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Year 10 basketball returns to #1

Basketball year10KO State Champs 2016
State Champs:  Back row - Luke Mollet, Jackson Hately, Alex Winter, Ben Pearson, Hudson Walsh, Kalani Sapwell, Flynn Holt.  Front:  Carmine Esposito, Ethan Bryan, Jed Gauci, Ben Cannizzaro, Mr Rupert Sapwell (Coach).

Nov 17:  The Trinity College Year 10 knockout basketball team has won a second state championship in three years after defeating Henley HS 38-30 in testing conditions Thursday.

With five members of the team backing up from a third-place finish in the Year 8/9 KO finals the previous day, the five-game-in-one-day format was going to seriously test the endurance and willpower of the young group, especially as the mercury nudged past 35 degrees.

Trinity lost the first game of the day to Cabra, but then found their tempo and style and locked down teams in a half-court grind the rest of the day.

A blowout win against Mount Gambier in the second game was a big confidence boost, and a solid win against St Francis (Mount Barker) saw the team through to the finals as the number two seed.

The semi final was another matchup with Mount Gambier, who battled admirably, but with only seven players in the squad, had run their batteries low.  Excellent team play contributed to a dominant second half and a match-up against the undefeated Henley, who had breezed through their minor rounds and were fresh.

From the opening tip, the Trinity team were on.  Rapid baskets from Jackson Hately and Kalani Sapwell gave the team an 8-2 lead which they maintained to the main break.  Despite poor shooting, Trinity's defence was able to curtail the influence of Henley's interior game, and force them to bomb away from the perimeter.  Strong team rebounding allowed Trinity to maintain a lead until consecutive three-pointers from Henley changed momentum and gave them the lead by the end of the third quarter.

The desperate last quarter saw two heavyweights of SA school basketball slug it out, basket-for-basket, until the last couple of minutes where Trinity inched in front.  Trinity's ability to get to the line for free throws made the difference.

It was a tremendous effort from the team, who exceeded expectations and played excellent team basketball to win the title.

Leading from the front, Hately controlled the pace of the games and found cutting team mates for open shots consistently.  Year 10s Luke Mollet and Alex Winter were efficient inside, with Alex in particular making some excellent interior passes for easy scores.

Ben Pearson, Hudson Walsh and Sapwell played the bulk of the guard minutes as the day wore on, while Flynn Holt was being nursed through back tightness to have his tenacious defence available for the final should we have needed it.  Carmine Esposito's ever-present hustle and defence ensured opponents never had easy shots, while Jed Gauci, Ben Cannizzaro and Ethan Bryan each battled through their second-straight day to provide a crucial interior presence in the big moments.  Despite being undersized and overworked, they did an outstanding job.

The result was just dessert for the team which had put a lot of time and effort into this campaign.  But preparation can only take a team so far.  At some stage it comes down to grit and desire, and in the fifth game of the day in 35 degree heat, with bodies screaming and minds fatigued, Trinity was at its grittiest.

Alexander Avenue
Evanston South SA 5116
tel: (08) 8522 0666
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