The Eltham Wildcats had 19 teams compete in the Southern Peninsula Tournament last weekend with our U14.3 Girls and U16.1 Boys winning their respective Grand Finals.
The Tournament provided a great opportunity for teams to get their first hit out after trials and allow bonding opportunities for players, coaching staff and families as they prepare for the 2019/20 VJBL season.
The U14.3 Girls went through undefeated and had an “awesome fun filled weekend.”
Our first game saw us jump to an early lead against Hawthorn 3 but they reversed that and we were staring at a 9 point deficit with about 5 minutes to go and then some Eltham Wildcat wizardry happened …LuLu (Eloise Sanders) stepped up with a magical spell of basketball clawing the deficit back to 1 point with about 10 seconds left on the clock and that was enough to allow our Rolls Royce (Phoenix Pedgeon) the opportunity to hit the winning shot after advancing the ball to win by 1 point with 3 seconds left on the clock! Eltham 28 Hawthorn 27.
The next game was even closer, a draw against Bulleen 3. Again there was a 1 point deficit with seconds to go and LuLu got fouled on her lay-up and managed to convert one of the free throws to draw the match 24 v 24.
The third game saw a big win against Melbourne 3 with Eltham winning 37 to 22.
Heading into our last game against Blackburn 1 (who had previously beaten us in a practice match), we knew we had to beat them by a fair margin to secure top spot in our pool. A 14 point win edged Bulleen 3 out of the top spot by 4.04 percentage points to secure a berth in the Grand Final!
I’m so lucky to have players like The Jet (Olivia Gorman) looking one way and then passing the other way …unbelievable! And then there’s Holli Farrelly (if Phoenix is a Roller she is a Bentley) consistently hitting reverse lay ups and The Wall (Mackenzie Hall) nobody could score over her and The Hammer (Lianna Georgiev) as tough as they come. Derek (Jordyn Campbell) who loves a good solid drive and is the best and loudest supporter of her team mates and Finley Bell (her nickname hasn’t come to me yet) the Queen of the put backs!
Our GF against Diamond Valley 3 started slow but I was never in doubt and knew that we would turn it around and we did. The Jet, the Rolls Royce and The Freak (Isy Bonnefoy) who does things on the basketball that can only best be described as freakishisly good) turned up the heat and momentum shifted our way.
We ended up winning by 4 points. It’s been an absolute privilege so far to have coached this bunch and being part of their development. I’m looking forward to the next 12 months or so.
Lastly an honourable mention must go to Charlotte Paonessa who could not play on the Saturday because she was busy being one of the best junior golfers in the State. She came up on the Sunday to play just the one game and to support her teammates, knowing that with only one game under her belt she would not qualify for finals …the ultimate team player some might say.
The 16.1 Boys also went undefeated with big wins over Bendigo, Southern Peninsula, Cragieburn and Frankston to set up a Grand Final showdown against the highly fancied and also undefeated Warnambool Seahawks. The game was close the whole way with Eltham executing in the final minutes holding onto a 65-60 victory. A well rounded team effort saw the Wildcats have three players scoring double figures (E. Wise 15 points. J. Sapiano 12 points & K. Ferronato 10 points).
Congratulations to all the Wildcat teams that participated in the 2019 Southern Peninsula Tournament.
Check out photos on our Facebook page. Click here.
Tournament stats: http://websites.sportstg.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=1-9048-0-0-0&a=COMPS