The Eltham Wildcats U12.1 & 16.1 Championship Boys have won National Junior Classic titles during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
The National Junior Classic saw 128 male and female teams from all over Australia and New Zealand converge on the State Basketball Centre (Wantirna) and the Dandenong Basketball Stadium to compete in the most prestigious junior basketball tournament in the country.
The 12.1 boys defeated South Adelaide, Ballarat, McKinnon and Bulleen only losing one pool game during the entire tournament. Ironically the game they lost was against the Nunawading Spectres (45-55) who they would face in the Grand Final.
Eltham were playing for much more than the scoreboard explained coach Carly Stones.
“We told them on Grand Final day that we need to play from the heart. Don’t let our heads take over.
“We asked the boys to look at each other in the huddle and know they are going out to win for one another. Everyone was there to support them and that we were already so proud of them. The game plan was to lock down the game defensively, win the rebounds and then run the lanes and find the open team mate in offense. That’s what they did in a disciplined manner way beyond their years!”
Playing for each other the Wildcats emerged triumphant with a commanding 64-47 victory that included three players scoring double figures for Eltham (Findlay Brown 14 points, Ben Wilson 12 points, Luca Spadafora 11 points) while Bodhi Stratford was named MVP.
The 16.1 Boys were nothing short of magnificent going undefeated the whole tournament with big wins over Central Districts, Keilor, Sydney Comets, Maffra and Sturt Sabres. The Grand Final was an epic matchup against rivals the Bulleen Boomers and would see Eltham win by two points (64-62) in a thrilling finish. Zahn Agosta lead all scorers with 18 points (4 three pointers) while Kristian Ferronato won the MVP award.
Coach Chris Cameron applauded the groups professionalism and ability to fight through adversity.
“It’s been a really hard weekend for us, trying to take it one game at a time and I’m immensely proud of them.
“They approached and prepared for the tournament in a professional manner and worked hard to give themselves the opportunity to play for a national title. Every player contributed significantly both on, and off the court, and I am really grateful to be involved with such a great group of young men.”
The 14.1 Girls finished 10th with three impressive wins over Keilor, North Adelaide and West Adelaide. Coach Greg Jeffers was extremely humbled by the groups effort.
“We were great. Every single player contributed over the course of the weekend and it was a pleasure to watch them improve throughout the tournament.”
Nunawading Spectres Tournament
Twenty Five Eltham Wildcat teams competed in the 2019 Nunawading Spectres Tournament during the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend. Five Wildcat teams made Grand Finals with the U12.6 boys and U18.3 girls winning their respective Premierships.
Congratulations to all Wildcat teams who participated in the tournament.
Ballarat Junior Basketball Tournament
Despite being depleted by injury and adding a younger sister to the team (from U16’s) the Wildcats 18.1 Girls still came away with the A Grade Premiership after a thrilling 22-20 Grand Final victory over the Geelong Supercats.