Coach Bobby Cunningham.JUST because Warrnambool’s under 18 boys fell short of their ultimate goal on the weekend, doesn’t mean their campaign is over.
Nanjing Night Net

The side finished runner-up at the Victorian Junior Country Championships on the weekend, staging a comeback in the grand final before succumbing to host Bendigo 59-54.

Coach Bobby Cunningham said the dedicated group, the majority of whom are training with the Warrnambool Seahawks, would stick together.

“We can probably keep this group together until October when the age group changes,” he said.

“We’ll probably head to Ballarat on the June long weekend and maybe the Melbourne Tigers tournament in July.

“It’s all about the camaraderie now.

“We want to keep the group together and keep them playing.”

The coach was keen to see the progression of the players.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to be doing with their basketball and how they’re going to develop playing against men,” he said.

“That’s going to be the really telling part for them.

“How they develop their physical strength and that.”

Warrnambool went through its initial pool matches at the state titles undefeated, including a five-point win over Bendigo.

It advanced to a crossover match which it won before triumphing in another set of pool games and another crossover to make the decider.

Warrnambool took the lead early in the grand final, holding an 8-4 advantage over Bendigo.

“I thought we could’ve done some more scoreboard damage,” Cunningham said.

“They got their noses in front after that and never looked back. They kept us at arm’s length for the whole game.”

The coach said his team trailed by almost 20 points midway through the fourth quarter.

It came after the host applied full court pressure while the visitors opted for some dangerous cross-court passes which Bendigo picked off and capitalised on.

Warrnambool which had a pair of three-pointers disallowed due to disputable travel and out-of-court calls got back into the game by executing a full-court press.

But they eventually fell short, losing 54-59.

“I was saying to the boys that as a coach, I’ve got to wear that one because we should’ve gone into a press sooner,” Cunningham said.

“But they said ‘no, it’s not just you Bobby, we’re senior players now and we could’ve made that call’.

“Hats off to Bendigo and hats off to their coach.”

Cunningham thanked the Warrnambool parents for their support.

“They put up with me yelling at their kids,” he quipped.

Both Warrnambool’s under 18 girls and under 16 boys also contested division one, making a consolation final and semi-final respectively.

Portland’s under 16 girls went down to Warragul 43-19 in the division two grand final while the town’s under 18 girls and under 16 boys progressed to the division two semis.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.