North Adelaide U14 Div 1 Boys Win Bronze at Australia U14 Club Championships 2016
On 24th September 2016, the Under 14 Division 1 (BOYS) headed off to Sydney to participate in the 2016 U14 Australian Championships held in Newcastle and Maitland - for most of them, their first taste of National competition. This was the first year where both boys and girls were held in the same region.
Fortunately for us, a few boys in the team (Fiston Ipassou, Darcy McDonald, Riley Real & Head Coach: John Della Pia) knew what to expect for the upcoming week as they were lucky enough to experience the Nationals last year. They knew the eight games were going to be tough playing up against the top 24 U14 BOYS teams in Australia.
First game up, after the opening ceremony was against host team Newcastle Hunter. The boys cruised for the victory 93-58 - this big win was crucial at the end of the pool games.
The next day they had two games, Diamond Valley Eagles in the morning. After leading through most of the game, unfortunately the boys got to the wrong side of the run going down 58-46.
Followed by Townsville Heat, another close game and unfortunately going down 65-62.
Due to the winning margin of the Newcastle game, this secured the spot in the top 2 of their pool and the opportunity to play in the Championship division.
First of the cross over games saw us come up against home team rivals, Norwood which were going in undefeated in their pool games.
We knew this would be a hard fought out game but the boys did not disappoint. Close game form the start, a number of lead changes but we see the boys prevailing 72-68.
After that game it was time for a night with all the parents and relax at dinner.
The next day we came up against Hawthorn Magic. The boys continued to fight hard and took out the high scoring game with a 74-70 win.
With those two wins the boys we onto the Championship Finals, playing for a spot in the top 4 up against North Bears from Sydney, we finished them off with a great win 68-54 – securing a spot in the Top 4 which was a fantastic achievement!
Our next game up was against the undefeated and the ‘in-form’ team of Sydney Comets. The boys did play up against this team earlier in the year at the Classics in which the Rockets won, but unfortunately this time went down 56-38 to the eventual winners of the Championships.
Last day of competition and the 8th game for the tournament, the Rockets were up against Knox - they were the runners up in the Victorian State Championship.
The boys were all pumped and excited with the game being lived streamed so family and friends could all watch at home. There was a huge crowd in a very packed stadium and some great support from some of the other SA teams.
Final siren sounded and the boys finished with a 66-54 win and won that bronze medal, 3rd in Australia!
The Gold medal match was played by Sydney Comets playing against their home team rivals, the Hills Hornets. With Comets taking out the Championship Gold Medal.
The whole team played well, they were all committed to their roles and most of all, they showed great support on and off the bench.
A number of Thank You’s to the following:
- Both John Della Pia and Stephen Kellis for all their work they have put in for the whole year to prepare the boys for Nationals.
- Joel Juncken for the extra coaching support in Nationals.
- Ryan Real for the additional scouting and videoing of the tournament.
These four guys worked hard the whole week to prepare the boys for the upcoming games.
A BIG Thank You to Amy Kellis for helping the whole week to look after all the boys - making sure they were all fed and had clean uniforms for every game.
And last but not least, TO ALL THE PARENTS!!!! The endless support for the whole year, getting them to and from all games and trainings. Organising all the fundraising activities to get the boys to both Classics and Nationals, couldn’t have done it without them.
Manager – U14 Division 1 BOYS
North Adelaide Rockets
P.S. John Della Pia, Head Coach, wishes to sincerely thank Kelly Real, Amy Kellis, Stephen Kellis, Joel Juncken, Rylan Real, all the players and the parent support group.
Special thanks to all the sponsors and the North Adelaide Basketball Club for their support in 2016.