The Coffs Harbour under-16 girls basketball team who won the country championships. Photo submitted
The Coffs Harbour under-16 girls basketball team who won the country championships. Photo submitted

U16 girls country champs

OVER the June long weekend the Harvey Norman Coffs Harbour Suns junior representative teams participated in the 26th annual NSW Country Championships.

As mentioned briefly last week, the Suns teams produced the best combined result in the history of the association by winning the division 1 under 16 girls competition, runners-up in the under 12 division 1 competition, third place in the under 16 girls division 1 and a 5th place in division one for both the under 18 girls and under 16 boys.

Congratulations to all players, coaching staff, referees and parents who represented the association with distinction over the weekend.

Under 16 girls

THE Under 16 girls, playing in the bitter cold of Bathurst, established themselves as the best team in Country NSW in their age group when they defeated all opposition in the tournament, taking their win-loss record for the season to 16-0.

The Country championships game opener was against the dynamic Albury Cougars, which proved to be a frantic basket for basket contest until the Coffs Harbour girls stepped up another gear in the final quarter to finish 51-42 victors.

Game two against Gosford Rebels was a little easier with the Suns outscoring their zippy Central Coast opponents in each quarter to coast home comfortable winners 66-42.

Third game in their pool was against Newcastle Hunters with three NSW state players in their formidable lineup.

However, the Suns girls raced away to a 16-6 lead at quarter time and maintained that dominance until the final buzzer, giving Coffs Harbour a well deserved 67-39 confidence boosting win.

In the pool crossover eliminator Coffs Harbour matched up against Maitland Mustangs with the contest quite close up until half time.

However, the second half was all Coffs Harbour with the Suns girls just too skilled as they raced away for a positive 70-55 victory.

Down to just four teams in winning contention, the Suns faced a physical and fiercely determined Entrance Lakers.

In another tough encounter, the Suns girls had to maintain composure and focus in a fairly bruising match.

Coffs took the game 54-43 in a well-deserved result.

This semi final win saw the Suns matched up against other semi final winner, Illawarra Hawks in the gold medal game.

This game proved to be a classic confrontation of two highly skilled teams giving nothing less than 100 per cent effort at both ends of the court for the full duration of the game.

Illawarra led 14-12 at quarter time and 30-26 at half time before Coffs Harbour dug deep in the third quarter to draw level 43 all with one quarter remaining.

To the acclamation of a fantastic spectator crowd, it was the Coffs Harbour Suns girls who found the intestinal fortitude in the last minutes of the game to lead 63-59 when the final buzzer sounded.

Every one of the nine Suns players gave their best effort, with team captain Hayley Cassell being awarded the prestigious MVP award on the grand final.

U12 girls

THE under 12 girls travelled to Gosford for their Country tournament, at which they came home with the silver championship medal.

The girls had a phenomenal lead up to the grand final, defeating division 1 teams from Canberra, Illawarra, Gosford and Tamworth.

Going into the grand final as slight favorites, as the only undefeated team, early fouls and the inability to score baskets under intense final quarter pressure left the girls with a valiant runners up effort, going down to Illawarra by just nine points.

Kristy Wallace received the honour of the most valuable player award.

Sammy Bastick dominated the rebounds; Annabel Tonks showed a strong presence on the court and Jessi Reeves was almost unstoppable taking the ball to the basket.

Jayden Ainsworth shot some amazing baskets and the athletic ability that Sarah Gleeson showed was amazing in defense. Bianca Oberleuter worked extra hard though slowed down with a mystery illness.

Bronte Lloyd shot a high percentage from outside the key, with Billie Bourke handling the pressure of the occasion with ease.

Jessica Bamford dominated the off guard position when she took the floor.

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