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Contributed by coach Steve Markham.
(our photo shows the U16 Suns men during the NJL Finals weekend).
The Coffs Suns U16 Boys headed to the finals in Grafton after finishing third in the competition proper.
The team knew the weekend games could go either way as all the teams had been evenly matched throughout the year, our first game against Port Macquarie started well as the Suns jumped to a quick lead with excellent team work.
Port made a run towards the end of the third quarter but Jack Parker sparked the Suns into action with a couple of full court layups and scoring contributions from Patrick and Ben Griffiths, Coffs were good enough to finish the game with a three point win 60 - 57.
In the Preliminary final Suns met the Armidale side in what was to be another nail biter; the Suns got off to another good start with and were hitting their shots and playing some good hustling defence from Luke Judd. But a recurrence of a back injury to livewire guard Cooper Patricks saw Armidale gain some momentum and take the lead for the first time in the game early in the fourth quarter, with a minute to go Nick Markham hit a couple of three pointers to get Coffs into the lead.
Great efforts at both ends by Harry Griffiths and Jack Maunder kept the team in front. Mitch Mihai deserves special mention for his efforts in containing Armidale’s key player, Mitchell’s effort assured Coffs Harbours win 68 – 67 placing them in the final against Tamworth.
The final against Tamworth started well with the Suns getting out to a 10 point lead early but the spoiling tactics of the Tamworth defence took its toll and eventually Tamworth were victorious in a low scoring Final.
Coffs Harbour should be very proud of the way these young men conduct themselves on and off the court, with the team being complimented by the BNSW referees supervisor and parents from opposing teams about their behaviour throughout the competition.
As coach I could not be happier or more proud of this great group of players.