Young bas­ket­ballers shine at na­tional tour­na­ment

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Comedy -

YOUNG lo­cal bas­ket­ballers play­ing for metro WA did the State proud at the re­cent South­ern Cross Chal­lenge in Mel­bourne, held from Jan­uary 16 to 18, com­ing a re­spectable sixth out of 12 teams.

Run by Bas­ket­ball Vic­to­ria, the tour­na­ment is open to all Aus­tralian states, with teams made up of play­ers born in 2001 or 2002, in­clud­ing Ed­die Ei­ma­nis from the Perry Lakes Hawks.

WA Metro U15 coach Ty­rone Th­waites said the tour­na­ment was de­signed around player devel­op­ment, with win­ning com­ing sec­ond to that.

“It pre­pares the most tal­ented kids in the age group for the Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in U16 and U18 and is es­sen­tially an op­por­tu­nity to play against the best tal­ent in Australia,” he said.

The team was picked over a five-hour try­out in early Oc­to­ber, with six train­ing ses­sions al­lowed be­tween then and the tour­na­ment.

Th­waites couldn’t have been hap­pier with the way the team came to­gether.

“I could not ask for any­thing more from th­ese boys, given that we only had limited prepa­ra­tion. Their devel­op­ment has been amaz­ing, and it was an ex­pe­ri­ence that will hold them in good stead go­ing for­ward.”

The team kicked off the tour­na­ment beat­ing Can­berra 70-34 and then later that night lost to Vic­to­ria Metro by three points in over­time.

Th­waites said the best part was that the team de­vel­oped an im­pres­sive un­der­stand­ing of how to work in a high-level team en­vi­ron­ment.

“There was no need to rely on in­di­vid­ual play­ers, and when they spread the load well they were at their best.”

De­spite be­ing the youngest in the U16 co­hort, Th­waites said he ex­pects some of the play­ers in his team to go close to mak­ing the team for na­tion­als later in the year.

An­drew Tye in ac­tion for Perth Scorchers.

Matthew Burd, Tar­quin Macdon­ald, Ed­die Ei­ma­nis, By­ron Pear­son and Ben Pears on the bench, with coach Ty­rone Th­waites stand­ing.

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