TWO Wildcats and a Hornet rose to the top after a rapid-fire basketball finals extravaganza on Monday night at Kyabram Sports and Entertainment Centre.
Basketball Kyabram tested a new finals formula in which the winners of the two semi-finals progressed through to the grand-final showdown on the same evening. The losers played off in a decider for third and fourth.
In grades 1-2 division, the Wildcats reversed their last-round loss to Hornets and were crowned the first champions.
Jacob Cartwright, Liam McInnes and Tyler Kelsey proved teamwork is the important ingredient for success. Where most teams bounce the ball to progress, the Wildcats pass the ball swiftly down court. Not only did they turn the ball over less, but they also found themselves in space to shoot more often.
The Hornets’ Cooper Wilson, Sebastian Grealy and Brody Wells were valiant in defeat.
The top team all season in grades 3-4 division — the Hornets — won the championship over Raptors.
Sam Mongan again was his team’s dominant scorer, but when the Raptors double teamed him, Sam was able to show his development this competition by distributing the ball to his teammates. Declan O’Keefe and Xavier Mongan also showed their improvement by often being in the right spot at the right time to benefit from Sam’s dominance.
The Raptors — who finished fourth and upset Gators in the semi-final to progress — put in a spirited effort. Lachlan Rodriquez showed an all-round game few players his age can emulate. He rebounded strongly, dribbled effectively, passed expertly, shot well and marshalled his teammates in Jack Perella and Jack Kohn.
Jim Hipwell dropped 18 points in the grades 5-7 grand final to lead Wildcats to victory over Raptors.
The diminutive Jim was fearless as he drove the ring against much taller opponents and often won the battle. Teammates Xavier Brennan, Joanna Parr, Charlees Sudholz and Kayla Gordon clamped down in defence and set Jim away with some swift passing.
The Raptors were a shadow of the team which won their semi-final handsomely, but Harrison Wigg, Bryce Broadhurst, Darcy Shepherd, Porcha Emini and Ky McDonald should be proud of their runner-up status.
The two teams in the girls division played out a 32-32 draw. Fittingly there was no loser.
Basketball Kyabram director Michael Maskell said he wished to congratulated all players for their achievements this season. He also thanked the referees and support staff in Ryan Freemantle, Charlotte Freemantle, Joseph Owen-Horn, Lyn Dobbin, Chris Rodriquez and Lachlan Maskell for their excellent effort this season.
Basketball Kyabram is now taking registrations for term three competition.
Go to basketballkyabram.com or phone Michael on 0414815527 for information.