WARRNAMBOOL'S emerging basketballers showed what they're capable of in their Big V debuts at the weekend.
Seahawks teenager Malakye Cunningham top-scored with 18 points in his side's narrow 72-66 loss to Bulleen on the road on Saturday night.
Mermaids' first-gamers Molly McLaren, who is just 14, Mia Mills, Paiyton Noonan and Matilda Fitzgerald showed positive signs in their 85-46 defeat to Camberwell Dragons on Sunday.
New Seahawks coach Alex Gynes said Cunningham, who had four-of-eight shooting from three-point range, embraced the challenge.
"He was great. He strung a few shots together in the flow of our offence in the second quarter which was great to see," he said.
"It gave him a lot of confidence and it's only upwards from here for him."
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Mermaids assistant coach Jono Carroll, who was standing in for Lee Primmer, said the team's average age was 19.
He said the debutants adjusted to the higher level.
"It was good for them to see what the competition is like," Carroll said.
"They held their own against women. Molly was great.
"She gave us some really good energy off the bench. She had eight points, she was equal top-scorer.
"The (other three debutants) weren't daunted by the occasion and they hit the scoreboard as well."
The Seahawks were two points down at quarter-time against Bulleen but swung momentum to be seven points up at the main break.
Their lead was narrowed to five points at the final change before the Boomers outscored them 20-9 in the last term.
"I was very proud of the boys, there were a lot of positives to take out of it and to hang in and dig deep to the end was fantastic," Gynes said.
"It fluctuated throughout the game. It was a grind-out game."
The experienced James Mitchell and emerging pair Jarra Blackney-Noter and Riley Nicolson impressed the coach.
"James was great. He moved off the ball and got to the right spots," Gynes said.
"Jarra did well in the back-up point guard spot. He came in and was confident.
"Riley did a fantastic job inside. I think he picked up eight rebounds and did a good job on the glass."
Gynes expects Bulleen to be one of the higher-ranked teams in division one this season.
He said the fact his team, without injured veteran Tim Gainey, could compete off a limited pre-season was exciting.
"Their ball pressure was really good and forced us into a lot of turnovers, especially in the second half, which in all honesty was to be expected, given the short amount of time we've been on the floor together," Gynes said.
Carroll said he enjoyed leading the Mermaids for the first time.
"It was a good experience. Obviously coaching boys throughout my career, it was my first stint in charge of the girls," he said.
"You can fault them with their effort and energy. It was just a few things that we'll go back to training track and work on.
"They were aware of that and we had a pretty good discussion afterwards.
"It was good to get it out of the way because two weeks ago we were looking down the barrel of maybe not even playing in the competition.
"With the year we had previously not playing (because of the coronavirus pandemic), it was good to get back on the court."
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