Four divisions of Ararat Redbacks travelled to Warrnambool at the weekend to take on teams across the region in the Seaside Classic tournament.
The under-12 boys’ team competed in division two.
The team came up against Colac and Millicent on the first day.
Coach Craig Cooper said he could see the improvement in players’ skills from the previous tournament, in Hamilton.
“They pushed hard and applied pressure to Colac for the entire game,” he said.
Redbacks lost the game, 15-28.
In an evenly contested game, Cooper credits the team applying full-court pressure from the beginning.
“They transitioned the ball well from defence to offence and applied pressure to score. From the boys’ efforts as a team, they were able to win their first game as a team and it was a fantastic result,” he said.
The final score was 25-16.
On Sunday the Redbacks team went up against Port Fairy – a team they had played at a tournament in Hamilton.
“They appeared to have some taller players this time around and that made it tough for the boys. They applied the same determination as in their previous game but that was not enough this time,” Cooper said.
The final game was against Horsham Blue.
“The team didn't start well and with about eight minutes gone, they were down 10-0,” Cooper said.
The players rallied with the final score, Horsham 30 to Redbacks 12.
Cooper said the tournament was a positive weekend for the group and they were able to apply the hard work they have done at training.
“The evidence was they were able to apply pressure offensively and defensively. They were able to take plenty of shots in each game. This was an area of improvement,” he said.
Conversion is an area Cooper said the team needed to work on.
“This will be an area of focus over the next few weeks leading into the Horsham tournament. The team played well defensively and were able to transition the ball up the court under pressure, this was a big improvement,” he said.
“There is plenty of positive signs going forward for these boys.”
The Redbacks’ under-14 team started its campaign in winning style, dominating against Whittlesea 32 to 14.
The team’s second game was against a very tall and well-drilled Colac side.
Colac defeated the Redbacks and went on to win the division two premiership.
Joint coach Mandy Sladdin said the team backed up their loss with a well fought-out game against Warrnambool.
“After an evenly competitive game, with leads changing regularly, Warrnambool came out on top by seven points,” she said.
The team took on Warrnambool again in the semi-final.
“Unfortunately they could not get over the line to earn their spot in the grand final,” Sladdin said.
“We saw some positive signs for this new team. We were exposed to some areas that need more work before heading to our next tournament.”
The under-16 team played their first tournament for the 2018-19 season.
The team were the outright premiers for the tournament in division two after winning four qualifying games and finishing at the top of their pool.
The team won the grand final against Colac, 43 to 28.
Coach Megan Shea said the boys expected a tough weekend because it was their first tournament together.
“The squad has a few new members and despite set plays not being refined yet, the boys played exceptionally well,” she said.
The first game on Saturday delivered the team's first win against arch-rivals Terang, 63-37.
“This was a great game, giving the team great percentage and also gave the boys confidence going into the rest of the tournament,” Shea said.
Alec Carthew rebounded offensively and he converted well.
The team’s second game was against Whittlesea.
Flynn Toner had a strong presence under the ring with the team securing a 55-30 win.
Sunday’s game was a close encounter with Colac but came away winners 33-25.
“Henry Shea and Fletcher Burger both played tight defence and were pivotal players in this match,” Shea said.
The team beat Warrnambool 54 -11 in the game before the grand final.
“Tom Cousins made many shots and applied amazing defensive pressure everywhere over the court,” Shea said.
The team had a shaky start to their grand final tilt, but adapted quickly to Colac’s game plan.
Shea said captain Jordan Cox played close checking defence on Colac’s tall centre
“That gave the boys the confidence to get back in the game,” Shea said.
“The team are looking at training hard and getting themselves ready for the next tournament.”
The Under-18 team had a mixed tournament with two wins and two losses.
Their campaign was off to a flying start, defeating Terang 40-24.
Coach Donna Spalding said the team started the tournament strongly.
“The boys worked hard in defence and drove strongly to the basket,” she said.
The Redbacks lost to Mt Gambier in their second game 34-41.
“Matthew Spalding left the third game against Warrnambool with a knee injury. After Spalding went off, the boys found it hard to focus. Warrnambool played with composure and was able to play to their strengths,” Spalding said.
Ararat was defeated, 38-43.
The under-18 team matched up against Hamilton in their only game on Sunday.
“To the boys’ credit they played their own game and were able to win comfortably by 16 points,” Spalding said.
Spalding said although it was a disappointing result, there were positive signs.
“Jezza Woods had a successful weekend and was well supported by Luke Spalding. Aidan Hateley started to use his size under the post and this was evident in the game against Hamilton,” she said.
“Young guns Will Lawrie, Alex van Opstal and Logan McKinnis are all showing signs of improvement.”
Spalding said the team would work towards playing consistent basketball.
“In the end, this is what cost them a chance to play in the final,” she said.