Penny Prior, left, from Lismore defending against Coffs Harbour?s Tiarne Saunders during the under-14 girls match.
Penny Prior, left, from Lismore defending against Coffs Harbour?s Tiarne Saunders during the under-14 girls match.

Suns teams win six NJL finals medals

COFFS HARBOUR hosted the Grand Finals of the and Under 12 Division one and under 12, 14, 16 and 18 division two Northern Junior League competition last weekend, with Coffs Harbour winning either the gold or silver medal in six of the eight divisions on show.

Gold medals were won in the under 12 girls division one and division two competitions, and the under 14 boys division two, while silver medals went to our under 12 boys division one, under 14 girls division two and under 16 girls division two teams.

This was a fabulous effort by all of our teams and congratulations to the players, coaches, managers and parents for their commitment throughout the season.

Under 14 men

The Under 14 men's division 2 team have been victorious in the Northern Junior League season this year, winning the Grand Final and also retaining their undefeated status.

After defeating Armidale by 10 points in the major semi-final played on Saturday, the Coffs Harbour team were confident of repeating that result.

However, a very determined Armidale team were not going to let Coffs Harbour have an easy game and took the lead in the early stages of game.

The first half saw the lead change several times, with Armidale playing very good defence on Coffs big men, Kaden Hartcher and Jonathon Mackay.

In a very physical game, Armidale took the lead at half time 24 to 18.

Slowly but surely, the talented players in the Coffs Harbour team fought back to take the lead in the third quarter with great teamwork by guards Angus Leahy and Bradley Chakos who stopped a number of Armidale's attempted fast breaks and explosive offensive plays by Matthew Wright and Jack Campbell ensured Coffs went back in the lead.

Sensational offensive and defensive support from Morgan Bodewes and Kieren Tomalin saw Coffs retained the lead for the rest of the game, at one stage up by seven points.

In a nail biting finish, which saw the crowd on the edge of their seats as Armidale scored three quick baskets, Coffs held onto the lead to win the game 42-40.

The last time Coffs Harbour has won this division of the NJL was in 2000, which is also the last time a Coffs team has made it to the finals.

Congratulations to all the team members for a fantastic season.

Special thanks to team manager, Julie Chakos, for ensuring the team was well organised all season.

Her organisational skills contributed greatly to the success of the team.

Under 12 men After a fabulous year of basketball the Under 12 men have finished as runners-up in the Division 1 Northern Junior League.

This is a great achievement for the team who have trained and played hard all year and they are to be congratulated for their positive attitude and commitment both on and off the court.

Their finals campaign commenced against an inspired Port Macquarie team, who got off to a great start.

The Suns, led by a strong performance from Joe Madden, spirited defence from Blake Kelly and fine shooting from Chris Hartsuyker clawed back some of the early lead, but ran out of time, sending them into an elimination final against Tamworth.

With a place in the grand final up for grabs both Coffs and Tamworth battled hard throughout the game.

Andrew Rendoth calmed the attack under strong defensive pressure from Tamworth allowing Tyson Eagles to score on many of his trade-mark drives to the basket.

Nathan Kelly rebounded strongly being rewarded with a number of goals and Grant Conroy hit his outside shots giving the Suns a well deserved win.

The Grand Final against Port Macquarie was a tough encounter with both teams defending strongly.

Angus Mann put his body on the line numerous times and continually disrupted Port's attack with an inspired defensive effort.

Jacen Bennett stepped into point guard controlling the attack and defended strongly to close out Port's top player while James Patricks 'never say die' attitude kept him sprinting the floor for the entire game earning the Suns a number of goals.

In the end, however, Port were too big and too fast on the day taking the title.

Every player in the Suns team played their hardest over the weekend and all have thoroughly enjoyed their experience in representing Coffs Harbour at this level.

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