EASTERN Suns coach Jackson Mews and the Under-18s team scored a win by playing in their first grand final.
Mews said the second division players chased the heels of the Stirling Senators, at one point ahead by just seven points in the final quarter.
“This is the first time the Under-18s have made it to the grand final of the WA Basketball League (WABL),” he said.
“In the end, we just didn’t have enough gas to get back on the line… all credit to the Stirling Senators.”
The Senators won 102: 85 to net the second division championship at Bendat Stadium on Sunday, September 18.
Mews gave special mention to Dyson Lowe (16) of Maida Vale, one of several players with the specialist basketball program at Willetton Senior High School.
“He hustled like crazy; he’s a strong defensive player and did everything a coach would want him to do,” he said.
“This Under-18s team are of an extremely high character, good sportsmen and teammates, who have the ability to listen and adapt.
“These young men are a credit to the ‘never giving up spirit’.
“They come together for a common goal, sacrificing personal gain for team glory.”
The 24-year-old coach, of Wattle Grove, is studying for a Diploma in Sports Development at the ICollege Basketball Institute WA.
By day, he works as a forklift driver at Canning Vale Markets.
Between work and study, he is also an assistant coach for SBL, trains Year 8 A-grade players at Guildford Grammar and the Swan Valley Storm for the KISS class Super 6 competition.
“Some of the team started playing basketball when they were about eight years old,” he said.
“I began playing when I was 13 then fell in love with coaching.”
Mews said SBL men’s coach Michael Clarke has transformed the Kalamunda Suns’ club and teams into a force.
“We are a pioneer of his system and expect more of the same in years to come.”
He also gave a shout out for Shane Lowe for his support on the bench during games and team manager Alison Criddle.