NWBU. Following an undefeated season in the North West Basketball Union’s Junior Coastal competition, the Tall Timbers Tasmania Smithton Basketball Club Under 16 boys have earned Grand Final victory.
The Saints met the Devonport Warriors in Devonport for the ultimate contest on Sunday.
Coach Danyon Saville commended the young squad’s determination throughout the game, which follows on from a devastating one-point Grand Final loss in triple overtime to the Warriors during a preseason tournament earlier this year.
“This set the tone for the season making the boys hungry to work hard every week and make up for their loss,” Saville said on Monday.
The Saints were favourites heading into finals following their triumphant Junior Coastal season however an unexpected one-point loss to rivals Devonport during their Semi Final clash on Sunday August 7 rattled the squad.
A victory against Ulverstone in the Preliminary Final on Sunday August 14 allowed the Saints a second chance at premiership glory.
A mediocre opening half during Sunday’s Grand Final lead to an eight-point deficit for the Saints at the main break.
An impressive streak of straight shooting allowed Smithton to gain a decent advantage before securing a mighty 17-point victory over the Warriors, 50-67.
“Our ability to confuse Devonport and create turnovers was the key to the game,” Saville said of the result.
“We had five players who scored [between] 9 and 14 points, which just shows how well we play together and don’t rely on just one person.”
First meeting the young Smithton squad four years ago as their assistant coach in the Under 12s division, Saville continued his involvement with the side before taking over the reigns this year.
“I found it very enjoyable and fulfilling to see their growth over the years and major improvements this year,” he said.
“The boys have trained twice a week for the past seven months – including a before school session of a Tuesday morning.
“Their work ethic is really impressive and is the main reason they performed as well as they did.”
The Saints will now continue into a championship tournament on the weekend of September 10 and 11 in Launceston where they will meet the top contending clubs from across the state.
“There is one team from Hobart that will be a real challenge for us,” Saville said.
“We hope to meet them in the championship game!”