TOP results at the top end came the way of Bathurst players during the recent School Sport Australia Secondary Basketball Championships in Darwin.
Will Cranston-Lown, Sara Matthews, Matilda Flood and Teagan Burke (assistant coach) capped off strong campaigns with gold medals, each finding grand final successes against arch rivals Victoria.
Victory over Victoria was all the more satisfying for the Bathurst contingent considering that they’d each lost to their southern rivals during the pool stage.
Cranston-Lown’s 12 points helped NSW bound away from Victoria in the fourth quarter as the boys in blue bagged a 78-68 win.
Flood and Matthews hit 11 and 10 points respectively in their 68-62 grand final success, where NSW steadily drew ahead after a 29-all half-time score.
Flood’s consistent performance across the competition earned her a place in the Australian Merit Team.
Matthews’ individual tournament-high 19 point performance came in NSW’s win over Western Australia. Cranston-Lown reached the same mark in his game against Queensland.
Cranston-Lown said it’s always satisfying to beat Victoria on the court.
“It was a really good result. We went into that final as the underdogs and everyone would have been expecting us to fall again,” he said.
“We realised what they were good at after that first game and knew who their shooters were. We just played better defensively and played better as a team in the next game.
“Our goal was to get better every game and that’s what we did throughout the week.”
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Cranston-Lown began his tournament in style by helping NSW demolish Western Australia 100-51.
Victoria proved too good in a 70-60 win before NSW finished the pool stage with wins over Queensland (92-35) and DBA/SSNT Invitational (107-50).
The NSW boys then hammered Queensland again in a semi-final rout, 115-54, before turning the tables on Victoria in the decider with a clinical performance.
Matthews, Flood and Burke found themselves in trouble early in the tournament with back-to-back losses against Queensland (65-63) and Victoria (63-51).
With the finals place on the line the Bathurst trio recovered to down Western Australia (81-50), ACT (82-36) and DBA/SSNT Invitational (84-35) to ensure a semi-final meeting with Queensland.
NSW made a huge turnaround to down Queensland 72-50 and kept their momentum going into the grand final.
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