Basketball (Issue 3 2017)
Written on the 31 May 2017
28th Marist Basketball Carnival, Ashgrove, QLD
The boys opened up the tournament with three games on the Monday and started their campaign successfully, beating the host college, Ashgrove, by 16, Bunbury Catholic College by 14 and St Joseph's College by an outstanding 30 points. While there was no shortage of offensive highlights, it was the work of the defence collectively by the boys that stood out and held strong when it was most needed, holding each team in their opening three games to under 30 points.
Day two saw the boys conclude their pool games with a 24 point win against Marist College Randwick before the redrawing phase commenced. They began the redrawing of the pools by facing Marist Regional College who began the game with some confidence and gave our undefeated boys a scare, but defence saved the day once again and an unmatched scoring run saw the team take a 52-30 victory. They then came up against Sale in their last game of the day and it was apparent from the score line that the team wanted this to be a statement game, winning 73-23.
Entering day three undefeated was no easy task for the boys as the target from each team was now on their backs. Game one was against Marist-Sion College, who put up a contest in the beginning but couldn't hold on as the boys took the victory by 19 points. Coming into the Semi-Final, no team was yet to score over 30 points against the boys so it was the work of the team to put together another fine defensive performance against very strong opponents, Lavalla, to notch their first win that was under double digits, 38-29.
Looking back to the beginning of the trip the boys never had an expectation to be stepping onto the big stage in front of a sizeable crowd to play the final game of the tournament the decider that would crown the winner of the 28th Marist Carnival. That moment was now apparent to the team, but by the looks of the start of the game they were not ready for it as Marcellin College Bulleen came out red hot, hitting 3's left, right and centre. An early 14 point deficit had the boys shocked, however, not one of them dropped their heads. After being 12 points down midway through the last quarter an amazing 7-0 run in the space of 30 seconds saw the boys within five points and the crowd with some energy about them. It was not enough though as Bulleen crept away again and ended up winning the tournament by 10 points.
While the boys did not walk away with the title hanging above their heads, they walked out with pride as they found within themselves the building blocks for what is to come in the Saturday morning and knockout competitions. Sure, there were standout performances among the boys throughout the tournament, but their focus was not on individuals. It was on what they had achieved as a team and where they can go from here. The big goal for the team: Nationals.
The Marist Basketball Carnival is a unique beast, with eight games in three days. It's not always the best team who will win, it's a survival of the fittest. Our defensive game was one of the best at the tournament and this was demonstrated time and time again. We kept Lavalla College, the championship team, to their lowest score for the tournament, only to lose to them by 12 points. There were a number of teams who we kept to their lowest score for the tournament; our defence was rock solid.
Offensively we found it difficult to convert all the hard work that was being done on the defensive end and as a result, we would grind away against teams until the final moments of each game. We must have set a record for the number of draws in one Carnival: THREE! And two were on the same day. Against Marist-Sion College we drew 17 - 17, against Assumption College we drew 12-12, and against Bunbury College the score was 22-22. The low scores show how strong our defence was, but also our inability to convert.
Three draws meant that we collected two points for a draw rather than three for a win, and as a result we arrived at the stadium on the final day to play off for 5th place against Assumption College. This was disappointing for the girls as they had beaten Sale and St John's, the two teams who were to play off for third position. Nonetheless, the girls channelled their disappointment into an incredible final victory over Assumption College, redeeming themselves with a convincing 33-21 victory.
Throughout the carnival the team produced some spectacular basketball highlights. Gemma and Kasey, the dynamic duo, our point guards who guided the team at both ends of the court. Bridgette and Steph worked together tirelessly to guard the tallest and strongest of the opposition - not an easy feat. Bridgette also found her range around the arc in the final game, sinking shot after shot against Bunbury. Our starting bench of Kristen, Izzy, Jess and Kate were fort knox in their support and focus, forever ready to take to the court given their opportunity and always delivering on the coaches' expectations. Tanner continued to ignite the team with her intensity and tenacity at both ends with Mikayla by her side, relentless in her pursuit of the ball. There are no pre-madonnas in this team, just a group of girls working hard to be their best, simplicity at its finest and our Marist spirit always present!