THE Western Junior League is over for another year with the Griffith Junior program having a successful year. With all the junior Demons sides making it to the finals weekend it was the four sides that had a chance to become champions in their divisions.
The 18 boys went into the semi-final against Leeton as the under dogs. The boys defeated the Eagles to have a shot at the West Wyalong side to see who played the highly-regarded Bathurst side in the grand final.
After staying with the Wildcats for most of the first half the experience of the Wyalong side was too much for the Demons and they were knocked out of the finals race 93-63. Jack Gilbert and Doug Harvie had great support from Micheal Zapala but the close turn around in the two games proved too much in the end with fatigue setting in and missed shots.
The 18 girls were also knocked out by the Orange in their semi 63-49. With the scores trading places early in the game the girls had a couple of injuries and this upset the momentum and they fell short of the wining target.
The 16 boys started slowly against Lithgow but regained a lead late in the game to take the match 80-73. Isaac Testoni finished the match with 40 points and Liam Blanch with 17.
The 14 boys White let Dubbo get away with the side holding a 16-point lead at first break. Once the boys settled down they made inroads into the Dubbo defence. Lucas Irvin, Paddy Payne and Mason Rosengreen played great games for the White side. Dubbo won 49-32.
The 14 girls played the strong Coota side in the first semi and found the height factor too much to get on top of. They then took on Bathurst in the preliminary final.
Demons took it to the Bathurst girls through Milla Parr, Alice Macrae and Lindsay Cornale. The Bathurst girls pushed ahead late to take the match 46-28.
In the first grand final the 12 boys played West Wyalong. Nerves took their toll early as the Wildcats raced away to a 15-point lead.
Alex Minato and Mason Salvestro started to control the court speed and found plenty of assists to draw the lead back. Emanuel Orake dominated around the basket in the last quarter and took some power house rebounds to hit the shot needed to keep the side in the race. Riley Curran and Broden Spencer was aiding Alex and Mason to add further pressure and a win wasn’t far out of reach. The side couldn’t bridge the gap and went down 47-40.
MVP 14 boys Blue, Jacob Testoni, showed hard work paid off as he took control of his side. Kia Suine and Sam Burley had their usual strong games. Once Wildcats lost their big centre, Demons controlled the defensive boards and Jacob Weatherspoon, Seve Pastro and Shane Gibbs ran in layups off the fast break.
The under 12 girls remained undefeated and took the premiership against the Orange Eagles. Playing the Eagles in the first semi-final it took Demons almost a quarter to register a point but once they found their range they entered the grand final first. Almost every junior Demon was on hand to support the girls in their grand final game against the Eagles. Timeka Coleman, MVP, started to find her range and put the Demons ahead.
Emerson Waide and Lily Beltrame worked tirelessly to slow down the Orange tall timber. Emerson fouled out but Lily turned steals into valuable points through Timeka, Joanna Macrae and some handy shots from Sahara Moon. Griffith took the match 42-35 and now head to the state cup.
The 16 girls couldn’t take advantage of Bathurst being in foul trouble late in the fourth to go down 60-55. Abby Favell with 21 points more than matched her opponent. Sarah Mathews, Jenna Richards found her range with 19 points and Jess Conlan ran the court and pressured the ball around the court.
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