar, Lincoln Sutton, Reed Paterson, Hugo MacPherson, Thomas Denyer, Jai Heily, Ryder Hornstra, Goy Deng, Parker Watts and Riley Dawson.

Head coach was Dwayne Tibballs, assistant coach Karen Joyce and team manager Natalie MacPherson.

Traralgon were also represented by a girls team at the weekend and they also achieved success by going down in the title game to Warrnambool by four points.

Winning their three games comfortably on day one against Southern Peninsula, Geelong and Portland to give them a spot in Division One.

Day two saw them come up against Melton, Bellarine and Pakenham, and winning all three games with Melton the only team to give them a tight contest. The three wins allowed them to finish first.

Finishing first after day two, put the girls up against Geelong who they defeated comfortable on day one, and in this Quarter Final they never looked in trouble and came out winners 40-17 and progressing to the Semi Final.

Melton was their opposition in the Semi Final, and after having a tight battle with them on day one, it was once again a tight battle with Traralgon leading at half time 20-19, Traralgon settled more in the second half and ran out winners by seven to advance to the Title Game.

Warrnambool were the girls’ opponents in the Title Game and had previously played them twice during the squad season and it was one win each, so this game also was going to be tough. Warrnambool got a jump on Traralgon with an early 10-2 lead, but Traralgon were never going to give up, and trailed by six at the break. The second half saw the Traralgon girls get some momentum, but unfortunately fell short by four points.

Jess Murphy was head coach of the girls’ team and assisted by Carmen Weaver, both have got the best out of these athletes.

Traralgon Under 12 Girls were represented by Kelsey Reed, Chloe Brady, Emily Sawyer, Sibella Macpherson, Kaley Culbert, Lahna Murphy, Tahnee Judilla, Ruby Coles, Portia Weaver and Jada Weaver. Head Coach Jess Murphy, Assistant Coach Carmen Weaver and Team Manager Karyn Reed.

Traralgon were also represented at the Championships by two referees, Sarah Toms and Vadyn. Culbert who both were awarded Semi Finals.

Represent: Traralgon boy and girl basketballers took to the championship courts.
T-Birds soar: Traralgon Under 12s won the junior country championships in Division 1. Photographs supplied