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Neers pick up sil­ver at state ti­tles

The Chronicle - - Fox Sports - SEAN TEUMA [email protected]­i­cle.com.au

The Toowoomba Moun­taineers have shown the fu­ture is bright for our state league teams after re­turn­ing from a suc­cess­ful cam­paign at the U18s State Cham­pi­onships on the Gold Coast.

The boys and girls divi­sion two sides both fought their way to a spot in their re­spec­tive gold medal games, tak­ing home sil­ver medals in the process.

South­ern Districts was the only team in the boys com­pe­ti­tion to beat the Moun­taineers through­out the group stage, and they were able to do it again in the fi­nal, pre­vail­ing 7164.

Moun­taineers U18s boys divi­sion two coach Daryl Allen praised the tenac­ity of his team to work their way into a po­si­tion to fight for a gold medal after it looked highly un­likely just months prior.

“The big­gest thing with this group was where the boys fin­ished in the first half of the rep sea­son,” Allen said.

“They were fight­ing to stay in divi­sion two. They had the swap-over chal­lenge to re­main there, and to come back six weeks later and com­pete in the gold medal match is a fan­tas­tic ef­fort.

“All bar three of the play­ers were top age, so they will move up to the U21s next year, and they get the chance to build on this re­sult.”

After a gru­elling semi-fi­nal against South West Metro the day prior, Allen com­mended their abil­ity to push a tough South­ern Districts side in the fi­nal.

“We had our main point guards back, and that al­lowed us to get Ngaa (Ngaakudzwe Ngori­maain) a bit more rest dur­ing games,” he said.

“Both of our point guards did a fan­tas­tic job with the way they lead the team. That fa­tigue just meant they weren’t able to get over the line in that last game.

“They were in the game deep into the fourth, but the semi-fi­nal the day prior really took it out of them. It was like they played their grand fi­nal on that day, but they were so close to tak­ing it to South­ern Districts.”

Josh Allen fin­ished the tour­na­ment as the sec­ond high­est point-scorer (25.57 ppg).

In the girls divi­sion, the Moun­taineers came into their fi­nal rid­ing a wave of mo­men­tum, hav­ing won all six of their pool matches by an av­er­age mar­gin of 42.

After ac­count­ing for Sun­shine Coast in the semi-fi­nal, their dream run came to an end against Townsville, go­ing down 55-42.

A bal­anced ef­fort with the ball through­out the com­pe­ti­tion was em­pha­sised with the Moun­taineers dom­i­nat­ing the top-11 scor­ers with four play­ers (Jorja Bolton, Li­lain Adler, Rhi­an­non Phe­lan, Phoebe Hinz).

The boys divi­sion three side fin­ished their tour­na­ment on a high, de­feat­ing the Ca­bool­ture Suns by 19 in a play­off for 11th spot.

The fo­cus for all three teams now shifts to the start of the sec­ond half of the rep­re­sen­ta­tive sea­son, which recom­mences on Fe­bru­ary 2.

Pho­tos: Con­trib­uted

SIL­VER MEDAL: The Toowoomba Moun­taineers U18s girls divi­sion two side (back, from left) Jessie Bolton (man­ager), Ab­bie Markey, Phoebe Hinz, Kabe Ci­col­ini (coach), Is­abelle Boeske and (front) Lil­ian Adler, Grace Clud­eray, Han­nah Boyd and Jorja Bolton.

The Toowoomba Moun­taineers U18s boys divi­sion two side claimed sil­ver at the U18s State Cham­pi­onships.

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