Deni Junior Giants bounced into the opening representative tournament with some big success, with two wins from 11 teams in Swan Hill recently.
A new look Under 12 Boys A team consisting of six new players, two second year players and a first time coach had a successful start to their tournament season coming away with the Division Two Grand Final.
The Giants started strong with a convincing 17 point win over Mildura Heat Red before coming up against stronger teams in Bendigo, Echuca and Kerang.
Deni had spectators on the edge of their seats for the majority of the game, before coming away with narrow wins in each to secure a spot in the grand final.
The decider was tight from the first ball-up, with the Giants and Tatura going goal for goal for the first half before a free throw put Tatura one point in front at half time.
Coach Tom Parsons encouraged the Deni side going into the second half and the boys came out firing getting out to a 12 point lead, however Tatura was determined and brought the margin back to within four with only minutes left.
A tactical time out from Parsons settled the boys’ nerves while strong drives and rebounding from Brooklyn Barnes and Baxter Cowley got the Giants over the line 31 to 26.
The Under 16 boys team played in Division Three for the first tournament and with a team of experienced players dominated the competition.
After cruising to the grand final, the Giants stormed home to take the victory over the Bendigo Braves 40 to 25 in the decider.
Both Under 14 Boys teams progressed to the semi finals however were unable to go to the next step.
The U14 Boys A team has a shaky start letting Mildura get the first scores on the board and Mildura were determined to reverse the round result winning by a narrow three points ending the Giants competition.
The B team came out firing and got out to a seven point lead before Bendigo put together some solid plays defeating the Giants 32 to 14.
The Under 14 Girls A team stepped up to have their first taste at Division One basketball over the weekend with coach Michael Everett saying they well and truly held their own although not coming away with any wins.
Every player in the team scored over the weekend’s games and a highlight was first year player Shae Learmonth scoring the team’s first points against Echuca in game one.
Narrow loses of two and six points to Mildura and Bendigo respectively were definite highlights for the girls in Division One.
The Under 16 Girls had a nail biting start to the season with a three point win over Bendigo Braves, 25 to 22.
Game three was just as exciting with a four point win over Echuca but unfortunately the two wins were not enough to see them progress to a semi final.
Second year Giants player Ellie Parks was dominant with strong rebounds and drives to the ring, being well supported by bottom age player Annie Harvey with her controlled ball movement.
The Giants’ first ever Under 12 girls started nervously but improved every game before coming away with their first win in the last game of the tournament.
Unfortunately the Under 12 Boys B, U14 Girls and U18 Girls and Boys teams were unable to come away with a win for the tournament, however coaches were clearly able to see improvement in each game.
Deni Junior Giants travel to Wangaratta for the second tournament of the season next this weekend in hope to continue their strong start.