A RAW and inexperienced Griffith Demons side was given a rude awakening to the State League basketball competition last weekend as the Canberra Gunners and Queanbeyan Yowies beat them by a combined 142 points.
After the previous Demons side walked out mid-season in protest of former coach Andrew Cullen's 26-week suspension, the Griffith Association scrambled to fill their double-header commitment, under threat of expulsion from the competition.
But the new Demons side walked into the lion's den last round, as literally boys played against men with several promising juniors answering the SOS call, with the Yowies beating Griffith 98-30 before the Canberra side put them to the sword 108-24.
"We ran two juniors from the under 16s side and another three from the under 18s side so it was a bit of a trial by fire for the guys," Griffith Basketball president Damian Curry said.
"They (young players) had the big dreams of the Cinderella story, but watching their faces as we rolled into Canberra, the reality began sinking in and the nerves were there.
"But the other players and coaches was amazing and the thanks they gave us for just showing up was pretty impressive.
"They (opponents) were all aware of the situation, they have been monitoring your (The Area News) website and even to the stage they knew of the comments about the stories."
Despite the situation the Demons' program was put in, 10 players put their hand up to tackle the toughest two games seen in State League for many years.
When asked if the current team was prepared to potentially be on the end of thrashings for the remaining seven games this season, Curry said the players were looking to the future, not season 2012.
"I think they are, it was a big learning curve for the boys on the weekend and they understand they are not at that level yet," he said.
"They understand they're more of a caretaker kind of team, so basically to keep the program going so when we have those high level players keen to play again we still have a team there.
"They know they have not earnt a spot in the Demons team, they just put their hand up because they love the game and respect the program.
"There are a lot of people out there that won't agree
with that but there will be people out there that will say well done (to the players)."
With just a two-hour training behind them, Canberra made the Demons sweat in the first quarter, implementing a suffocating full-court press.
“In saying that they did pull that pressure off us soon though and did let us try and settle in and work on our structure, so to a point they were understanding and compassionate,” Curry said.
“Against the speed and strength of Canberra we struggled to get a half-court offence going, but the Yowies are a much bigger team and they were a bit slower.
“And because of that they looked a lot better and some of their full-court plays and half-court plays started to come into effect.”