BMBA teams make tournament Grand-Finals for the first time

In 2023 our Under 18 boys played in two tournaments, but despite admirable efforts they had little success. For our first tournament in 2024, the Under 18 Boys were joined by our first Under 12 boys team to play in a tournament.

Both teams were luck to play as in the week leading up to the tournament’s first game both teams were on the verge of being withdrawn due to a lack of players. After some last minute communications with tournament organisers some fill-in players were arranged  and off went into the world’s largest junior basketball tournament.

What came after that was something nobody would have predicted. As we reported earlier this long weekend both teams had acquitted themselves very well in the first two days, but what happened over the last two days on Saturday, 27th January and Sunday 28th of January was quite simply remarkable, especially the efforts from our Under 12 boys.

Under 12 Boys.

Going into Saturdays games the boys only needed the one win to qualify for finals and were playing the teams placed at the top and bottom of their competition ladder

Game Four: 71-5 WIN Vs Aitken Creek Raven – Archer Boeck 24 pts, Lachy Speers 14 pts, Zach Chester 14 pts, Bill Pham 8 Pts

In our fourth game the boys took on the struggling Aitken Creek team. The boys played extremely well in this game teaming up with some great passing on the offensive end and some great defence. Archer Boeck had 24 points and Zach Chester had 14 points with a lot of those points setup by our youngest point guard in Lachy Speers, not only did Lachy have plenty of assists but he scored 14 points in a great performance. All the boys contributed in a great team effort

Game Five: 30-43 loss Vs Tuggeranong Vikings (ACT) –  Archer Boeck 13 pts, Lachy Speers 7 pts, Zachery Chester 6 pts.

In our last game for the leadup games before the finals we took on the top of the table Vikings team from the ACT. The Vikings had taken all before them and had just smashed the strong Eltham Dodd team by 20+ points who had defeated us by 30+ points. So it was going to be a challenge.

After a slow start to get down by 20 points and Templar Warrior youngsters just kept playing to bring some real pressure in the second half at one stage reducing the deficit to just 5 points and looking likely to run over the top of the Vikings. In the end we ran out of legs a bit to go down by 12. The loss however gave the boys a lot of confidence for their semi-final the next day against the same opposition. 

Semi-Final: 29-27 WIN Vs Tuggeranong Vikings (ACT) – Lachy Speers 14 pts, Archer Boeck 11 pts, Zach Chester 3 pts.

This was a win who for those who watched it won’t forget it for a long time. After once again trailing early by six points, coach Bob Mann instructed his youngsters to go full court with their defence and the game swung right around with our boys getting up as much as 6 points. Their defence was phenomenal swarming all over the Vikings better players. Young Jordan Tiet deserves a special mention might not have scored a point, but his defence on the Vikings best player was outstanding. In the previous game his opponent had scored 24 points, in this semi-final Jordan , despite giving away considerable height he held him to just four points. Young Lachy Speers efforts in the last three minutes. The Vikings had come back to hit the front and things were starting to look grim. Lachy Speers then showed maturity beyond his young nine years to continually draw fouls to go to the foul line where he hit four of them in this period of time to have our Templar Warriors all tied with 8 second to go and a Vikings player shooting free throws. When he missed his second Bill Pham secured the rebound, drove aggressively to get the ball to Lachy who drove and hit a pull up jump shot on the buzzer to win the game and advance his team into a Grand Final.

To make the win even more memorable the court was surrounded by spectators from the game on the other court which had finished before ours. To say the place went nuts would be an understatement.

This was an amazing achievement considering on the Wednesday before the tournament we weren’t even sure we could even field a team. Not only did we field a team, our first Under 12 boys team ever to enter a tournament, they became our first Templar Warriors team to secure a place in a Grand Final. All this on the back of one of the greatest upsets you could wish to see. 



Grand-Final: 24-50 LOSS Vs Eltham Todd

We only had a few hours break between the semi-final and the Grand Final and all weekend we had played with just the six players, while the team we were up against in this Grand Final had ten players and had enjoyed a pretty easy time of it outside one game. 

Outside an upset win similar to the one we enjoyed in our semi-final this was going to be a tough ask and that’s how it played out. Despite a heavy loss, our boys played their hearts out all game and registered a reasonable score, but just couldn’t muster the required defensive effort on their tired legs.

Summary: This was an outstanding weekend for such a young team. The boys received their first taste of tournament and rep standard basketball and performed in way that took parents and coach by surprise. The boys have also been able to try things that we have worked on at training, performed in new roles and acquired plenty of basketball fitness and form for the start of their domestic season next weekend. 

Finally, parents and players alike got to experienced new venues, new teams, watched some high-level basketball and just had a great weekend. We hope this inspires more BMBA teams to enter future tournaments. I am confident the boys and parents from the weekend will be keen.

Under 18 Boys

Going into Saturdays games the boys only needed the one win to qualify for finals and were playing the teams placed at the top and bottom of their competition ladder

Game Five: 65-30 WIN Vs Warrandte (4) – Elijah Horan 21 pts, Will Thompson 10 pts, Jonah Fifita 10 pts, Liam McNamara 8 Pts, Marko Karna 8 pts.

In our fifth game, our U18 boys had to travel to Diamond Valley Basketball for a 9:00am game on a Saturday morning, a challenging assignment for any age group, but especially so for the Under age group. The boys naturally started slowly, but as the game progressed the boys got better and better. Elijah Horan had his best game for the tournament with a game high of 21 points, while Jonah Fifita was strong inside with 10 points and could easily have had 10 more. Will Thompson at the point position also had his best game of the tournament with some great game management skills and very good defence.

Semi-Final: 50-47 WIN Vs Altona(4) – Marko Karna 12 pts, Jonah Fifita 10 pts, Elijan Horan 10 Points, Will Thompson  9 pts, Liam McNamara 7 points.

In the semi-final we encountered a tough Altona side that we had defeated in a tough contest in the first game of the tournament. This time we had been reduced to six players with two players carrying significant soreness into this game.

Despite this the boys lead from start to finish, but had to hold off a late surge from Altona, that saw our boys pull out a close win.

The pleasing thing was the even spread of scoring from all six boys with the highlight being Will Thompson’s game at the point position again and Jonah Fifita’s efforts with his inside game.

A great win to enable the boys to advance to their first tournament Grand Final.

Grand-Final: 32-37 Loss Vs Warrandte – Will Thompson 10, Jonah Fifita 8 pts.

Sadly the boys simply hit a brick wall in this game against a very good Warrandyte side. After leading for most of the game, the boys simply couldn’t must the energy from their tired legs to produce the defence needed to get a win, which is highlighted by their lowest score of the tournament. Will Thompson and Jonah Fifita led the efforts in this game once more.

Summary: Despite losing the Grand Final the boys enjoyed an oustanding weekend, playing undermanned against teams field ten players. In the end this was a mountain just a little too hard to climb. After playing two tournaments in 2023 with limited success, this tournament has demonstrated that these boys could evolve into a very good team, if they commit to each other and we can a few players.

An outstanding effort and hopefully one of many to come.