Suns shine in grafton

THE Coffs Harbour Suns junior representative teams travelled to Grafton last weekend for a round of Northern Junior League competition.

Under 18 Men Div 2 - The Suns under 18 men came home with a 100 per cent win record from the weekend, defeating Tamworth, Armidale and Bellingen.

The first game was against a very determined Tamworth side, and went into overtime.

However, Coffs won by 4 points on the back of point guard Connor Maguire's outstanding performance and 23 points.

Game 2 was against Armidale, who had defeated us in the first round of competition.

However, great improvement from all players in the second half of the game and very strong performances from Greg Dowler and Lukas Handley saw Coffs advance to a 40-point victory.

This win gave the boys great confidence heading into the second day of competition, where they met Bellingen.

Coffs took the lead early and continued to grow this despite having Jacob Watts out injured, Greg Dowler succumbing to an ankle injury in the third quarter and centre Travis Slater sitting on four fouls from the second quarter.

However, the Suns were too strong in all aspects of the game, taking the win over Bellingen by 40 points.

Coach McGinniskin was pleased to see the boys play as a team, with all players sharing in the point scoring.

Under 12 Men Div 1 - The boys travelled to Grafton short of a key player but came home with three wins from three starts.

The first game of the weekend was against the Suns 2nd team.

The experience of the first team showed through early in the game but the Suns second boys played with great determination.

The first team came away with an easy win.

Next up against the Suns were the Tamworth Thunderbolts, who are currently second on the 12-men pointscore.

The Suns easily accounted for the Thunderbolts who got into foul trouble early and had key players on the bench in the second quarter.

The Suns brought the game home with a 36-point win thanks to some excellent work under the basket.

The last game for the Suns was against a very young Grafton side and even though the Suns never got out of second gear, they still managed to rack up a 100-point victory by full-time.

Under 16 Women Div 2 - The Coffs Suns 16 women div 2 team fielded a full squad of 10 players for the first time this season and dominated in their three games over the weekend.

Against Tamworth first up, the Suns played hard and fast basketball to lead 30-5 at quarter time, then running out 82-19 winners.

Clancy Pierpoint, in her first game back from injury, top scored with 23 points, supported by Rochelle Goodhand with 12 and Bianca Oberleuter on 9 points.

Next up the Suns met a determined Inverell Sapphires.

The girls from Inverell showed fight and determination which didn't reflect their last position on the table but they found it impossible to contain the raids by guards Nikki Wallace, Bianca Oberleuter, Annabelle Hughes, Alanah Watson and Georgie Hewitt. The Suns were too strong and ran out eventual easy winners 94-14.

Guard Annabelle Hughes lead the way with 16 points but Emily Robertson (13), Pierpoint (14), Watson (11) and captain Hewitt (10) had no trouble finding the basket.

Robertson hit an impressive 5 extras from the foul line during the game and she and Bronte Lloyd picked up more than 45 rebounds in the two games on Saturday which contributed to the strong results.

Sunday brought on the long-awaited game against the Bellingen Braves. The Suns started well and lead 23-9 early in what turned out to be a match-winning lead.

A determined Bellingen attack and some defensive lapses saw the gap halve but a change of defensive tactics shut down the Bellingen offence.

Constant pressure by Sarah Gleeson and Bianca Oberleuter forced many turnovers, allowing good scoring opportunities for the team.

Rochelle Goodhand again dominated in the key at both ends and hit 18 points, supported by Hewitt with 9. The Suns eventually won 56-37.

The Suns remain undefeated at the halfway point of the season after playing all teams in their division once.

Under 14 Women Div 1 - Sitting well clear on top of the NJL ladder, the Suns Under 14 women div 1 team returned home undefeated.

Disappointingly the Inverell Sapphire made a decision to forfeit their 8.00am game, giving the Suns just two games over the weekend.

The first game for the girls was against the Suns 14 girls development team, and with their assistant coach Ashley Markham assuming the head coaching responsibilities for the day, the Suns 1st team won the contest comfortably 75 points to 15 but not without gallant and determined intensity from their mostly bottom-age Coffs Harbour opponents.

It was much the same result for the Suns when they matched skills with Bellinger Valley Braves later in the afternoon.

This game provided the Suns bench players with an opportunity to have more court time than the regular starters, producing a final win 74 points to 14.

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