Gators at home in Darwin

By Tyler Maher

Although traditionally home to crocodiles, it was proven last week that Gators also thrive in Darwin.

Shepparton exports Tom Gorman and Isabel Whitelaw claimed medals with Victoria County at the under-16 Australian Junior Championships in the Northern Territory.

Gorman’s under-16 boys’ side made it all the way to the grand final before falling to its Victoria Metro counterparts in a 90-63 result.

In the final Gorman pulled down four rebounds, just short of his average for the tournament, on the way to collecting a silver medal.

“We were aiming to have our best game in the last game of the week and just keep getting better the whole time,’’ Country under-16 coach Joel Anderson said.

“When you start off with a loss that’s not hard to think we’re going to get better, but if you had have told me after the first day we’d come second I’d be really happy with it.

“The boys have really committed to getting better every day – 10 per cent better every possession – so I’m really proud of their commitment.

‘‘It would’ve been really easy to pack it in after day one, but they just kept working and working.

“They’re a fantastic team – they’re the most well-mannered kids we’ve had around, they get around each other and get on together the whole time and they’re great to have around off the court as they listen well and always do their best.”

Whitelaw snared a bronze medal with her under-16 Victoria Country girls’ side, defeating NSW Metro 85-48 in the third-placed playoff game.

The Shepparton export had three rebounds in the clash and was at her most productive against Western Australia earlier in the championships with five rebounds, two assists, three steals, a block and two points.

“They wanted to have that game, that one game where they put their offensive game and their defensive game together and this was it,” Country coach Mat Holmes said of the bronze medal playoff.

“We implored them to do it and we knew they could – they really deserved it for all the hard work they’ve put in.

“The girls had some amazing games where they’ve just been really unlucky — couldn’t get the rub in the semi-final game.

“I’m just rapt that they brought that game and it was so good to see them get that reward as a team.

“They’re an amazing group – they’re so receptive to everything you say and they just want to win and want to please everyone and just want to enjoy their basketball the whole time.

“It’s just a fantastic group to work with.”

Fellow Gator Josh Waight was also in Darwin with Gorman and Whitelaw as a team manager.