The Steelers Under 14 Boys team consisted of Blake Vitaljic, Aaron Rogers, Tom Fischer, Riley MacDiarmind, Connor Lamb, Jordan Henderson-Ewings, Lachlan Shambrook and Joshua Quinn.
First up was Port Lincoln. This was a solid game by the boys running out eventual winners by 12 points.
In game 2 the boys showed good spirit playing against an unpredictable Yorkers side. We didn’t know what to expect and the much larger Yorkers ran out winners by 15 points.
It was a slow start by the boys in game 3 against Roxby, but they kicked into gear quickly playing some great team basketball running out convincing winners by 8 points.
Game 4 – Whyalla vs Port Augusta was the best team game played by the boys. Great defence was played, transition was good and the boys showed exactly why they wanted to play finals winning comfortably by 13 points.

With the boys finishing the minor round games 3 wins and 1 loss, we finished equal 2nd on percentage setting up a semi final with rivals Port Pirie.

Semi Final – Whyalla vs Port Pirie
This was a very close and entertaining game with the boys showing great heart, spirit and determination, but unfortunately falling short in the dying seconds losing by a solitary point.
I want to say that I am proud of all the boys. All of you contributed in one way or another and you should be proud and hold your heads up high. Your improvement both individually and as a team was immense. A great carnival and a big thank you for all your hard work and efforts. Thank you also the parents for your assistance and support over the weekend.

Sean Sheedy – Under 14 Boys Coach

In the first game Steelers played Port Augusta who had a player that was about 150cm tall.  For their first game together the boys played quiet well. Daniel Arbon was making some shots and Cadell Herbert was running the courts and making some very good decisions. The game went down to the wire with Whyalla losing by 3 points but they had plenty of chances to win the game.

In the second game Whyalla played a young Yorkers team but Whyalla for a change were too tall and strong.  Whyalla played some very good defence and Daniel Vines was making some very good shots, and Clay Crompton was stealing the ball and making some good turn over baskets.  Whyalla won by a comfortable double digit margin but were starting to show some very team signs.

Next up we played Port Pirie or Land of the giant as Pirie has a six foot under 12.  Harrison Sweeney and Lewis Quinn were giving close to 300 mm in height but they battled manfully and we kept the loss to single a digit which in its self was an amazing effort.

In the last game of the day we played an under man Roxby Downs and we were able to over run them with our strength and with Tom Quinn showing some good pace was able to make some very good lay ups.  Ben Havelberg was playing some very good defence and the turning this into some very good assists.

On the back of two wins we played in a semi-final against Port Augusta.  Our plan was too move the ball quick and keep the ball away from their tall player and we did this too perfection in the first quarter as we raced to a 10 point lead. Port Augusta steadied and were able to peg back the lead to draw level at tree quarter time.  But then like a good team that they had shown over the weekend, they stepped up the pressure on defence and caused some turn overs and made some good baskets and raced to a 10 point lead and we never threaten again.

Into the grand final we went against Port Pirie, but we got a good break when their six footer who went on holidays and couldn’t play. Harrison Sweeney and Lewis Quinn were playing great aggressive defence on their other giant they had and with Clay Crompton and Cadell Herbert controlling the middle of the court and distributing the ball well.  Daniel Arbon and Ben Havelberg were using their pace and making some excellent baskets.  Daniel Vines played some good aggressive defence and Tom Quinn used his pace to good advantage.  Whyalla played extremely well at both ends of the court and some excellent team work; Whyalla held a double digit lead for most of the game and ran out very good winners. Lewis Quinn was named player of the grand final.

Under 14 Girls Div I Team. By Michael Quinn

S.A. Country Championships Under 14's & 18's

The Under 14 girls would have been one of the favorites in the competition with four state players, one metro player, backed up with some tall players and a state coach most people would have predicted them to by in the finals. The girls started very slow on Saturday morning missing a huge amount of easy shot in the first game going down by six points to Mildura, as this was only the first game and most likely the top team the Coach was not to concerned.
The second game against Mount Gambier was a very scrappy first half, the second half the team stepped up led by point guard Tayla Crocker and Bianca Clements who played extremely well and blowing the game out by third points by the final siren.

The third game was Sunday morning against Riverland who had been performing very well through the minor rounds games and were causing a few upset, the Whyalla girls came out from the start very fired up making most of their shots and getting an early break on Riverland. Riverland fort back to three points at one stage before Whyalla girls settled down, Whyalla won by nine in the end. This but Whyalla second in their group with a good cross over for the quarter finals.

At this stage some of the top teams were looking very closely at Whyalla as they were starting to show good improvement and were looking to be the team to beat. The quarter finals was against Great Southern the girls missing a huge amount of easy shots and with great southern shooting very well this found Whyalla on the back foot trying to catch, the last quarter the girls went in ten down they changed their game plan and really went for the game with two minutes to go the girls were three down they missed five shots the final two minutes of the game, with Jasmine Bridgman sent to the line with five seconds to go with two foul shots and two down it was a huge ask, Jasmine got the first unfortunately missed the second and Whyalla fouled the ball and then ran out of time going down by two points.

Overall the girls played very well in two games and were unstoppable unfortunately the game that mattered they just did not click early and struggled which knocked them out of the carnival, this inconsistency and their shooting has been a problem all year.

Under 14 Girls Div III

S.A. Country Championships Under 14's & 18's

This was the first carnival for some of the players, and certainly their first time for them to play together as a team. Having trained well for the last 5 months, the girls were well primed for the carnival. The first games for the young Stealer ladies were playing Mt Gambier. They game was very much a sea sawing event with the game played at a break neck pace. Madison Mills-Couper, Haylee Madigan and Grace Smitheram were performing beautifully. They were assisted on court with Ivy Corbett and Demi Dunn. With plenty of shots being put up, but missing the girls were shooting themselves out of the game. While they never gave up and showed great courage they were beaten by 10.

Next game was against the Adelaide Plains team, who were playing very well in the carnival and were going to be a hard opposition for the girls. Jessica Vines, Eliza Smith and Kimberly Simmons were showing some great form, playing excellent defense and going to the basket at every opportunity. The style of game was very similar to the earlier game and with plenty of shots going up; the scoring return was not forthcoming. The girls lost this game by 12 points. 34-22.

That was the last game for the Saturday, giving the girls plenty of time to rest up for another hard day on the Sunday. The girls played Great Southern, another team who were going very well in the carnival, winning one game and losing their other. The Stealers continued to play an up tempo game and were Riley Fischer was beginning to grow in confidence and with her the rest of the team. Grace Smitheram and Ivy Corbett continued to attack the goals, and also were also playing some great defense. Demi Dunn was given a hard job on one of the better players in the team and was doing a good job, not allowing her to carry the ball or attack the basket. With the Stealers still missing baskets, the score was close but the girls were unable to get another goal to tie the game, losing this game 10-12.

With the girls now 0 and 3 they was placed bottom of their pool and had to play top in the other pool. Southern Yorke Peninsula was to be their opponents. With no team coming close to the SYP team, it was going to be a hard task for the Stealers to get in and win this game, but in true Stealers fashion, the unthinkable became thinkable. Again low scoring was the theme of this game and the girls showed that great defense can win you games. Eliminating SYP 9-7 and moving onto the next finals. The girls were set to play against Great Southern only this time they would have knowledge on the better players. All the girls were continuing to improve over the course of the weekend and in what was a up and down game, and the Stealers in front for nearly all of the game they were within 2 minutes of pulling off another exciting win, but Great Southern made 2 baskets in 90 seconds to overrun the Stealers 9-7. While the girls couldn’t quite come from bottom to the grand final it was a fantastic effort by all the team.

Under 14 Boys By Tegan Curwood

S.A. Country Championships Under 14's & 18's

The Under 14 boys spent their long weekend playing in Adelaide in division one at the Country Champs, this was the last combined carnival for the season and the boys should be proud of their efforts for this carnival. The carnival began with a 9am game against Mildura. The boys got off to a good start but Mildura got ahead and the boys couldn’t reduce the lead, coming out with a loss by 17 points.
The next game was up againist the strong Mount Gambier team. The boys worked hard all game but Mount Gambier came out with the win.
Sunday began with an early 9am start against a height matching Easter Hills team. Although the boys had two losses the day before, they came out firing and got their first win on the board. The taller boys such as Lewis Mclaughlin, Josh Waugh and Jakyn Turpin really stepped up, and had an advantage over the smaller opposition. They created more options for shots from Myles McNamara and Brandon Rosalia, and tranistion baskets for Callum Mitchell, Sam Sawford and Jayden Marshall. They played a great team game, and this really showed on the score board.
The next game was not played until 6pm against Port Pirie which gave the boys a big break. The Whyalla boys started the game strong, but in this game, the Pirie boys came out wanting the win more, and thats what they got.
The boys finished 4th in their pool, which meant an 8am game against the underfeated Murray Bridge who were top of their pool. Murray Bridge had a huge height advantage on the small, but extremely talented Whyalla team. Although the opposition had such a height advantage and knowing that they were underfeated, the boys were not intimidated by them. The boys played such a great game, and the heart and aggression that was put in by every single one of the boys was amazing. The Whyalla boys unfortunately could not make shots and Murray Bridge couldnt miss, and Murray Bridge got the win, they then went on to winning the grand final.
The 14 boys have been a pleasure to coach and their team efforts and individual improvements over the combined season were impressive.

Under 18 Girls Div I. By Lawrence McLean.

S.A. Country Championships Under 14's & 18's

Whyalla played Mt Gambier first which was going to be the bench mark of where we were at.
As you would expect the game ebb and flowed through out as both teams were very close to each other in ability, however Mt Gambier managed to be in front when it counted which left Whyalla on the back foot to start the carnival and a bit to think about.

In the second game the girls played Murray Bridge who were a very small side and Whyalla made them pay building up a handy double figure lead early.
With a good team performance we were able to maintain this lead until the last few minutes when Murray Bridge manage to start hitting their long shots and reduced the lead, but Whyalla steadied and won the game by a small margin.

Our last game of the pool was against Riverland who were a much taller side, but the girls played good aggressive defense and managed to move the ball quickly we created a few fast breaks and in the end ran out comfortable winners by over 20 points with a good effort by all.
The girls finished second in their pool which meant they had to play Millicent in the crossover quarter final.

Millicent were good at moving the ball around quickly and Whyalla were countering this by creating allot of good opportunities themselves, but the basketball just wouldn't drop in the net.
Every time Whyalla made a surge, Millicent counter this until the end when Whyalla mad a final charge, but ran into foul trouble, which allowed Millicent to score some easy baskets from the line, which was the difference in the end as Whyalla lost by three points

For the girls it was Shannon Tarran, Aimee Nichol, Hayley Stone, Alicia Sawford, Tegan Crocker, Sam Vigar and Megan Smith last carnival juniors so we wish them all the best for their own futures and we hope Emily Clements and Laura Puddy can bring home the bacon next year.

Special mention to Shannon and Tegan as they have made the national team for next months tournament in NSW, so lets hope they do well.

Under 18 Men by Sean Sheedy.

S.A. Country Championships Under 14's & 18's

At the annual SA Country Championships the under 18 boys made it to the semi finals. The whole weekend the boys played some good basketball evident of their final result.
First game was against Pt Lincoln. Stealers have beaten Lincoln at every carnival this year so the expectation was to again win. The boys executed some great offence, and demonstrated some excellent team work. With this said they ran out convincing winners. A good start to the tournament.

Next up was carnival favourites Murray Bridge. This game was always going to be tough. The bullets played some great basketball beating us convincingly. Great Southern was the next match and this was also going to be a tough game. It was an even match with both teams doing some good things. Unfortunately our boys couldn’t get over the line.
Riverland was next and we didn’t no what to expect as we haven’t played them before. But again with some great team work and execution we beat Riverland by 6 points. After all minor round games complete we finished 2-2 therefore setting up a mouth watering encounter with arch rivals Pt Pirie in the crossover quarter final.
The boys against Pirie were simply awesome, playing with great confidence and with everyone playing their part beat Pirie handsomely. This set up a semi final against the inform Murray Bridge again.
Stealers were goal for goal with Murray Bridge and it was a great game to be involved in. Unfortunately the boys got beat by 23 points but it wasn’t a true indication of how close, physical and intense the game was.
I am very proud of all the boys and their efforts this year in what I think has been a successful year winning 2 out of 4 carnivals and finishing in the top 4 at the Country Champs. A great effort lads, well done. Lastly a big thank you to Karen Wallace as team manager and also to all the parents for your support throughout the combined season. Thank you.

Umpires play a part in our game too...

Back from country champs.

Umpires

Josh Clarke, Sean Gosling, Zacharee Clarke and John Daniels have just came back from the U/14's & U/18's country championships in Adelaide. For these talented junior referee's this was a big step up in the level of basketball being played and the boys needed to adjust to the higher tempo that existed at these champs.
All the boys referee locally, with some of them already refereeing at the local 'A' grade level. The 4 lads have all shown the skills required to excel as Referees and with a little bit of coaching, patience and luck they will be able to go much further in their refereeing careers.
Robert Clark also went down and did the Division 1 games, also getting some finals which is great for our umpires as Rob help's most of these young lad's out with some very handy tutorial's.
The young lad's did get some positive feedback from the Country Champs and will more than likely be going down again in 2 weeks.
Josh is looking to go to the Country Championships held in Albury in January also and has been working hard to get as much feedback as possible to help him out.

Keen to see some of the action....head on over to Flickr

Under 12 Girls- By Ebony Curwood

The under 12 girls team for the Country Champs consisted of Maddie Foran, Tia Bails, Katilin Morgan, Alice Morgan, Myrrhn Milton- Hutchison, Nellie Cowan, Kelsey Mitchell and Shannon Herbert.The girls started the carnival against a very drilled team being Broken Hill. They went into the game very nervous, knowing the strength of the Broken Hill team, but this didn't stop them from stepping up to their opponent and showing them far they have come since the start of the combined season. An exceptional effort was put in by every team member and the girls only went down by 7 points, previously being beating by the same Broken Hill side by 25points.

The next game against Millicent was anticipated to have supporters on the edge of their seats and that's exactly how it turned out. Whyalla came out of the blocks very strong with some great defensive work. The girls played very solid as a team which resulted in some easy points on the board. Millicent made one last attack on the girls with about 3 minutes to go and scores were even with 4 seconds left on the clock. Young Tia Bails was smart enough to draw a foul from the Millicent defenders which sent her to the line for two shots. Bails nailed her second free throw and the Whyalla girls were very excited winners by one point.

The Whyalla girls went into the third game of the day not knowing what to expect from their Murray Bridge opponent, having never played them before. The Whyalla team played a very tough game, diving on loose balls and gaining extra possessions as instructed. Murray Bridge did not give the game up easily but our local girls were eventual winners by 12 points.

At the end of day one the Whyalla girls were very deserving to finish 2nd in their pool and now had to cross over against a strong Great Southern team in the finals. The girls were a little slow to start, soon finding themselves 10 points behind and having to work very hard to get themselves back in the game. That is exactly what they did and with the showcase of a some very important skills they had learnt through the season, they were soon back on the heels of a startled Great Southern team. Unfortunately Whyalla lost the game by 3 points but had no reason to be disappointed by their efforts.

The under 12 girls were a very committed squad throughout the entire combined season, hardly missing any trainings. They listened well at trainings and tried their hardest to put their new skills to the test in the games that they played. This resulted in a massive improvement in the way the girls played as a team and on an individual basis and every single member should be very proud of what we achieved. I would like to thank all of my team for being such a great bunch of girls to teach and wish them luck for their future in basketball. A very big thank-you needs to go out to all of the parents who drove the girls to training twice a week and traveled with them to attend carnivals, especially my Mum who was an excellent team manager and made it so much easier for me to get on with coaching.

Under 12 Boys BY Pat Kemp.

Last weekend the Whyalla U/12 Boys team traveled to Adelaide to compete in the Junior Country Championships  for 2010

The first game of the weekend was played against Yorke Valley. The Whyalla boys got off to a great start but were pegged back by the Yorkers, who continued to lead for the majority of the game.In the last few minutes Whyalla made some much needed baskets through Jarrod Wallace and Adrian Hunter taking the boys to a 3 point win.

In the second game the lads came up against Great Southern despite a great team effort on court and some hard fought rebounds by Josh Quinn and Jordan Henderson Ewings, Great Southern emerged victors by 10 points.

Tom Fisher, Kody Rosalia and Aaron Rogers once again were able to cause many stops in the third game of the day. Unfortunately the boys were outclassed by an accurate shooting Murray Bridge team and were beaten convincingly.

An early Sunday morning game was played against a very welled drilled Eastern Hills team. The Whyalla boys showed much improvement on court during this game Lachlan Shambrook And Daniel Vines played an excellent defense causing a few turn overs. Once again the boy's were beaten on the scoreboard although exposure to such experienced teams can only benefit to the lads as time goes on.

The last game of the weekend was played against Port Pirie. A tired group of boys played an excellent to finish of the carnival with a 16 point win.

This weekend was the toughest of all the carnivals for this combined season, the boys finished with 2 wins and 3 losses Although overall this team should be be applauded for an extremely successful season.

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The early Saturday morning game saw Whyalla boys off to a slow start, eventually winning a close game to Port Augusta by a solitary point.

The next game against Roxby Downs saw them pick up and work the ball well within the team, with Adrian Hunter and Josh Quinn providing some much needed fire power finishing off shots and some full court lay ups very well, beating Roxby Downs.

First year players Kody Rosalia, Daniel Vines and Lachlan Shambrook all contributed well and were obviously not intimidated to be playing in their first home carnival.

Game three was a physical match against Yorke Valley.

The boys never seemed to settle into any rhythm throughout this game and did not take the opportunities that arose.

The fantastic team work that stood out in the Roxby Downs game deserted them, enabling Yorke Valley to take the game by 17 points.

The last minor round game of a very long day was against Port Lincoln and with stern words from stalwart coach Pat Kemp saw the boys off to a much better start.

Tom Fischer and Aaron Rogers once again put enormous defensive pressure on the opponents causing many turn overs, finishing the day with three wins and one loss.

The semi final saw Whyalla play Yorke Valley again.

The boys looked to be a completely different team to the one that took to the previous game.

Whyalla started the gamed in a much more convincing style, holding their cool against some rough play.

Jordon Henderson-Ewing put in an excellent effort fighting hard to move the ball up the court.

The whole team contributed well in both offensive and defensive ends of the court to reverse the score line from the previous day and see Whyalla in another grand final appearance.

The group of boys that took to the court for the grand final match against Broken Hill have amazed all with their efforts in previous carnivals.

They have won grand finals in Port Augusta and Port Pirie, having only lost a final against Broken Hill.

The boys were out to even the ledger and all the hours of hard training they have put in, showed dividends.

The Broken Hill boys had a couple of tall players, which our boys were able to keep out of the game.

An extra ordinary effort was put in by all and Jarrod Wallace fired up the team with some excellent shooting.

With stern instructions from coach Pat Kemp and positive reinforcement from team manager Eric Vines, the boys put in a great effort to beat Broken Hill by 24 points, taking out the premiership in their home carnival.

As coach I wish to thank all parents for their great support.

Well done boys and a big thank you to Eric Vines.