Gators enjoy strong showing at Shepparton Junior Basketball tournament

By Aydin Payne

This year's instalment of the Shepparton Junior Basketball Tournament turned out to be a great one on and off the court for Greater Shepparton Basketball Association.

A successfully organised and run event was capped by the Shepparton Gators being crowned champions in the under-16 girls’ A-grade division.

The weekend's grand final triumph followed the under-16 girls’ clinical performance at the Southern Peninsula tournament last month.

The 44th annual tournament had more than 220 teams compete and brought more than 6000 players and spectators to the region, with games hosted at a number of stadiums across the Goulburn Valley.

“It was a really good success,” association general manager Mark Roffey said.

“Everything went smoothly and we had a number of compliments from other basketball clubs on how well run the event was and how great the officiating was, which is always nice to hear.

“And we had roughly between 6000 to 8000 players and spectators attend which is a great boost to the local community.

“I'd like to thank all the volunteers at GSBA for helping put on such a quality tournament.”

But on the court the junior Gators stole the show against their rivals.

Shepparton's under-16s girls went through the weekend undefeated and saluted in the grand final against Traralgon 39-33.

The Gators dominated their opponents from the get-go, crushing Echuca 46-24 in their opening match.

Which was followed by classy wins against Horsham (34-23), Hornsby (33-25) and Mildura (43-28).

Rising star Hannah Onley accumulated 50 points and was the highest scorer for the side, while teammates Isabel Whitelaw (41) and Maia Roberts (17) provided plenty of support.

“Our local teams performed very strongly,” Roffey said.

“We had our under-16 girls claim the A-grade title which was absolutely fantastic.”

And the strong showing from the local sides didn't end there, with the under-14 boys’ A-grade side reaching the semi-final against Bendigo.

The under-16 boys went 2-2 from their four games and enjoyed a stunning 63-31 win against Benalla.

The under-18 boys followed the same fate as the younger side, finishing the weekend with a 2-2 record against quality opposition.

Unfortunately, the Gators’ under-18 girls and all the under-12 outfits were unable to have the same success.

The under-18 girls were no match for undefeated Bendigo and ended with one win from their four matches, while all three under-12 sides went through winless.

More photos from the tournament

Shepparton Gators under-14 boys