Brave girls claim title at home champs

February 25, 2021 BY

Drive: Taylah Rennie moves the ball into the offensive zone. Photos: BRENDAN MCCARTHY

TOP-level youth basketball returned last weekend with the Victorian Country Under 18 Championships tipping off at Bendigo Stadium.

Phoebe Radford pushes into the paint during the Bendigo Braves 43-27 semi-final defeat of Moe on Sunday morning.

While the tournament was smaller than unusual as the under 16s had to play in Traralgon for COVID reasons, the Bendigo comp saw joy on and off the court.

“Ultimately it was a success,” said Sammy Cartwright, country competitions coordinator with Basketball Victoria.

“The fact we can have a tournament with a reasonably large group of people in this climate, it’s a success in its own right.

“We were able to determine our division 1 and division 2 champions. Last year we got thorough division 1 and 2 unscathed and then our next event was cancelled.”

Last weekend’s games were the first of four country championships set to be played in Bendigo and Cartwright said the tournaments bring a lot of benefit to the city, with another big comp due soon.

“We do have a much bigger event coming in April, the under 12,” Cartwright said. “Double the teams, three days, and we generally inject about $3 million into the local economy. It’s a great event.

“We do encourage the players and teams to venture out and explore Bendigo.

“How COVID is going to shape that is still a bit up in the air, just with timing, but hopefully we’re in a much better position in April than we are now.”

On court the Bendigo Braves had success with the under 18 girls claiming the Division 2 Championship in a close one over Bellarine, 46-41.

Caitlin Richardson was a standout with 24 points in the grand final match.

“She a star,” Cartwright said. “She been in Division 1 winning sides from under 12s all the way through. As players around her have come and gone she’s been a consistent leader in that team.

Marni Frye looks for passing options.

“The recognition of a Division 2 title is something they should be proud of.”

In the under 18 Division 1 boys the Braves bowed out at the quarter final stage, going down to Traralgon, 49-31.

Meanwhile, down in Traralgon, the under 16 Braves made it to the semi finals but went out to the Warrnambool Seahawks, 52-28, and the under 16 girls dropped their quarter final matchup against Sale, 46-27.

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