Warrnambool Mermaids' under 18 girls team is hoping their winning culture will extend to next month's Junior Country Championships.
The Mermaids took out the championship division at the Bendigo Junior Classic on Sunday, defeating Geelong United 42-22 in the grand final.
Coach Lee Primmer said the classic was a great lead-up to the under-18 country championships, also in Bendigo, in February and believed his squad was among "five-or-six teams" who could win the tournament on "any given day".
The Mermaids were runners-up to Sale at last year's country championships, with eight players bottom-aged at the time.
"They've been able to win most things they go in so they've got a good ethic on winning and that's what they pride themselves on," Primmer said.
It wasn't all smooth sailing on day one of the classic after losing their round two game against Traralgon.
However, re-focusing on their strong defensive work against Bendigo in game three allowed Paiyton Noonan to "shoot the lights out" with 21 points, including five three-pointers.
Matilda Sewell, who returned from three-weeks touring and playing in America, later combined with Noonan for 25 points in the grand final, with point guard Mia Mills named most valuable player for her work running the floor.
"I was pretty confident that we could beat Geelong," Primmer said. "I know what our girls do offensively, we can put together nice scores and if we restrict the other team with good defence I think we give ourselves a chance to go really well when we get to Bendigo for the (country) championships."
Meanwhile, Warrnambool's under 12 girls championship squad were also victorious at the Bendigo Junior Classic with a thrilling two-point grand final win against Traralgon, 33-31.
It's a budding rivalry between Warrnambool and Traralgon, with the former winning two of their three meetings this season.
"We're really evenly match with them," co-coach Louise Brown said. "If we played each other 10 times we'd probably win five. It's rewarding to see them win in pressure situations."
Brown said she and her fellow coach Mia Mills were proud of their players' efforts.
"The girls did very well, everyone in the team contributed," Brown said. "It was great to see them come away with the win. They're great little learners and they just listen and take in every thing you say."
Brown said her team would now look towards tournaments in Portland and Colac, before country championships in April.
In other results at Bendigo, the under 18 boys championship team lost by one point to Wodonga in a grand final, with the under 14 girls development and under 12 boys championship teams also finishing runners-up. At the Eltham Dandenong Junior Basketball tournament, Warrnambool's under 14 boys championship side bowed out in the semi-finals.
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