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Open Basketball are State Champions!

Basketball Open KO Champions 2017

Trinity Open A basketball team has claimed the 2017 state championship with a come-from-behind 51-44 victory over Sacred Heart, turning the tables on the 2016 result.
Sacred Heart started the game with guns blazing, bolting out to as much as a 12-point lead in the first quarter, and Trinity were reeling. Campbell Watts (8 points) and AJ Cunningham (5 points) had all of the Trinity first-quarter points as Sacred Heart took a 21-13 lead into the first break.
Trinity only managed 10 points in the second quarter (Brad Skuce had six of them) but the half court defence was resolute, keeping Sacred Heart to just six points. Sacred Heart 27-23 at the half.
In the third quarter the long day began to claim victims. Skuce, Cunningham, Deklan Crook and Ben Pearson all began cramping. Kalani Sapwell was receiving medical attention for a bloody nose and Trinity's depth was being tested. Easy buckets for either side were rare, but a Jackson Walsh three-pointer near the final break gave Trinity a 10-9 quarter and it was 33-36 with ten minutes to play.
Sapwell returned with a vengeance for ten of his 15 points in the final quarter, including an outrageous step-back three that had coaches shaking their heads. Jackson Walsh was the only other scorer in crunch time with two massive three-point plays and another big bucket for eight final quarter points and 13 for the game. Trinity's 18 final-quarter points, coupled with continued desperate defence was enough to overrun Sacred Heart in the final quarter 18-8 and the final 51-44 score line. It was the first Open A state title for Trinity since 2005.
Scorers: Sapwell 15, J Walsh 13, Skuce, Watts 8.
The grand final was a microcosm of the entire finals day. To win the championship, a team must play four 30-minute games and a 40-minute final. It's a gruelling event. Trinity's depth and variety of scoring options was a huge part to the success of the day. In any game, any number of players were able to step up, and there was no doubt Trinity (despite the cramping) had more in their legs in the end. That's how it was in the final – different players stepped up at different times in the game. Another feature of the championship day was the discipline and selflessness with which the team played. Coach Jye Watson asked a lot of the players, and they responded with everything they had. Senior players Campbell Watts, Jackson Walsh and Alex Roberts were a huge presence inside all day, battling for rebounds and providing the team with timely, high-percentage baskets. AJ Cunningham and captain Brad Skuce were very poised and provided exactly the type of level-headedness that is required in such a heavy format. They often put aside their own offensive games to get better shots for their team mates, and whenever there was an important loose ball, one of them seemed to reel it in. Deklan Crook provided explosive pockets of play that always counted in big moments. Hudson Walsh, Alex Winter and Ben Pearson scrambled relentlessly on defence, forcing turnovers and bad opposition shots, while also maintaining excellent ball movement offensively when we needed it. Finally, year nine players Ben Cannizzaro, Ethan Bryan and Kalani Sapwell ensured the winning culture will be in good hands for a few more years to come. The confidence and poise that Sapwell was able to display in the final as a year nine boy was impressive.
Trinity went through undefeated on the day – winning past Cabra, a talented Henley High School and St Peter's in the minor rounds, and comfortably accounting for Tenison Woods (Mount Gambier) 50-28 in the semi final.

Congratulations to the 2017 Open Boys State Champions!

Pictured: Back Row: Campbell Watts, Ben Cannizzaro, Jackson Walsh, AJ Cunningham, Alex Roberts, Ethan Bryan, Deklan Crook, Jye Watson (Coach). Front Row: Brad Skuce (Captain), Ben Pearson, Alex Winter, Hudson Walsh, Kalani Sapwell.

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