Hills Hornets Basketball Association under-12 boys team has won a 2014 Waratah Junior State Championship.
They won the tournament, held in Newcastle and Maitland August 1-3, in style, winning five from five games.
Team member, Joel Turner said the team was exited to reach their goal when they won.
‘‘When we won, I was thinking, ‘Yes! We finally get a gold medal!’’’ he said.
‘‘Our coach used to encourage us to get to our goal, which was a gold medal.’’
The side won the Waratah Junior Metro League but lost the grand final to the Sydney Comets and were able to get back at their arch rivals by beating them soundly (58-45) in the semi-final of the state championship.
‘‘Winning the state championships makes up for losing that grand final,’’ Turner said.
‘‘It felt good beating the Sydney Comets after the [metro] grand final, getting revenge and smashing them in the semis.’’
Eoin Fitzgerald scored a competition-high 85 points in the tournament and Milan Spanovic also placed in top 10 individual scorers, but Turner says there was a team effort behind the win.
‘‘Eoin played really good and got MVP and scored a lot as well,’’ Turner said.
‘‘But the whole team played great defence, which was good.’’
Daniel Trikilis, the team coach, agreed that team play was important.
“I think as a group we moved the ball really well,’’ he said.
‘‘We play great defence and we set the tone from the first game against Illawarra, who were Country Premier League winners, and beat them by about 60,’’ Trikilis said.
Turner thanked the Trikilis for his contribution to the team and to individual’s improvement.
‘‘Our coach is great, he puts in effort and makes us better players,’’ Turner said.
‘‘It was a bit scary at the start of the year when I joined because I didn’t believe I was good but I became more confident with the coach encouraging me and eventually made the starting team.’’
Trikilis was impressed with the improvement in the team.
‘‘There is a lot of time spent working on individual skill sets.’’ Trikilis said.
‘‘From where we started to where we finished I think everyone improved immensely, beyond anything I thought it would be.’’
Trikilis would also like to thank, Dom Finaly, Bernie Slattery and Ari Ripoll, all coaches who helped immensely at training sessions.