Pi­rates host state’s best

The Riverine Herald - - GAME ON SUMMER -

ECHUCA Ju­nior Pi­rates held its an­nual tour­na­ment in Echuca in early Oc­to­ber.

On top of field­ing teams of their own, the tour­na­ment saw over 90 teams from across the state take part.

The un­der 12a boys had a strong show­ing in the tour­na­ment, with an un­lucky loss in the semi-fi­nal see­ing the team fin­ish third in their age group.

The team was in­cred­i­bly well pre­pared by their coach Jor­dan Hut­ton.

The team, which fielded six debu­tants in their nine play­ers, took part in divi­sion one and showed im­prove­ment every game.

The team worked hard for the du­ra­tion of their matches, putting to­gether im­pres­sive pas­sages of play, as well as good de­fen­sive in­ten­sity through­out their matches.

The high­light of the week­end was a thrilling two-point vic­tory over Yar­ra­wonga.

With scores tied at 33-33 with just 6 sec­onds left on the clock, Hut­ton called an op­por­tune time-out and from the sub­se­quent play, Darby Jones se­cured vic­tory for the Pi­rates scor­ing with just one sec­ond to spare.

For the un­der 12b boys, nerves were high be­fore the open­ing game against Be­nalla, with mul­ti­ple play­ers mak­ing their first ap­pear­ances as Pi­rates.

With only seven play­ers in their team, fit­ness was tested, but the boys never gave up.

With matches against Wan­garatta, Craigieburn and Wodonga — teams who are al­ways strong com­peti­tors — the boys did not give up, con­tin­u­ing to show their strong work ethic and team spirit.

Coaches Lisa McLean and Lokki Somerville were highly im­pressed and look for­ward to the teams de­vel­op­ment head­ing to he next tour­na­ment later in the month.

It was the first ap­pear­ance as pi­rates for a few of the un­der 12 girls.

Game one saw a close re­sult, with the Pi­rates go­ing down by one point to Yar­ra­wonga.

The girls showed im­prove­ment go­ing into each match, get­ting stronger and more con­fi­dent work­ing as a team.

A full squad per­for­mance saw the team put in a solid tour­na­ment.

The un­der 14a girls had a great start to the tour­na­ment com­ing up against Wan­garatta.

The team did miss a few chances to run away with the game, but came out win­ners in the end 28-22.

In game two against a very strong Shep­par­ton side, the Pi­rates over­came a num­ber of in­juries to pro­duce a strong per­for­mance, but fell short in the end.

The third match against War­rnam­bool had a very even first half.

The sec­ond half saw the Pi­rates put for­ward a stel­lar per­for­mance to claim vic­tory, leav­ing the team equal sec­ond on the lad­der at the close of Satur­day’s play. Sun­day opened against Yar­ra­wonga/Mul­wala, a strong team who the Pi­rates have met on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions.

The match was a shoot-out, with both sides go­ing goal for goal for the ma­jor­ity of the match, be­fore the Pi­rates hung on in the later stages.

The un­der 14b girls also pro­duced a num­ber of solid re­sults, win­ning two of their four matches.

The open­ing match against Phoenix United was highly com­pet­i­tive, with the Pi­rates fall­ing just shy of the win.

Satur­day's matches saw the Pi­rates claim vic­tory over Rid­dell Creek Rap­ture and Wan­garatta, be­fore fall­ing to Be­nal­lain the fi­nal game on day three.

The un­der 14a boys came out fired up in the open­ing game, but Craigieburn showed a bit more pol­ish around the rim and opened up a small lead.

De­spite some strong work by the Pi­rates, Craigieburn crept away, tak­ing the game by 15 points.

The Pi­rates were de­ter­mined to give a good ac­count of them­selves fol­low­ing the loss, and started game two at a fre­netic pace.

With a great team per­for­mance, the Pi­rates were re­warded with a com­fort­able win.

The Pi­rates started game three against Wan­garatta strongly, and good shoot­ing in the sec­ond half saw the Pi­rates take a com­fort­able win.

With the fi­nal in sight, the team fo­cused on its de­fence in the fi­nal game, where a strong team per­for­mance saw a Pi­rates vic­tory, though the side fell short of the grand fi­nal on per­cent­age.

The un­der 14b boys also made an ap­pear­ance in the tour­na­ment.

The tour­na­ment opened with a game against Rochester.

While the Pi­rates put up a solid per­for­mance, the re­sult did not come.

Games against Myrtle­ford and Rid­dells Creek fol­lowed, and while the side played some high qual­ity bas­ket­ball, both matches re­sulted in losses.

The Pi­rates gave their all across the tour­na­ment, but were un­able to get the re­sults they wanted.

This gives the side a clear set of goals for the next weeks of train­ing in prepa­ra­tion for up­com­ing bas­ket­ball.

The un­der 16 girls campaign saw the team line up against the Shep­par­ton Ga­tors on the open­ing night at Echuca sta­dium.

The Pi­rates played a de­fen­sive style, con­stantly ap­ply­ing pres­sure and forc­ing nine fouls in both halves.

The whole side con­trib­uted, but un­for­tu­nately the side dropped the open­ing game 42 to 22.

Game two against Wodonga saw a strong ef­fort from the Pi­rates, though they fell to a strong Wodonga side 44 to 15.

The Pi­rates con­tin­ued to give their best in their third game against Wan­garatta, but they dropped the match 53 to 16.

De­spite the re­sults, the side made their way into the semi-fi­nal against Wodonga.

The re­sults again didn’t go the sides way, with the team fail­ing to make the grand fi­nal.

The un­der 16a boys tour­na­ment be­gan against Wan­garatta, and a strong start meant the team was well in the game at half time.

The sec­ond half Echuca suf­fered at their own hands, with a num­ber of turnovers re­sult­ing in Wan­garatta run­ning out win­ners 40-24.

The Pi­rates con­tin­ued their tour­na­ment against Yar­raMul.

Again turnovers were a prob­lem and looked likely to throw a span­ner into the works.

A solid per­for­mance from the en­tire team broke the first half duct, with the Pi­rates get­ting over the line 31-16.

The third game against Wodonga was high­lighted by strong de­fen­sive pres­sure, lead­ing to Echuca go­ing into the break with a 10-9 lead.

The team con­tin­ued to shoot well in the sec­ond half and this re­sulted in a 30-20 vic­tory for the Pi­rates.

For the Pi­rates fi­nal game, the op­po­nent was Shep­par­ton.

Strong per­for­mances from the the whole side saw the Pi­rates trail­ing by just three points at half time.

Shep­par­ton came out and pro­duced all over court pres­sure and were ac­cu­rate at the bas­ket, get­ting away from the Pi­rates, who fell 31-43.

The tour­na­ment was the first time many of the un­der 16b boys had played to­gether un­der the coach­ing of Gary Pri­estly, and the team were proud of their ef­forts.

De­spite their strong ef­forts and team work, a win was not forth­com­ing for this tour­na­ment.

The side now looks to fur­ther­ing their skill and de­vel­op­ment at fu­ture tour­na­ments.

With just a few weeks of train­ing un­der their belts, the un­der18 girls formed a close knit team and pushed them­selves from the first game, open­ing with a 10 point win over Wan­garatta.

The side worked hard in the sec­ond match, claim­ing a seven point win over Rochester.

For their third match, the Pi­rates came up against Shep­par­ton, and came out with a 21-point win.

The side headed into the fi­nal game un­de­feated and face a tough en­counter against Wodonga.

Once again the girls were pushed to their lim­its but ended up push­ing out to a 10 point win.

With an un­de­feated tour­na­ment, the Pi­rates headed to the fi­nal against Wan­garatta.

The Pi­rates started out strong, push­ing out to a 20 point lead.

But Wan­garatta made a late charge, pulling the con­test back in the late stages. But the Pi­rates held their nerve, claim­ing a three point win to take the ti­tle.

The un­der 18 boys headed into this tour­na­ment with a com­bi­na­tion of new and old play­ers, and a new coach also tak­ing charge.

The boys soon showed us that they were go­ing to be a force on the court this year, with the ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers com­bin­ing well with the bot­tom aged play­ers.

The Pi­rates started the tour­na­ment strongly, with a big open­ing win over arch ri­vals Wan­garatta.

The Pi­rates proved too strong for Be­nalla in their sec­ond game, be­fore los­ing to a very strong Wodonga Team in the third game.

The main stage of the tour­na­ment was fin­ished with a win against Myrtle­ford in the fi­nal game, leav­ing the side three and one, earn­ing a grand fi­nal berth against the un­beaten Wodonga.

Coach Lach Hius­mann asked his team to give their best against Wodonga’s strong shoot­ing.

The boys took the mes­sage on board, giv­ing Wodonga no room to move and block­ing their shoot­ing out.

The per­for­mance re­sulted in a sec­ond un­der 18 win for the Pi­rates, with the Pi­rates claim­ing the in­au­gu­ral tour­na­ment of the year.

■ All Pi­rates teams move now to the up­com­ing Swan Hill tour­na­ment in com­ing weeks.

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