Warrandyte Venom's senior women gave their coach Justin Nelson the perfect send off with the 2013 Big V Division One title courtesy of a 59-47 win over Geelong. The victory capped a superb season that yielded 18 straight wins all the way to the championship, a fitting finale that has the Venom celebrating two Big V titles following a title win by the Youth Women as well.
With a vocal home crowd on hand to cheer the Venom on, the club enjoyed a memorable night, especially in the second half when Nelson's team went of a 32-14 run to claim victory, an effort the coach credited to his team sticking to structures and relying on their ruthless defence.
"We're the best defensive team in the competition and we are extremely hard to stop when we have our noses in front, so after getting through a nervous first half we settled in and stuck with the ingredients that had got us this far," said Nelson.
"I'm really proud of the girls and delighted for the club. The smiles, the tears, the overwhelming feeling of pride will stay with me for a long time. I'm just so pleased that I could help deliver this title before stepping away from coaching.
"The players have been awesome and, coupled together with our Youth Women's title two weeks ago, we can all sit back now and celebrate a real defining year in the history of Warrandyte Basketball," added Nelson.
Warrandyte's stars on the night included Argentine import Sthefany Thomas with 20 points and power forward Rachael Wansbrough with 11 points and 15 rebounds, though Nelson is quick to point to the team's depth as his biggest weapon.
"I think the team with the greatest depth won the title, enough said. Every single one of our players, I believe, would draw a start with any of our opponents. We are really lucky to have a true team feeling, the girls are so supportive of each other and that sort of attitude wins championships," said Nelson.
"Best of all, we are still so young. The next decade will be one that should yield plenty of success. Warrandyte Basketball is well and truly on the map now and I can only hope that every single junior player celebrates these titles and has aspirations to play in our women and men's teams in the future."
With his last game now behind him, Nelson remained tight-lipped on his professional future having also stepped down as the club's general manager, but he did promise he would be a familiar face in the crowd next season.
"I can't announce just yet what I'm moving on to, I think I need a bit of a break first and to take a deep breath, but regardless of my next role I can assure everyone at Warrandyte that I'll be a passionate spectator in the future and cheering the Venom on.
"Despite some of the fanciful rumours doing the rounds, I can assure you that coaching elsewhere is not on the radar, it's not even close. I've spent seven years coaching the senior women at Warrandyte and I couldn't imagine picking up the whiteboard for any other team."
Members and supporters of Warrandyte Basketball are invited to attend the club's annual awards night on Saturday September 7 from 7pm at the Grand Hotel Warrandyte, which will also couple as Nelson's last official function.
Last Modified on 25/08/2013 22:12