Taz has her girls abuzz

December 06, 2017

Shepparton Gators’ under-14 girls took out the title in thrilling circumstances.

Grand finals do not come much more spectacular than this.

The Shepparton Gators’ under-14 girls capped a stirling weekend by taking out the A-grade title at the Greater Shepparton Basketball Tournament.

And what a way for the premiership to come following a pearler of a three-point shot from Tazmyn Stovell that clinched a one-point victory against Wodonga Wolves.

With four seconds left on the shot clock and the Gators trailing by two, only a basket from outside the arc would suffice.

But a composed Stovell never looked like missing as she sent the ball from her hands with the buzzer following shortly after.

Coach Jason Bannerman never once doubted Stovell.

‘‘I’ve got three outside shooters and she’s one of them and as soon as she got it she knew that the time was running out on the clock and she had to get that shot away,’’ he said.

‘‘(After the buzzer) everyone was jumping around and lost their composure and it was good for the girls, they’d (Wodonga) been our nemesis for a few seasons and we’d only just started to get on top of them.

‘‘I’ve never seen anything (a grand final) like it.’’

Remarkably, the Gators worked their way back into the contest after trailing by nine points with less than seven minutes remaining.

But Bannerman had faith his side would claw back the lead.

‘‘They’ve worked hard enough over the last few months that I knew they’d keep going until the end and that’s the thing, they grind it out regardless of the score on the board and we’ve trained them not to worry about the scoreboard,’’ he said.

The stirring victory sent the home crowd at Shepparton Sports Stadium into raucous applause for the team that had been touted as the one to lead the pack in the A-grade division.

The Gators executed an unbeaten tournament, producing highly skilled performances in each game.

‘‘Although the grand final could have gone either way and we didn’t play the best basketball in the final, leading up to it we played really good games against Bendigo and Mildura earlier in the morning,’’ Bannerman said.

But grand performances before the decider can only count for so much, with Shepparton receiving its biggest test in the grand final.

The Gators stood up and after coming through with an exceptional premiership, it is a memory the team will not be forgetting in a hurry.

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