SOMETIMES sport transcends the boundaries of athletic competition.
Thursday night's Under 23 Seahawks Championship League grand final was proof it can mean so much more.
The Jono Carroll-coached Warriors emerged in a thrilling decider, holding their nerve late to claim a 60 to 58 triumph under heavy duress from the Mike McGorm-led Comets.
Carroll said while the standard of play was a ringing endorsement for the strength of Warrnambool basketball, there were bigger positives to emerge from the talent-packed competition.
"It was a really good effort from the boys it wasn't even about basketball in the finish, it was just about coming out on a Thursday night and playing after the past couple of years they've had," he said.
"They haven't had much opportunity to play and just being able to see parents and people out watching, coming out to play a good brand of basketball (was great).
"They'll probably look back on this in years to come and not necessarily remember the score but think about the good times they had."
Carroll said his side kept things simple tactically en route to victory.
"We spoke about sharing the ball, looking at attacking especially when they went to the zone.
"They could sit in the zone all day which they almost did because it easy to not move the ball and just sit in spots. But once we got moving the ball zipped around and started to stick to hands.
"We then started to look to attack gaps and that's when we scored so it was a combination of that and playing some good defence down the stretch."
Warriors player Tom Sell said the result was a stark turnaround from the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign.
Comets emerged with a 45-point victory in round one. "We rocked up a little bit with that in the back of our minds sort of thing and came out and made some shots down the stretch," he said.
"That put us in front and it was a big focus in that last minute just to get our defence right after Luamon (Lual) made some important free throws.
"We had a bit of foul trouble but the boys pulled it off. It was good."
Sell said he'd relished the chance to play alongside some of the region's brightest talents.
"There's a few boys in there who are in the Warrnambool squad team in the under 18 championship which is coached by Shane Smith and they've been one of the best in the state the past two or three years," he said.
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"They bring a lot for us, bring a lot of energy for us older blokes to tag along with. They're special and they move the ball so well."
Riley Nicolson was awarded the season defensive player of the year while Marcus Herbert was the overall season most valuable player.
Lual was crowned finals most valuable player and finals defensive player.
Multi-talented athlete Archie Stevens was the highest scorer of the regular season with 92 points, taking out the Sobey Award in honour of the family's contribution to Warrnambool basketball.
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