FOR much of the year Will Cranston-Lown and Matt Gray have worked together to find success on the basketball court, but last week the pair turned rivals for the School Sports Australia titles.
Both Bathurst Goldminers made it to the 18 years and under decider at Belconnen, Gray as part of the New South Wales line-up while Cranston-Lown represented New South Wales Invitational.
Gray scored 19 points in the grand final and was named the most valuable player in his side, but in the end it was Cranston-Lown who got the gold medal.
Though NSW had won six consecutive games to make the grand final, NSW Invitational pulled off an upset 74-58 win.
“There was 16 points in it at the end and that comes down to the last minutes, I was trying to scramble and steal the ball and fouling and that meant it kinda blew out,” Gray said.
“It was very close before then, we were winning then they were winning, it was close throughout. We were winning for the most part before the second half.
“It was my last school game, so yeah, to get a silver medal, it was pretty disheartening.
“That it was against the other New South Wales team made it a bit harder to swallow as well.”
Gray and Cranston-Lown were not the only Bathurst Goldminers in action at the tournament, with Sara Matthews and Olivia Dobel vying for the 18 years and under girls crown.
Matthews joined Cranston-Lown in winning a gold medal as her NSW side came from third after the round games to beat Queensland 70-60 in the decider.
That came after the Bathurst talent and her team-mates beat Victoria in over-time in their semi-final.
Dobel’s NSW Invitational side placed sixth.
Though Gray was not able to add to the gold medal he won with the state side last year, his impressive effort at the Australian titles added to what has been a stellar season.
He helped the Bathurst Goldminers Youth League men qualify for the division two Waratah League finals weekend and along the way earned the competition’s leading scorer and most valuable player awards.
Gray also spent time playing in the United States – as did Cranston-Lown – where he came under scrutiny from college scouts.
The Canobolas High student is yet to make a decision about his playing future, but he has got a number of options to consider.
“It has been a very big year,” he said.
“I’ve got a bit of college interest, but it’s just waiting it out and seeing where the best fit is for me before I decide where to go.”