Sport

Country pride: It’s official — basketball association is the best

By Andrew Johnston

THE Echuca Basketball Association has never been better — and Basketball Victoria Country couldn’t agree more.

The EBA was recognised at the Basketball Victoria Country (BVC) Annual Awards on April 13 as the Medium Sized Association of the Year, a category for associations with 500 to 1000 registered participants.

EBA president Phil Candy admits he was stunned.

‘‘I only found out in the week of the awards that we had now qualified as a medium association,’’ he said.

‘‘I spoke to one of the representatives of BVC because we didn’t even realise we qualified.

‘‘It was explained to us that for a town the size of Echuca-Moama to be considered medium showed an incredible level of growth that was worth acknowledgement.’’

Though few in the EBA would have expected acknowledgement to look like this.

‘‘We genuinely could never have expected this honour,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve this season.’’

The list of accomplishments is greater than many would realise.

The organisation had 580 registered players competing in summer competition, roughly equating to five per cent of the population of Echuca.

The club hosted the FIBA Mini Basketball Conference for the Asian Pacific Region, as well as the BVC Junior Jamboree and hosted their annual junior tournament with 81 teams competing.’

Capping the season off, the Senior Pirates claimed a maiden premiership, winning the CBL North West Division after winning just two games the prior year.

For Candy, the highlight was giving anyone a chance to play the game.

‘‘We didn’t turn a single person away and we are so proud of that,’’ he said.

‘‘It wasn’t easy. We had to shuffle teams, add sides, redraw fixtures and a number of other things along the way, but anyone who wanted to play basketball in our town got the chance.

‘‘We can’t thank our community enough for supporting us through what was an amazing year of basketball in Echuca-Moama.’’