Force on the court

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Basketball. The Smithton Saints Under 12 team has beaten the tallest of odds to become the state champions.

Following a North West Basketball Union Junior Intertown Grand Final victory late last month, the Saints spent the next weekend at the State Championships held in Devonport.

Competing in Division One, coach Matthew ‘Wak’ Walker said the side was up against tough competition and tall competitors.

“The first day we were flat, not concentrating and not on our game as much as we had been throughout the season,” he said.

“But the second day you could tell they showed up and were ready to go.”

After defeating the undefeated Ulverstone in the north west premiership title, 57 to 49, Smithton were keen to once again finish on top in the state Preliminary Final against the opponents.

Following four quarters of skilled play, the Saints earned a convincing victory and a place in the premiership match.

Finally, Smithton and Launceston took to the court in the Grand Final to settle the score.

A smaller team in comparison to taller opponents, the Saints used this height to their advantage throughout the contest.

“The plan was to get the ball into the hands of the little fellas and good luck to anybody who could catch them!”

Darting around the court, the Saints were swift in offence and held strong in defence throughout the match to claim the premiership win, 64 to 57.

The coach praised the improvement of the team as well as the perseverance and sportsmanship shown throughout the season.

“They believed in themselves,” he said.

“What made us a really good side this year was that every player in the team had a role to play and when called upon they all did what was asked of them.

“They’re a little team but they gave it a big crack.”

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