The Illawarra Hawks’ under 14 side has returned home from the recent national club championships having learnt the importance of playing hard on both sides of the ball.
The team finished the tournament in ninth place, winning four of their seven matches. The tournament was won by the Eltham Wildcats.
The highlight of the event was a triple-overtime 68-66 victory over Cairns in the Hawks’ final match of the tournament.
“We finished ninth out of 24 sides, the first goal was making the top 12, which is the championship division.” Coach Simon Dent said.
“We did that, but then we were unlucky as we came up against two well credentialed sides in the next pool which unfortunately dropped us into the ninth to twelfth pool.”
“We finished the tournament with two wins to finish in ninth, including a two-point triple overtime win in the final game.”
Dent admitted that the final match was quite the thriller, but was proud of the way his team worked hard on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball throughout the entire match.
“In that one I think we probably learnt a lot through the tournament up to then. In a number of games we realised how you have to play hard at both ends of the court for the entire game.
“In some of our losses we weren’t able to maintain that intensity throughout the whole game, so to see the boys play hard at both ends in that last game was great.”
Dent was particularly pleased with the way his team applied the lessons learnt throughout the week in the latter matches.
“I was proud of the effort they put in through their whole week, the way in which they learnt over the course of the whole week. For all bar one of the boys that was their first experience at national level, so it was a steep learning curve in that regard.”
Dent is hopeful that all members of the team will take the experience of the tournament with them as they continue their basketball careers, regardless of whether they are returning next year for another shot at the under 14s event or are moving up to the older age groups.
“We have four bottom age boys who will return for next year, for those boys it’s been a chance to see what the level’s like, see what’s required and hope to be able to return next year and perform well. It could also be a good stepping stone for other boys to move on to future rep levels in under 16s and under 18s.”