THE under 12a boys had their best tournament to date.
The stormy weather and rain brought out the best in the Pirate boys, with the side winning four of their five pool group matches to advance to the grand final.
The first game of the tournament saw the Pirates come up against Mildura, with an impressive team effort seeing the Pirates off to a great confidence booster with a 30-8 victory.
This was followed with a trip to Tatura, where some great defensive pressure and team play saw the side claim wins in our next two games, with a 22-16 win against Bendigo and 29-26 against Mansfield.
Sunday saw the side travel to Kyabram, where the Pirates held on in a close one against Shepparton, winning 23-19.
Unfortunately, they lost their composure against a bigger Benalla side going down 17-23.
Despite the loss, the Pirates finished on top of the pool, advancing to the grand final against an undefeated Wangaratta.
The Pirates played a tremendous first half, going into the break with a four point lead.
Despite a strong second half, the Pirates fell at the final hurdle, defeated 27-53.
A member of the coaching staff said ‘‘coaching staff and parents are very proud of the effort and teamwork over the weekend. Great job boys, keep believing in yourselves, playing as a team and training hard and you will continue to be rewarded.’’
The Under 14a boys started with their first game against Bendigo.
Led by Darby Wileman and Hunter Dixon, the boys took it up to Bendigo, but were outsized and the bigger Bendigo bodies took over early.
Riley Hutton and Will Poulton showed their skills both offensively and defensively, with the team almost matching Bendigo in the second half, but were unable to get back the first half margin, falling by 17.
The Pirates started slowly again against Benalla in their second game, falling to an early 12 point deficit.
Will Rohde and Jobe Shanahan ignited the team in the second half, driving to the basket and finishing off some great team play.
Jack Morley showed his outside shooting class, draining a beautiful jumper and the Pirates began to peg back the lead.
Declan Hallet got to great spots and was rewarded with some stylish passing from Hugh Byrne, and the boys had all the momentum.
A scoreboard malfunction threatened to derail the team momentum, but coach Jonty kept their heads in the right place and they got a thrilling win.
The third game saw the side off to its best start of the tournament, with Declan and Jack continuing on with their good passing and team defence.
Wodonga made it tough to score, but Will Rohde and Jobe managed to slice their way into the key and finish off some great team play.
Missing Noah Langbourne through injury didn’t help and the boys unsuccessfully tried to peg back the margin, but Wodonga proved too strong.
The final game was a titanic struggle for the Pirates.
The Pirates had a great start, getting out to an early lead but Wangaratta fought back, causing the boys to repeatedly turn over the ball and allow easy baskets.
Darby Wileman and Riley Hutton decided enough was enough, with Darby taking some towering rebounds and Riley literally throwing his body into the Wangaratta big men.
Hunter started to do the job at both ends and with some good vision Will Poulton was finding team mates in open places.
Hugh Byrne drove to the basket and finished well, and the boys fell in by a point.
The under 14C girls found themselves up against some tough opponents throughout the tournament.
The Pirates kicked off the weekend against Mansfield Eagles, putting up a good fight but eventually falling short.
They came back strong against Mildura Heat winning convincingly and continued that form with a strong performance against Bendigo Braves.
The results saw the Pirates second in their pool, lining up a semi final against the Deniliquin Giants on Sunday morning.
A convincing win saw them advance to the preliminary final against the Griffith Demons.
Unfortunately the Pirates tournament ended, going down to Griffith.
A member of the coaching staff said ‘‘overall the girls played really well as a team and every tournament we are seeing them go from strength to strength.’’
The under 16 girls began their campaign against Yarra-Mull in Kyabram.
The Pirates tackled the first half with solid defensive pressure and strong rebounding under the ring.
This attack on the game saw the girls take an early lead, maintaining the gap until the main break.
The second half saw the team settle well into their rotations and despite an opposition comeback, they maintained their lead taking out game one 24 to 18.
Game two started against the home side of Shepparton.
Once again the Pirates played another strong defensive game, as well as putting on strong physical pressure, sending Shepparton to the line on nine occasions in the first half.
The second half went basket for basket, but the Pirates proved too strong, coming out winners 38 - 27.
The third game on the Saturday saw the Pirates line up against Wangaratta.
The Pirates were quick out of the box, scoring the opening basket, but were unable to break through their rival defence throughout the match.
Wangaratta took the lead half way through the first half and continued to get stronger, taking the win 48-22.
Sunday the pirates faced Wodonga and once again ran away with a strong start.
The Pirates maintained pressure throughout, causing Wodonga to make a number of errors.
In yet another strong performance, the Pirates took the win 47-26.
A coaching staff member said ‘‘they can hold their heads high as it was an extremely tough draw with a lot of experience gained from the weekend games.’’
The under 18 girls opened up their tournament with a 26-14 win over Wodonga.
The side played solid team basketball throughout, taking their opportunities when presented and being able to take Wodonga to task.
In a fast paced second game, the Pirates dominated at the post and used their transition game to the best effect.
Despite their strong performance, the side unfortunately fell to Korumburra 39-41.
Unfortunately, the Pirates were not so lucky in the third game of the tournament, falling to a red hot Shepparton Gators side 25-40.
The Gators had the hottest of hands throughout the game, nailing seven 3-pointers throughout the match.
The Pirates were able to finish the tournament over Myrtleford, running away with a commanding 48-15 victory.
The side dominated in defence, barely allowing shots from Myrtleford, while dominating on their offensive end.
The side finished with a two and two record, leaving coaches impressed with the quality of their basketball.