Ballan Brumbies Basketball

March 30, 2024 BY

U19 Girls (L-R): Stella McLeod, Pete O'Brien (Coach), Millie Czyzewski, Mia Callander, Amy O'Brien, Chloe Siemensma, Carly McCausland, Ava Connally, Sarah Burton. Photo: SUPPLIED

It was a successful Grand Final week for Ballan Brumbies, with three of their five representatives coming home with a championship.

The Under 12 G Boys took on Wildcats in what seemed an inevitability all season, the two teams clearly the class of the division. Wildcats jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead before Ballan clawed their way back into the contest through Jay Fenwick and James Parr on offense, Matt Tingate and Jaxon Mulgrew on defence.

Back in the game at 10 apiece, Ballan let their guard down late in the first half as another quick six-point burst in the final 90 seconds saw Wildcats lead 16-10 at the break.

The Brumbies came out breathing fire in the second half, though. Fenwick was brilliant as usual whilst Hallam Reid’s defence and Hugh Blair’s shooting came to the fore. Ranav Mani started to control the glass and Elliot Fest began to find gaps in a defence that was too focused on the Fenwick/Parr duo.

The star, though, was Parr. He simply tore the game apart in the second half, scoring 12 of his 14 points after the break.

His powerful drives and composure around the basket were too much for an overwhelmed Wildcats defence to deal with. When he was not slashing to the hoop, he was picking up offensive rebounds or moving off the ball to great effect, passes from Harry Breguet and Oscar Phillips leading to buckets.

A dominant 26-8 half of basketball saw Brumbies get away to a great Grand Final day start, going on to win 36-24.

U12 Boys (L-R): (Back) Max Farrell (Coach), Ranav Mani, James Parr, Jay Fenwick, Hugh Blair, Hallam Reid, Elliot Fest, (Front), Harry Bergeut, Oscar Phillips, Matt Tingate, Jaxon Mulgrew.


The Under 14 E Boys made the grand final by taking down an undefeated Excies Acmy team in the semis. In this one, they would face the other Excies side, whose only losses came to their club mates.

Again, a huge underdog, the Brumbies had one very obvious advantage: size. It would prove crucial.

Excies’ phalanx of tricky little guard had to navigate the tough perimeter defence of Phil Karimi and Lachlan Grech, only to run into trees like Rylan Cassar, Leo Reid and Derrick Cox.

Mason McDonald aside, no Excies player could find an answer to Ballan’s defence, and it was that pressure that allowed speedsters like Max Higgins and Will Taylor to get out and run, creating easy opportunities at the other end.

When Excies were able to slow Ballan down, diminutive point guard Banjo Rootsey-Luke was able to slice his way to the basket, scoring on an array of floaters and pull-ups.

Holding a slight 10-7 lead at the half, Ballan’s physical dominance showed in the second stanza as Excies simply could not go with the athletic Brumbies. Higgins, Cassar and Cox especially owned the final period as the Brumbies continued to ease their lead out.

Holding a late 26-11 lead, the boys started to get into party mode allowing Excies to score the final two baskets, which added some respectability to the 26-15 scoreboard, the Cinderella story complete as the boys came from fourth position to steal the crown.

U14 Boys (L-R): (Back) Derrick Cox, Rylan Cassar, Philip Karimi, Finn Solterbeck (Coach) Max Stephens, Leo Reid, (front) Lachie Grech, Banjo Rootsey-Luke, Will Taylor. Photo: SUPPLIED

On Monday evening, the Under 19 B Girls met Wildcats in what turned out to be a splendid game of basketball. This was always going to be a ‘styles make fights’ match up as the bigger and more athletic Brumbies side looked to own the paint, whilst the skilful Wildcats sought to move the ball and use their shooting to stretch the floor.

The first half was tighter than an otter’s pocket with neither team leading by more than three points. Fittingly, the game was tied at 13 come half time.

For Ballan, sharp shooting Stella McLeod was getting to the line and dropping her free throws whilst Sarah Burton was the best player on the floor, getting to wherever she wanted and hitting a series of short jumpers and leaners.

Their play was important as Wildcats defence was clearly focused on taking away the space around Ballan’s towering centre Amy O’Brien, forcing others to make the running.

To that end, Mia Callander used the extra space inside efficiently, collecting offensive rebounds as her player generally double-teamed O’Brien.

The game remained tight in the second half as neither team could get that all-important break. Ballan, though, had the better of the play as the perimeter defence of Burton, Ava Connally and Chloe Siemensma stopped Wildcats drive-and-kick game in its tracks.

Connally was using her trademark speed to get into the open floor as O’Brien started to dominate the defensive glass, though her finishing was not to her usual standards.

With a few minutes remaining and the match still tight, things finally clicked for Ballan. McLeod drew another foul and hit both free throws.

Millie Czyzewski drove hard to the basket, Callander collecting the rebound and drawing a foul, Connally finally made a layup. As Wildcats pushed their defence up, Carly McCausland took advantage of the space to slice to the basket.

A gorgeous Connally lob pass to O’Brien saw Ballan lead 29-21 in the final seconds. A late three-point heave to Wildcat Zoe Jew saw the final score sit at 29-24, the Brumbies girls confirming their move to A Grade next season, one of a record three Ballan sides who will play in the top division of their age groups.

Under 12 Boys

Ballan G 36 def Wildcats 24

Under 14 Boys

Ballan E 26 def Excies Acmy

Ballan B 42 lost Celtic Tigers 52

Under 14 Girls

Ballan C 12 lost Drummo Dragons 30

Under 19 Girls

Ballan B 29 def Wildcats 24