Odds on favourites going into the tournament, a potent Barossa Settlers women’s side won the 2018 SA Country Basketball Championships with ease.
They dominated the competition from start to finish, rarely getting out of second gear.
They were undefeated across the annual event and their smallest winning margin was in double figure – 11 points – displaying their dominance over all their opponents.
“We were a very cohesive group and they gelled together strongly, despite not having any pre-tournament training going into this competition,” the Settlers’ victorious coach Ben MacCulloch said.
“A good handful of these girls have been a part of the local state development programs, including Abby and Opal Mader, Erin Schrapel, Georgina Madigan, Chelsea Brook and Kristen Mosey.”
Strong offensively, Abby Mader went on to win the grand final’s most valuable player and also collected the same honour as the best player in the women’s A Grade competition across the weekend.
The entire women’s group play in the Barossa Valley Amateur Basketball Association and a number also play in the ABA competition in Adelaide.
The Settlers started with a strong 39-point win against Roxby Downs in round one with Lauren Dockin and Madigan scoring 11 points each.
This group then followed up with a strong 25-point win against Eastern Hills in the second game with Abby Mader scored 18 points and Tarnie Shinnick finished with 10.
In the third pool game Barossa Valley beat last year’s title winners, Murray Bridge Bullets 59 to 40 with Opal Mader top scoring with 15 points.
Second year Adelaide Lightning talent Chelsea Brook (10) and Abby Mader (11) also achieving to double figure totals in this contest.
Playing the Bandits in the crossover first round of finals the Barossa girls of beat Bordertown 36 to 26 with Erin Schrapel leading the way with 11 points.
Playing in stifling 40-plus degree conditions on Sunday afternoon the grand final was a little tighter than expected, but the Barossa girls got up by 11 points – 37 to 26 – with Opal Mader leaving all comers in this game with 10 points.
The Barossa Valley Settlers Under 18 Boys team, coached by Steve Smith, also collected an emphatic Under 18 division one title.
Apart from losing their opening pool game to eventual grand final opponents Whyalla by six points on Australia Day, the Barossa Valley Settlers Under 18 Boys team, coached by Steve Smith, would go on to collect an emphatic 2018 SA Country Basketball Championships Under 18 Division One Boys title.
“We had a very talented group and it was a great privilege to coach this squad,” Smith said.
“The boys built momentum over the course of the weekend and after a slowly start adjusted quickly and showed great resilience and leadership.
“Cannizzaro was impressive all weekend, but he was a part off a strong all round team effort.
“Rhys received plenty of assistance from his teammates and the group gelled very well.
“A special mention should go to Ben MacCullochs Development Network Squad Program up here in the Barossa Valley, as a good portion of this group has been involved in that.
“A number of these players have been involved in the (Barossa Settlers) Under 14 flag in 2014 and the Under 16 title in 2016, along with this triumph.
“They are good mates both through and outside of basketball.”
At the impressive ARC basketball facility at Campbelltown, the Barossa Boys were slow out of the blocks in the first two games.
After losing their round one clash, they snuck home against the Mount Gambier Lakers by three points in round two on the back of a team high 13 points by Rhys Cannizzaro.
This squad achieved a comfortable 24-point victory over the Naracoorte Kings in round three with Isaac Feltus, Hudson Walsh and Cannizzaro all getting to double figures.
Following their round four bye, Barossa had a solid 12-point victory over Great Southern in round five with Feltus, Walsh and Cannizzaro again getting to double digits.
In the Sunday morning quarter-final clash against Millicent, Barossa were again comfortable victors – 47 to 27 – with Cannizzaro leading the way again with 16 points.
In the semi-final match they got up against Eastern Hill – 49 to 41 – with Mason Greatz (15) and Jeremy Nobes (16) leading the way and giving them a chance of revenge against Whyalla.
In the tournament decider this was comfortably achieved, as the Barossa Settlers Under 18s defeated Whyalla, 50 to 27.
Continuing their offensive dominance in the deciding encounter, Cannizzaro completed his great tournament with 17 points, while guard Feltus put up 13 points.
Light side competitive
Playing in Division 4 of the South Australian Country Basketball Championships, the Light side were competitive in the 2018 Under 18s tournament.
The team, which is basically a group of lads from the Kapunda and Freeling townships, successfully made the grand final at the Titanium Security Arena.
Unfortunately they went down to Strathalbyn Storm in the final by six points, 25 to 31.
Aaron Fryer was the standout in the decider for the Light team scoring 14 points.
They made the final by beating Eastern Hills – 27 to 10 – in the semi.
They enjoyed victory over Jamestown, getting up in round one by 13 points.
In the round two fixture against Eastern Hill, they triumphed 30 to 21.
They defeated their grand final foe Strathalbyn in round three – 39 to 33 – by six points.
Kai Mason had a big game in round one, scoring 20 points.