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10:07PM, Mon 16 June 2008

Venom boys move into finals contention

Venom boys move into finals contention

Following on from their outstanding form that was generated at the Nunawading Tournament, the 12.2 and 12.4 boys teams both recorded some very encouraging results on Friday. The 12.4 boys faced round 1 nemesis Blackburn 3 and were clearly determined to follow up their recent draw against Broadmeadows 3 and win against Melbourne 4 with another win to make it two wins in a row for the first time this season.

Employing an aggressive brand of basketball, the Venom was relentless in both defence and attack. A commitment to playing stringent man to man defence had the Vikings struggling to find avenues to the basket and forced them into repeated turnovers. In fact the Venom held Blackburn to their lowest score of the season (12 points) just to highlight how effective they actually were.

Along with their discipline in defence, the Venom placed their opponents under extreme pressure through attacking the rim. However it was just not the intent that was impressive, it was the passing and team work that went along with it. “That was the best display of teamwork we have seen all season. The passing was simply brilliant,” stated Coach Robertson following the Venom’s 19-point win. The final result could have been even greater if it wasn’t for inaccurate shooting.

In what is proving to be an even competition, the Venom now move up into 8th place (equal 7th on %) and find themselves within 1 win of the top 5. They face a daunting yet not unsurmountable challenge against ladder leader Sherbrooke this Friday, and if they can play like they did last week, a place in the top 5 beckons.

Also facing a round 1 nemesis in Altona 2, the 12.2 boys were primed to avenge the loss at home in round 10. Coach Daniel couldn’t have been any more pleased with the effort and outcome as his team recorded a convincing 19-point victory over the Gators. Defence was again the catalyst that regularly sparked the Venom’s offence.

The great win emphasised the high level of team play that has slowly been building throughout the season. In fat the ability to ruin out a full game strongly has led to an unbroken 5 match streak where the boys have remained unconquered (including a draw). In fact with the win last

Friday, the Venom now moves into 5th place and finals contention for the first time in season 2008. With a focus placed on the ‘one percenters’, Justin was also acknowledged for his feats during the Nunawading Tournament where he recorded a stunning 26! It is this kind of hard work and determination that is highly valued, and never goes unnoticed by the coaches.

Wallan provide the next challenge this week, with the Venom desperate to record a win following a thrilling draw in their first encounter away from home. A win will help shore up a finals berth, whilst a loss will make life difficult with critical games against fellow top 5 teams Sandringham 2 and Whittlesea to follow.

Sitting pretty in outright 2nd place, the 12.3 boys were confident of another good showing against 5th ranked Broadmeadows 3 last Friday away from home. Following a late fixture change, the boys were looking to record a good follow up win following last week’s 15-point win over 3rd placed Kilsyth 4.

However for the team and Coach Gibson, it was just one of those nights where very little went right. The defence was still effective albeit not quite as sharp as it usually is, the passing was not as fluent, and the shots were all missing their mark. Add them all together and the result was a 12-21 loss in a scrappy game. The result was Warrandyte’s lowest score of the season, and in fact was the first time they had not scored 30 points or more in a game since a 25-22 win over Diamond Valley 5 in round 2 back on April 11. The result followed a 25-21 victory over the Broncos in round 1.

Coach Gibson was quick to put the game behind them, and instead choosing to concentrate on this week’s game. “We have to bounce back this week against a tough Diamond Valley 5 team. If we lose, we place our spot in 2nd position in jeopardy.” Gibson also knows a win over the Eagles this week will entrench their placed in 2nd spot and will therefore leave no stone unturned to get that win.

Coach Arsenis only had 1 goal in place for his team against the well drilled 2nd placed Blackburn Vikings – do better than last time! The Venom was coming off a solid showing at the Nunawading Tournament whilst Blackburn finished 5th at the Classic. The Vikings started stronger but the Venom held strong through some solid defensive work despite being without Nick.

Blackburn was proving far too slick for the Venom and had managed to open up a 20 point lead at the main break. Warrandyte began to show what they were capable of and had their chances to get the lead back under 20 at the last break, only to see some turnovers creep back into their game. Warrandyte fought bravely and were looking to keep the margin to below 30 points. However poor shooting held the Venom back from their goal, allowing the Vikings to win by 33 points – the same margin last time the two teams met.

Whilst it was a disappointing result, the Venom did have their moments during the game. Unforced turnovers and missed shots proving costly. The boys have to find a way to bounce back this week against 1st placed and undefeated Knox. The Venom played well against them last time the two teams met, but will have to do so this time without Zac and Max who are off to the USA and the NBA workouts leading up to the 2008 NBA draft. They will rejoin the team for the remainder of the season following the July school holidays.

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