This team experienced quite the rollercoaster season. Injuries and player unavailability meant they never had a good run at things and consequently spent most of the season hovering in and out of the top six.
Coach Luke Simonette knew if he could just get all his players on the court for consecutive weeks, they might be able to do something special. Thankfully, that happened at the end of the season and they were able to squeak their way into the top six with a win in the final round.
This set up an elimination final for them with the third-placed Hills Raiders. This game was tight all the way through and when Hills went on a little run at the end of the third quarter to take a 9-point lead into the last break, it would have been easy to put the cue in the rack. But our boys kept fighting and scored 25 points to Hills’ 10 in the final quarter to earn their way into a semi-final.
As if playing in a semi-final isn’t stressful enough, how about losing your 5-man to an ACL injury early in the game? This is where the resilience built in the group all season from constant injury and interruption came to the fore. Other players stepped up in the absence of the injured Samuel Burnett and in the end, it would be our Redbacks winning through to the grand final by 7 points over the Warwick Senators who’d only lost twice during the season.
On to the Grand Final and we’d be taking on the Joondalup Wolves who’d only lost once for the season. (Happily, it was to our other Redbacks Div 3 team – so we had some good intel into how to beat them!) Our boys kept the game’s tempo exactly where it needed to be, and executed beautifully on defence to limit Joondalup’s scoring. But in the end, we just couldn’t make enough baskets of our own and Joondalup would go on to record a 71-57 victory.
Well done to coach Luke Simonette, assistant Caleb Kingston and sports trainer Tilli Hofmeester. This was a remarkable effort from you and your team.
Huge congrats to our U16 Division 3 Boys – 2021 WABL Runners-up:
- Basile Allegre
- Samuel Burnett
- Drew Corry
- Kalan Tran
- Taj Racey
- Alistair Hartmann
- Lachlan Steele
- Jack Stahl
- Harrison Clarke
- Ben Wesseldine