Junior Seahawks swoop on Bendigo honours

THEY’RE too young to play Big V, but a group of teenage basketballers are doing the Warrnambool Seahawks’ colours proud.

The Seahawks’ under 14 boys’ representative side went through the Bendigo Junior Classic undefeated on the weekend.

Warrnambool defeated Wangaratta, Wodonga, Sunbury and Traralgon on its way to a commanding 54-28 division A grand final win over Bendigo.

The Seahawks, one of 11 teams in the competition’s highest of three under 14 boys’ sections, won the crown on the back of limited preparation. 

They had trained once as a team since Christmas, with higher representative honours taking priority.

Isaac Thomas and Liam Herbert competed at the Australian Junior Country Basketball Cup in Albury and Jay Rantall and Dominic Occhipinti at the Southern Cross Challenge at Knox.

But Warrnambool under 14 coach Tim Rantall said the Seahawks employed a hard-running game style and enjoyed strong depth, which held them in good stead in Bendigo.

“We don’t rely on two or three players — all nine players contribute,” he said.

“The pleasing point from my perspective was how they helped everyone on defence.

“What makes them a good group is that they combine well.”

Rantall, whose son Jay was named MVP, said the Seahawks rattled the hosts in the decider.

“It was a very even team performance. There could have been four or five players who could have got MVP,” he said.

“They pressed very hard against Bendigo and made them make mistakes and turnovers and our transition was very good.”

Warrnambool used the tournament as preparation for the Basketball Victoria Country under 14 championships in April.

The Seahawks’ under 14s won the under 12 country crown two years ago and feature two new players — Isaac Thomas and Cooper Atchison.

“They are progressing very well at the moment and we wanted to go up there and have a look at the sides we’ll play in the country championships in April,” Rantall said of the Bendigo competition.

“It was good to see some of the other sides we’ll play. 

“We’d heard Echuca and Bendigo were very good sides.”

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