Under 16 National Championships – Perth
Rebekah O’Donnell Update

Day 1 – Saturday

Vic Metro opened the tournament with a tough game against last years finalist NSW Country. Rebekah played a major part in the teams 59-55 win.  She recorded 5 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes on the floor.  Not a bad debut for your first game at the National Championships and we hope the winning ways will continue. Live scores for the tournament games can be found at www.nationals.basketball.net.au just remember Perth is two hours behind.

Tomorrows Schedule
9.00am vs Northern Territory
5.00pm vs South Australia Country

Day 2 – Sunday

First up today for the girls was Northern Territory.  In a game similair to that of the Under 18’s, NT where always going to be physical outmatched by their bigger and more skillful opponents.  In a commanding display Vic Metro recorded a 100-21 trashing.  Rebekah helped the Vic’s with 11pts and 5 rbds in 20 minutes, continuing her good form.  She will be called upon to play a major role in the teams second game on the day scheduled for 5.00pm (Perth Time).

Vic metro lined up for their second game of the day against a talented SA Country line up.  Metro got down 21-4 early but managed to work their way back into the game and record a 71-55 victory.  Bec was again hand for the team finishing with 10pts and 3 rebounds in 26 minutes. Vic Metro now move to 3-0 with WA Metro up next.

Tomorrows Schedule
5.00pm vs West Australia Metro

Day 3 – Monday

Vic Metro played the unbeaten WA Metro in their 4th game of the championships and we challenged throughout the match.  In a close game the Vic’s built a 66-52 victory and moved to 4-0 for the championships.  Kilsyth’s Rebekah O’Donnell again impressed with 9 points and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes. Bec and the team now have a well deserved rest day tomorrow before taking on the ACT at 3.30pm Wednesday.

Remember you can keep up to date with Bec’s progress through live stats at www.nationals.basketball.net.au

Day 4 – Tuesday

Day Off

Day 5 – Wednesday

After a well deserved day off, Bec and the team faced the ACT and after soon early resistance were able to push onto another comfortable victory and move to 5-0 guaranteeing top spot in their pool for the semi finals on Friday.  Bec was again a major contributor with 5 points and 5 rebounds in the 69-29 win.

Next up is the final pool game on tomorrow against Queensland Nth

Day 6 – Thursday

After moving to 5-0 yesterday Vic Metro were scheduled to play Queensland Nth today in their final pool match.  Once again it was a non-contest as Metro recored a 56 points victory 92-36 against the Northern counterpart.  The game proved to be a great warm up for the Semi Final against NSW Metro tomorrow for the opportunity to play in the U/16 National Final Saturday.  Bec finished this game with 5 points and 7 rebounds as she continued to put together a solid campaign.

In Pool B SA Metro have set the pace like Vic Metro winning all six games including a 9 point win over NSW Metro today.

Tomorrows Semi Final between Vic Metro and NSW Metro will be played at 5.00pm Perth time with live stats available from www.nationals.basketball.net.au from 7.00pm Melbourne time.

Good Luck to Bec and the team for the National Semi Final

Day 7 – Friday

Once again Vic Metro proved to strong defeating their toughest opponent to date 68-55.  Bec played a massive role for the Vic’s recording 11 points and 2 rebounds.  Metro must now prepare for the National Championship game against the unbeaten South Australia Metro.

Day 8 – Saturday National Championship Day

Everything went perfectly to plan as Vic Metro and Bec ran away with the National Championship to make it 3/3 for Vic Metro in 2008.  Bec finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds.  In a fantastic game SA Metro were no match for their prepared counterparts of the Vic’s dominated from tip off to win the National Championship.

Congratulations Rebekah O’Donnell on helping Vic Metro win the Under 16 National Title 

Under 18 National Championships – Ballarat
Coaches Diary – Ben Turner

Day 1 – Friday

We arrived in Ballarat yesterday to get ready for the Championships which begin on Saturday.  We play Queensland Nth in our first game before playing two games on Sunday. Today we are off to training before attending the Technical meeting tonight.  The first two days allows us to set up at our accommodation, train and get everything in order for Championships week.  We have welcomed three girls from the Australian Institute of Sport back into the group and will be looking to get them up to date with the team over the next few training sessions.

I will update everyone more specifically after each game, so bring on Qld Nth.  You can keep up to date with all games at the Under 18 National Championships by going to the Basketball Australia website www.basketball.net.au and clicking on the live stats link.

Day 2 – Saturday

Finally, game day is here, after six months of preparation we were scheduled to play Queensland North. Having not seen Queensland play, we went into the game not knowing what they would throw at us.  We went out hard in the 1st quarter, with the team excited to be playing our first game.  With Rebecca Cole doing a defensive assignment of North’s shooter Jillian Haughton.  We played consistently throughout the game managing to build a 88-48 victory.  Rachel Jarry top scored with 29pts and 17 rbds.  It has been a challenge including Jarry, Alice Kunek and Liz Cambage back into the group, they are all based at the Australian Institute of Sport and we have prepared without them being available.  They will continue to get better as the week goes on.  Tomorrow is a big day we have two games against WA Metro in the morning and the important one against NSW Country at 7.00pm.

Day 3 – Sunday

Today we woke up early for our first game at 9.00am against WA Metro, they did not play on Day 1 so we were not able to scout them and went into the game in a similar position to that of Queensland North, not knowing a whole lot about their structure. It was a tough game but again we manage to play throughout managing foul trouble to Sam Creed and Alice Kunek as well as some niggling injuries.  At half time the score was 44-27 with WA metro in with a chance.  After a half time message we went out with a mission in the 3rd and were able to push the result beyond doubt going onto a 83-46 victory.  After recovery and a rest we prepared for a tough game against NSW Country.  At last years Under 16 Championships, we played the NSW Country in the final and it was a tough game which we won by 11.  This was there opportunity for some payback, so we had to be well prepared for this crucial pool match up that would determine the success of our week.  We started the game very well pushing the lead out to as many as 17 points throughout the first three quarters. NSW Country built a comeback to be within 2 points going into the 4th term and look like they could cause an upset.  Once again we had to manage foul trouble to Alice Kunek and Rachel Jarry but after a spirited opening 4 minutes of the 4th term we were able to push the lead out to 11 and went onto win by 10 points 61-51.

We are looking forward to our rest day tomorrow to manage some tired and sore players but will begin preparing for a crucial day 4 match up with the ACT.

Day 4 – Monday

Today is rest day, after playing two games yesterday and picking up two wins, today was a great day for the girls to rest, and us coaches to scout some of the competition.  We are preparing for our game against the ACT tomorrow, they will be playing our opponent on Wednesday South Australian Country.  It was busy few days for the team but we were able to set our tournament up with three early wins.  After training today we went off to scout our upcoming opponents in both our pool and possible match ups for the cross over games.

Day 5 – Tuesday

Today was a massive test of our teams progress and we can out in front.  In the past the ACT have been a challenge for Vic Metro and have resulted in many challenging games.  We prepared the team to take advantage of an ACT team that has been struggling throughout the week, and despite a close first quarter that is what we were able to do.

After a great training session and scout during the morning we traveled to the Minerdome for 5.00pm game.  ACT have an excellent inside presence in Caitlin Rowe and we went out to shut her down from the opening tip.  Morgan Pink played a great role shutting down Rowe and restricting her to just 3 points in the game.  After a tight first term we led 20-7, ACT responded in the 2nd quarter keeping up with the pace to go into the half down 14.  We re-focused the team at half time and let them know that we needed to make a statement at the defensive end.  We did just that holding the ACT to just 7 points while scoring 15 of our own to extend the lead to 22.  The last quarter was even better an Liz Cambage came on to score 23 points in 14 minutes allowing us to move to an impressive 72-38 victory.  With 4 wins under our belt we look forward to South Australia Country tomorrow who are also unbeaten.

Day 6 – Wednesday

After a big win last night the girls came out tired today which resulted in a less than ideal training session.  After scouting a game between Vic Country and SA Metro who we could possible meet in the semi finals we returned to prepare the team for the game. After five tough days of competition the girls were looking tired and a bit sore. We went to the game a little worried but after some early instructions we raced to a 10-2 lead in the opening minute of the game Rachel Jarry had 8 of those points.  We continued to score in the first term but struggled at the defensive end to lead 29-18 at the break.  We needed to refocus the team about our defensive rules and expectations at 1/4 time and made mention to the 18 points we had given up in the opening 10 minutes.

We responded holding SA Country to just 4 points for the 2nd quarter and went into the half time break leading by 26.  We Northern Territory tomorrow and semi finals on Friday we needed to get the most out of this contest.  We continued to ask for a greater defensive intensity and offensive smarts in the 3rd to continue to prepare for Fridays semi.  Giving up just 16 points in the second half we scored 44 of our own to record a 92-38 win over a talented SA Country team who can still make Semi’s with a win tomorrow.

Liz Cambage again dominated finishing with 28 points in 15 minutes and Rachel Jarry finished with 16.  We play NT tomorrow afternoon and will be scouting our opponent for Friday’s semi which will be the winner of the Qld South v Vic Country game.

Day 7 – Thursday

Today we prepared to play a Northern Territory team who have yet to win a game at the 2008 tournament. After a tough few days we decided to give the team a break from training and headed to the bowling alley for a few entertaining games of ten-pin bowling, with top place in pool A secured, us coaches traveled to the stadium to scout our opponent for the semi final.  Queensland South were up against Vic Country with the winner advancing to play us in the semi.  It was a tight game but Queensland were to good down the stretch to get the win.  Following our pre-game meeting we went to the freezing cold Wendoree Netball Centre to play our final pool game.  It was always going to be a difficult game for both teams, NT are traditionally undersized and lack the polish of other states due to the population.  We came out and had 6’9″ Centre Liz Cambage being guard by girls who were no taller that 5’6″.  In a friendly game we came out winners by 66 points 96-30 and put in place some preparation for our semi final tomorrow.

Queensland South have had a good tournament to date beating Vic Country and a talented South Australia Metro team.  They will be a test of our teams progress with our aim being to play the winner of the NSW Metro – SA Country Semi in Saturdays National Final.  With a 5.00pm tip off tomorrow, we will train in the morning and scout the other semi final at 1.00pm before preparing for our game.

Day 8 – Friday

Semi Final day, after all the hard work we were finally at the exciting end of the tournament.  Queensland South our opponent had lost just one game for the tournament and defeating SA Metro and Vic Country during the pool rounds.  We went through our normal daily schedule, training, ice baths, lunch, pre-game meal, pre-game meeting before getting to the stadium for the 5.00pm game.

By this time we already knew who had gone through to the Grand Final with NSW Metro defeating SA Country in the