BENDIGO has taken out another junior basketball national title, with the under-16 boys team winning gold at last weekend’s National Junior Classic in Melbourne.
The Ben McCauley-coached Braves team routed Hills Hornets in the final 71-52, led by a brilliant performance from Dyson Daniels.
Daniels poured in 34 points in an MVP display to lead the Braves to their second junior classic title.
Bendigo’s intensity in the grand final was in complete contrast to its first match of the tournament, when the side was well beaten by the same Hornets team.
“This team scored 88 points against us the first time we played them,” McCauley said.
“But we changed how we went about it… we did something simple and played defence. Our group has no trouble scoring, we needed to play defence and we did.”
Bendigo upped its defensive intensity from the tip-off in the rematch, working harder on the defensive glass, limiting possessions and ultimately putting the Hornets on the backfoot.
The Hornets turned to their star guard Eion Fitzgerald to provide any respite.
The Hornets guard had been the player of the tournament, averaging 30 points per contest in the lead-up to the grand final.
Despite Fitzgerald’s 27 points, with an incredible seven three-pointers, it wasn’t enough to keep the Hornets flickering hopes for victory alive.
Braves centre Jackson Fletcher continued his phenomenal tournament as he dominated the glass on both ends and played a key role in the win.
Bulleen, Eltham, Nunawading and Melbourne were the Victorian associations to win classic titles.