THIS year hasn't been terribly kind to a lot of sporting teams around the city, and it's been especially tough on a lot of under 18s players who have missed the opportunity to play out one more season of juniors before taking the big step up to seniors.
The Bathurst Goldminers could count themselves a part of that group - but several members of their under 18s girls side have at least been able to end their time in the program on a high note.
The Goldminers squad took part in the weekend's Metro League competition, a small but strong event bringing together four associations.
Considering their lack of competitive basketball in 2020 the Goldminers produced excellent performances across their three pool games, winning two out of three to book their place in the final.
Unfortunately for the Goldminers they came undone for the second game running against familiar rivals Cootamundra, but added another classic game to their long running list of great contests through the years.
Stand-in coach Jess Matthews said the side jumped at the opportunity to play in one last competition.
"I think a lot of them were just happy that they could get out there and play, because a lot of them are top age, so this is their last competition with Goldminers as juniors," she said.
"They were upset not to get their regular season so they were very happy to have something to play in.
"There's been a couple of tournaments that they've been preparing for which were cancelled due to COVID so it was really good for them to have something still going on."
Goldminers picked up wins against Moss Vale and Springwood in the group stage but couldn't find a way around Cootamundra.
The Bathurst girls regrouped for the final and played with plenty of heart, though a classy Cootamundra side repeated their earlier result.
"It's definitely been a great rivalry. Over the last few years in particular they've had a great run against each other. It was good to see," Matthews said.
"We have a couple of bottom age players who will be back playing next year, provided there is a comp, but quite a few were top age and this was their last thing as juniors.
"We've picked our teams for next season, they've started their training and we're all moving forward now."
There was no Western Junior League season in 2020 due to COVID-19 but Goldminers teams will be preparing for a hopeful return of the competition next year should the situation around the virus continue to improve.
Goldminers players have also been enjoying the return of D-League over the course of November.