19 December, 2022
Basketball fires back with fiery finals
MAREEBA Basketball has returned to its full glory after a break lit a fire in local basketball tragics with the club’s most successful season in recent memory wrapping up. They were able to offer basketball to all interested players across both male and female competitions from five years and up.
Finals season kicked off with the U10s and ladies competitions which concluded their seasons at the start of December.
Five-year-old Claire Harris was one of the young players who enjoyed their season to its fullest and got her hands on her very first trophy.
“The best part was practicing and getting my trophy,” she said.
“I want to keep playing basketball.”
Luckily for Claire there is the chance for her to move up and play in the newly revived ladies competition when the time is right.
Ladies basketball had not been played in Mareeba for some time but thanks to the efforts of the new Mareeba Basketball committee and competition organisers Lisa Turner and Daphne Ngan-Woo, there is great potential to grow the division in coming seasons.
“We had a good mix of new members and returning ladies from previous years and the club is now in a good position to grow the ladies competition further next season,” Turner said.
“The club has not had Ladies basketball in several years, so it was great to have Ladies basketball back in Mareeba,” Ngan-Woo added.
Under the watchful eyes of coaches Junior Viranatuleo, Ely Simmons, and Deidre Brumby the junior competition also recently finished with the association paying their sincere respects to Junior for giving back to the community and sharing his knowledge of the game that he has learnt from working with some of the best players and teams in the world.
The main highlight of the season, the men’s basketball finals, were well attended by family members and supporters who made their presence known from the stands.
The first game of the night was a play-off for third place between COPS and veterans Red Devils and while COPS were pinged as the favourites, the seasoned line-up of devils posed quite the obstacle.
Despite missing several key players, COPS started the game well and dominated the early exchanges and as a result, had a 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Red Devils looked to continue their disappointing season, however led by Brennan Collis who finished with 38 points, they rallied in the third quarter who finished the game with great support from Andy Harris and Sep Alioa who both finished with 16 points apiece.
COPS were unable to shift the momentum back in their favour in the second half and despite Alden Lyall (18 points) and Kieran Turner (12 points) leading a strong resistance, they were unable to stop Red Devils running away with a 27-point victory.
World Beaters run rings in finals
IN the grand final match-up at the start of December it was a face off against the two young and sprightly teams, World Beaters and Mark Alba Plumbing.
World Beaters had a dominant season and finished as the minor premiers only losing two games while Mark Alba Plumbing had been a little more inconsistent throughout the season but had rarely ever played at full strength.
The last time these teams met at full strength resulted in a hard-fought draw.
Both teams started well with World Beaters working the ball around and finding good opportunities at close range, while some great shooting by Mark Alba Plumbing, in particular Zayd Myrteza, ensured that neither team had a clear advantage at the end of the first half.
The referees had to caution both teams at half time as emotions ran high during the first half as the tension grew and neither team could dominate the other.
It was a high-quality game of basket-ball as the lead swapped throughout the game and neither side was able to run away, leaving the final quarter to be the decider.
In the last five minutes of the match Mark Alba Plumbing missed some key opportunities and spurred on by crowd support, World Beaters were finally able to pull away with Ely Simmons (24 points), Josh McAulay (16 points), and Isaac Hohns (14 points) leading the charge.
Despite some intense defence by Ricaydan Wason and quality offense from Jeremy Mackay (18 points), Mark Alba Plumbing was unable to wrestle back the momentum in the dying minutes and prevent a 16-point win by World Beaters.
With so many key performances from players on both sides it was difficult for the match officials to declare a MVP for the Finals however after much deliberation, Isaac Hohns was awarded the honour.
After the presentation, match official Andy Harris said both teams left everything they had to give out on the court and really played their hearts out.
“Both sides gave it their all and left nothing on the court and gave us an evenly matched and highly entertaining game,” he said.
“Despite being a passionate game, it was played in the spirit of the game and several players on both sides were in the running for MVP including Zayd Myrteza, Jeremy Mackay, Ely Simmons, and Josh McAulay.
“Isaac Hohns was given the nod not only for his efforts tonight, but also as an acknowledgment of his drastic improvement as the season progressed.”