A PAIR of Bendigo Spirit rostered players has helped Victoria claim the national under-20 basketball championship.
Kara Tessari and Ahlise Hurst were part of the Victorian side which defeated Queensland in Sunday’s final at Gosford.
It was a successful weekend for Victorian basketball, with its state sides winning all four titles available at the Australian Under-20 and Ivor Burge Championships.
The Victorians win in the women’s under 20 championship reversed an earlier week loss to the Queenslanders.
Tessari was one of the stars of the grand final win with nine points in the form of a trio of three-pointers, three rebounds and two assists.
The 18-year-old from Monegetta, who has spent one and a half seasons on the Spirit roster, finished the tournament averaging 9.14 points, three rebounds and 2.43 assists.
She scored her tournament high of 19 points in the Victorians’ round three match against New South Wales.
Hurst averaged 3.86 points for the tournament, including a high of seven against Western Australia in round two.
Victorian coach Katrina Hibbert praised a “great group of players” on earning the ultimate team accolade.
“We scouted our butts off last night – felt like we had some good footage,” Hibbert said.
“We knew that when we faced them last time we were fatigued, so a lot of the defensive errors that we made we adjusted so after that game we got a little bit more time to look at ourselves and see where we could fix some of our problems,” she said.
“They were great from the ACT game we got better, to the SA game and on to (Sunday) – we knew they were going to come hard and we would have to build a wall for 40 minutes and just be relentless and the girls were brilliant.
“It’s a special group and I think it’s a credit to their parents for the way they handle themselves as they’re so professional.
“The girls are a credit to Basketball Victoria, through both programs in Country and Metro, for the way they approach tournaments and the attitude and efforts and the pride they take in playing for Victoria – so I think for their clubs as well.”
Tessari and Hurst will be team-mates again when both suit up for the Bendigo Lady Braves in the forthcoming SEABL season.