Buvette Masthead

ACT girls take basketball bronze at Pacific Schools Games

Jack Braddock

“If a team wants to beat us we have to make them work hard for it. We have to play every moment with the will to win.”

That was the motto of ACT’s 12 and under school girls basketball team when they landed in Adelaide ahead of last week’s Pacific School Games. They were ready to compete. And compete they did.

Heading into the tournament the girls were confident. With one of the strongest teams on paper, they knew they had a great chance of medaling.

The girls looked strong throughout the whole competition, convincingly winning against the Indian and Northern Territory squads on the same day, as well as snatching a pair of two-point wins against South Australia and New South Wales.

The only losses came at the hands of Victoria and Queensland, two tall, talented sides who faced off in the grand final. Due to the tournament not running semi-finals this year, the grand final would be played out by the teams finishing 1st and 2nd on the ladder, making the game against Queensland crucial.

Queensland used their strength and ultimately outmuscled the ACT, but it was anybody’s game up until the final minutes.

ACT finished the tournament with their best ever record at six wins and two losses, sporting bronze medals – the ACT’s first ever medal in that age group.

“The difference in winning and losing games was going to come down to self-belief, determination, perseverance and being able to play at that high intensity for four quarters of basketball,” says coach Jesamine Wheeler.

“The girls were very successful at this, and other than one of their losses, against a strong Victoria side, they were able to consistently start strong and maintain that strength throughout all four quarters.”

One of the team’s key strengths was their strong inside game. Having a notably taller team than the vast majority of the other states allowed the girls to dominate offensively. Another key element to the girls’ success was how well the team gelled during the week, and the support from not only each other, but the families cheering from the sideline.

The boys and girls squads developed great camaraderie, supporting each other through every game and providing that extra push when the games were tight.

Huge congratulations must be given to the girls, who fought hard throughout the week, collecting the bronze medal with a heart-pounding 49-40 win over South Australia.

Photography: Tim Bean Photography

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