Yamba hosts action-packed tournament
A TOTAL of 23 teams from Lismore, Byron Bay, Ballina, Grafton and Yamba competed in the 2015 North Coast Basketball Shield Finals at Raymond Laurie Sports Centre in Yamba last Saturday and Sunday. Boys and girls' teams fought out grand finals in under 12, 14 and 16 divisions.
Yamba fielded two teams in under-12 boys with one fielding players three years younger than their opposition, gaining great experience and improving with every quarter played.
The Yamba Trawlers under-12 girls' first task was to defeat Lismore Storm in a tight battle, with all the Trawler girls playing great defence and out-running their opponents to come away with the win. This saw them advance directly to the final in a showdown with favourites Byron Bay.
The grand final did not disappoint with Yamba fighting for every possession and led the tall Byron Bay team for the majority of the game.
Byron Bay had gone undefeated for the six months prior, but the smaller Yamba team's full court intensity had the Byron Bay girls searching for answers.
Grace McGill, Georgia Salvestro, Stella Van Leest, Iris Short and Yasmin Ellabassi did not let up for Yamba and with the speed of Tyeeka Ferguson and calming influence of Fallon Smith, the well-balanced Yamba side maintained a one-point lead with three minutes remaining.
Then Yamba hit trouble when Tyeeka picked up her fifth foul and gave Byron Bay a glimpse, which was all they needed, scoring two baskets to be crowned champions 14 to 11.
In the under-14 girls grand final Ballina outplayed Byron Bay, who managed to advance by defeating big improvers Yamba, who grew in confidence throughout the year.
The under-16 girls saw Yamba advance past Lismore in the semi-finals with a great display of athleticism. In the grand final they met Ballina who had not lost a game all year. With half the team out due to sickness and with just five players Yamba displayed great fight and determination. Fiona Vesper, Charlotte Williams, Brianna McFarlane, Demi Gavin and Alexa Leary played themselves to exhaustion to contain Ballina for the majority of the game.
In the end Ballina ran away to win 36-22.
Byron Bay dominated the under-16 boys' grand final 46-39 against Lismore and Byron Bay won under-14s boys over Ballina, who just snuck past Yamba to qualify.