Finals went to The Cage prior to the Tigers Vs Crocs NBL game on Sunday 18th December. In what is becoming a sought after tradition for the Final 2 teams in the Senior ASB & ASG. The teams arrived at 5:00 to get prepared and soak in the atmosphere. After a brief few words of encouragement from Melbourne Tigers legend Warrick Giddey prior to walking out onto the centre court at the State Netball Hockey Centre, the two teams were ready to get things underway.
In front of at least 400+ parents, family, siblings and Tigers fans, the Senior All Star Girls Championship Final Tipped off at 5:45pm between Hartwell PS & Bimbadeen Heights PS.
The game started off strongly as both teams came out hard. It was quick and fast paced early on as both teams tried to find their feet and sneak their noses in front. It went goal for goal and free throw for free throw for the entire first 8 minutes. As predicted early on there wasn’t a lot that could split the teams. But it was Hartwell with the smallest of advantages after capitalising slightly better from the line late in the half. Leading by 1point at the main break after a number of lead changes.
With the game well and truly still in the balance, the crowd certainly were getting into the game and showing their support for the girls. It was Hartwell who came out after the break and got some clutch baskets inside the key early on to jump out to a 7 point advantage. After a timeout to settle the nerves and stem the flow of the 0-6 start to the second half, Bimbadeen came out and turned the game on its head. And in a tense few moments got the game back to a 1 point ball game with a minute on the clock.
Despite a number of chances to take the lead for Bimbadeen, it was Hartwell who got the last basket of the game and held possession for the last few seconds to seal an incredible 3 point win. The Hartwell supporters and the girls going ballistic after the final buzzer went. It was a great game and a great standard from both girls’ teams. It was Hartwell PS first ever McDonald’s Hoop Time State Championship and while Bimbadeen Heights will have to wait another year to try and capture that elusive 6th Title, they can certainly hold their heads up high on a fantastic never say die attitude!
After a short 30 minute break for the NBL teams to have their warm up shoot around it was the Senior Boys turn to light up Centre court as Yarra Road PS & Caulfield South PS went toe to toe. With the game tipping off at 6:45pm the crowd was beginning to grow steadily and well over 1000+ people were in attendance from start to end which created a fantastic atmosphere throughout the whole game and one I’m sure the boys will not forget for some time. It really felt like how a State Final should be, in front of a big crowd all cheering and chanting. The stuff that gives you nerves when you’re playing, and Goosebumps if you are watching!
Yarra Road PS were looking to complete a rare feat in 2011 by claiming the ‘double-crown’ of the School Sport Victoria (SSV) State Championship as well as the McDonald’s Hoop Time State Championship in the same year. Caulfield South PS were coming in as the underdogs for sure, but they came ready to play and jumped out of the blocks early and put their more fancied opponents well and truly on the back foot in the opening minutes. Jumping out to a 7-2 lead. It was just a great paced game, just as it was in the girl’s game. Yarra Road eventually knuckled down mid-way through the first 8 minutes and managed to settle into some sort of groove, but Caulfield South were matching them up and down the court and took a handy 3 point lead into the main break.
The Caulfield South fans were up and about early on in the second half as their team led in the early stages, but Yarra Road showed why they already had one State title to their names this year with some big baskets early on to take the lead for the first time in the game with just over 4 minutes remaining. Caulfield South threw everything at them and after the lead changed hands 3 times, Yarra Road held their nerve and started to just hit the shots that were not falling down the other end for Caulfield South. In the end the time ran out for the boys in blue and gallant as they were, they just couldn’t make a dent in the margin as Yarra Road won a very hard fought game by 6 points to take the title. There were scenes of jubilation and relief from the players, coach and supporters at the final buzzer from the Yarra Road side, and you could see that it meant a lot to see the journey through to the end.
Yarra Road PS entering into the history books by claiming their first ever Hoop Time State Championship and the rare ‘double-crown’ in what turns out to be a big year for the school. For Caulfield South, it was such a gallant effort and they did themselves and their school very proud, they will have to wait another 12 months to see if they can claim that elusive first ever State title. It was a wonderful final to finish the McDonald’s Hoop Time year.
Well done to everyone involved it was a night certainly to remember! Until next year…
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