Hills Hornets win two Waratah League basketball titles


Vital cog: Casey Samuels was an important part of the victoriousHornets Youth League Women's team. Picture: photoexcellence.com.au

Vital cog: Casey Samuels was an important part of the victoriousHornets Youth League Women's team. Picture: photoexcellence.com.au

The Hills Hornets put the icing on their Waratah League basketball cake this weekend, with two teams winning grand finals and a third finishing runner-up.

Having three sides make the finals weekend in Maitland was already a great result for the club, now the Youth League Women and State League Men sides are bringing home first place trophies.

The youth women dominated the weekend on the way to the club’s first championship in that division, beating Sydney Comets, 71—49 in the semi-final and Sutherland Sharks, 88—69 in the grand final.

Team coach Josh Chapman said the team’s unity and team play set their foundation all year and showed up when it counted.

‘‘The girls played unbelievably as a team, starting with great defense that lead into great offence,’’ he said.

‘‘Our biggest strength has been our team game and trust with each other and that showed right through until the grand final.’’

Two core players on the side showed leadership all year and were a steadying influence on the side.

‘‘Great leadership started with Casey Samuels and Andrea Roditis,’’ Chapman said.

‘‘On the court they both bring a very steadying role and off the court they bring the team together and make sure no one is left out.’’

Andrea Roditis was named most valuable player (MVP) of the grand final and Bailey Toleafoa was named defensive player of the year and for the grand final.

Casey Samuels was named to the all star five and was the season’s top scorer, while Josh Chapman was named coach of the year.

Chapman also wanted to thank the Hills Association and Tracey Samuels who had been his coaching mentor.

The State League Men won the title after a weekend of closer games than the youth women.

They overcame a two point deficit after three quarters to beat Sutherland Sharks 59—51 in the semi-final and held on during a frantic finish to beat Lithgow Lazers 75—74 in a tense grand final.

Men’s coach Reece Brown said the last few minutes were very exacting.

‘‘I pretty much had a heart attack in the last game; I went a little bit grey,’’ he said.

Brown said the team deserved all the credit for their great work this season.

‘‘Their pure determination was great – getting to training twice a week all season proved that – and this was their goal the whole time,’’ Brown said.

‘‘I think our defence was better than everyone else’s, honestly.

‘‘That’s why they’re champions, because they can defend anyone out of the game.’’

Michael Farrel was named MVP of the final and Daniel Garland was named in the all star team.

Unfortunately the Hornets Championship Women could not make it three from three titles, despite putting in one of the games of the season to defeat Norths Bears 83—68 on Saturday afternoon.

The girls were unable to back up against a red hot Hornsby team in the grand final, going down 94—63.

Casey Samuels and Jamie Samuels were both named to the All Star five and rookie Bailey Toleafoa won the award for the highest field goal percentage for the season.

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