Warrnambool primary school teams are Victoria's best

TWO Warrnambool primary schools are riding high after conquering Victoria in basketball and cricket.

St Joseph’s Primary School and Warrnambool East Primary School made the most of trips to Melbourne by returning with Victorian titles.

St Joseph’s defeated Croydon Hills to win the Basketball Victoria Hoop Time championship at the State Netball Hockey Centre on Sunday.

Scores were locked 21-all at full-time, with St Joseph’s winning on a countback courtesy of its 12-10 half-time lead.

In a dramatic finish, Liam Herbert displayed nerves of steel to drop one of his two free throws after the buzzer to secure the tie.

St Joseph’s principal Michael Gray said the basketball title followed state success in football and netball: “That’d be unheard of in Victoria”.

He said the final, a curtain-raiser to the Melbourne Tigers-New Zealand Breakers NBL clash, was “a very competitive game”.

“Everyone was desperate to be in front at half-time. With four seconds to go we had a shot and got fouled,” he said.

“Liam Herbert hit the foul shot which tied the game, which meant we were the winners. The boys knew once he hit that first one we had won.”

Gray said the sporting success reflected well on St Joseph’s. Several of the basketballers were also part of the victorious football team.

“We try and get them all involved in different games. In primary school, we try and have an approach of all sports, not just one,” he said.

“Primary school is about involvement, having a go, learning how to lose and learning how to win. All our teams are good at that.”

The squad members were: Flynn Atchison, Marcus Herbert, Liam Herbert, Dominic Occhipinti, Tom Jenkins, Hayden Rhook, Bayley McGowan, Paddy O’Brien, Jarra Blackney-Noter, Sam Hodgins, Cooper Atchison and Jack Dowd.

Warrnambool East’s state title came courtesy of its girls’ cricket team in Cricket Victoria’s T20 Blast School Cup finals at the MCG on Friday.

The team won its three round-robin matches — two by narrow margins — and defeated Dandenong North in the grand final, 155 to 137.

Warrnambool East physical education teacher John Millard said the school was proud of the girls’ achievements.

He praised their bowling and fielding as being pivotal to lifting them into the grand final.

“The big thing I noticed during the day, because we were playing at the MCG every player would think they contributed throughout the day,” he said.

“Every player had a highlight at some stage. To play on the MCG was fantastic, it really was.”

Millard said he was most pleased the girls’ cricket skills had developed throughout the tournament.

“Our girls have been down to the state final four out of the last five years, but it’s not about that,” he said.

“It’s about getting kids to achieve at that level, testing their skills out at that level.” The squad members were: Bella Rantall, Telicia Brittain, Meg Ludeman, Grace Farrer, Olivia Burn, Amy Morton, Zhane Heremaia, Shona Noske-Poulton, Emerson Knight and Alannah Sharp.

The two schools also had volleyball teams contest state titles on Friday.

St Joseph’s girls’ team finished fifth, while Warrnambool East boys’ team placed third.

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