The Byron Beez junior basketballers have returned from the 2018 Northern Junior League championships in Tamworth with wins in the U/16 boys and U/16 girl divisions.
The U/16 boys are champs for the second year running, after winning the reformatted Country Championship Division (top tier), coach Nash Campbell said.
‘Byron Beez play a fantastic brand of basketball and are often commended for their style of play and attitude to the game. The boys are punching well above their weight competitively against regional teams like Coffs, Port Macquarie and Tamworth,’ he said.
The U/16 girls team went to the finals of the NJL sitting on top of the table with an imposing record of 13 wins and one loss.
The girls lost their first game against the Bellinger Braves, but a good win against Taree set up a rematch with the Braves in the grandfinal.
The game didn’t start how the Beez had planned, and with a first quarter foul count of 6–1, and minimal scoring opportunities, the Beez trailed 19–4 at quarter time.
By half time they trailed 30–24 before edging ahead.
‘The Braves were given a chance to win the game with only six seconds left when they were awarded two free throws that could have tied the game.
‘They missed both shots however, and the Beez secured the ball and their first U/16 girls NJL championship 48–46,’ team coach Matt Ogle said.
Rhiannon Murphy top scored for the game with 15 points and Isis Crawford had 14.
Vivita Lili was awarded MVP in the grandfinal.
The championship win gave the team automatic entry to the State Cup in Sydney overAugust 11–12.
The Byron Beez U/14 girls went to their first NJL finals with just five players and had to face a full strength Tamworth team playing at their home stadium.
Fouls and injury reduced the side to just three players, coach Bret Madden said.
‘The scores were almost even at that point and the three remaining players did amazingly well to stay in the game, at times looking like they would somehow pull out the win.
‘However the full time result saw Tamworth as the victors by a slim margin 37–30.’