2023 WABL State Champs Recap – Week 1

2023 WABL State Champs Recap – Week 1

November 21, 2023

State Champs Review – Weekend #1 – U11 Boys and U13 Girls

Our Wolfpack State Champs teams were back in action on Saturday and Sunday!

The U11-2 Boys were able to turn a 4-point halftime deficit into a 4-point victory over Eagles to kickstart their weekend. Andre Kallis tallied 15 points in the 33-29 triumph. In game 2, we fell to an impressive Tigers team despite expert handling of pressure by guards Titus Malay and Alexander Ham. Balanced scoring had 8 of players score in the match as we ultimately fell 23-26. In games 3-5, the Wolfpack caught their stride, thoroughly handling Hills, Cockburn, and Suns by double figures.

Harrison Dytlewski was effective as a 3-level scorer and played with great intensity. The U11-2 Boys managed 2nd place in their pool which setup a matchup with undefeated Hawks from pool B. Andre Kallis was again a matchup problem for the opponents and opening up his teammates. We jumped out to a 4-0 lead but found ourselves trailing 8-10 at halftime. In a back-and-forth 2nd half, Harrison Zulberti scored on the interior to give us a 16-15 lead with 5 minutes left to play. We traded baskets and it was clear that this game would come down to the waning moments. Back-to-back Hawks basket had us trailing 22-23 before Damon Veljacich completed an amazing drive scoring with less than 15 seconds left in the game.

The Hawks inbounded the ball quickly and were looking to score on the final buzzer before the Wolfpack forced a critical turnover, the ball rolling out of bounds in sync with the final buzzer and jubilation by Wolfpack Fans and Players! It was a terrific semi-final triumph that setup at rematch with the Tigers. We weren’t able to continue the momentum as the opposition as they did a great job of forcing turnovers and capitalizing in transition. It was a great run for the team guided by Head Coach Peter Schwartz.

The U11-3 Boys played really well throughout the weekend. Their spacing and willingness to share the ball exceeded expectations. Despite a 22-36 loss in their first game, they maintained their composure and competitive edge. Jayden Bhatti had 8 big points for the team. The next game versus U11-2 Boys for Redbacks was a similar story, a good game that had its ebbs and flows before we fell 30-35. Noah Jochimsen and Nikalis Coetzee scored 7 and 6 pts respectively.

The Wolfpack did well to stick with a strong Bunbury Bears team, trailing 12-18 at halftime before the game got away a bit in the 2nd half. Raphael Munikah poured in 7 points in defeat. Unfortunately, despite the cohesive play through 4 games we did sit at 0-4 ahead of a final game against Albany Raiders. We trailed 4-10 before quite a flurry that secured a 17-12 lead at the half. Harris Hunter had back to back baskets to turn a 3-point lead to 7. Noah Staltari did a great job as a ball carrier and again it was Noah Jochimsen that caught fire, coming up with 15 points in the game. The Wolfpack were victorious 30-25 to put a cap on a what was a first State Champs appearance for most players.

The U11-4 Boys had a pair of decisive victories over Hills U11-2 boys, 33-10 and Suns U11-4 boys, 61-10. Jack Dudley was in double figures in both games but the balanced scoring in these contests was a pleasant sight. Their first close game came against Senators, and despite trailing 0-6, we rallied to trail just 6-8 the half. In a hotly contested game, Mitch Lozey made a clutch free throw in the last 20 seconds to secure the 15-14 victory for the Wolves.

In their next game versus Cockburn, we were able to secure of a 7-4 advantage early in the contest. As the Cougars mounted their comeback, it was a pair of Joshua King baskets that put the Wolves up for good. Next up, the Lightning, and a similar story played out. Lucas Hutchinson and Joshua King had a couple of big 2nd half baskets but the Wolves still found themselves behind by 1 with under a minute remaining. They turned to Jack Dudley who delivered the final basket of the game and the Wolfpack escaped 14-13 victors. This had them undefeated in pool play and advancing to the Semi-Finals…

The U11-5 Boys were off to a soaring start against the U11-4 Eagles. Despite a 10-18 deficit just after halftime, the boys stayed together and fought their way back into the game. Kenzo Deng had back-to-back baskets to trim the deficit from 8 to just 4. Jaxon Smith had the next 7 Wolves points including an and-1 that he converted from the free throw line. The Wolves did great to trail by just 1 with 2 minutes to go.

The defence held up and Tatum Moriarty and Kenzo Deng had the final baskets for the Wolves, who managed the 29-26 victory. A pair of double-digits victories over Redbacks and Hawks followed, with Harry Collins pouring in 6 points in each contest. Next up was a tough side from Rockingham, and despite an early lead, we trailed by 3 points with 6 minutes to go. A defensive battle ensued as baskets were tough to come by. Leo Wallace scored the games final 2 field goals and the Wolves secured a finals position in division 4! An extraordinary Binar team sat atop the group alongside our U11-5 Boys in a contest that impacted seeding for Finals but each team was guaranteed to go through to the Semis. We trailed 3-17 at half before falling by double digits.

Despite the loss, it set up a clash with the U11-4 Boys from the Joondalup Wolves. It was great to have 2 teams make a Final in the same division but unfortunately only one could advance to the Grand Final. Players played a great match against each other and sportsmanship was maintained throughout! A 16-16 game developed with just 6 minutes remaining in the game. Both teams fought valiantly but U11-5 prevailed in the end, behind a game-high 9 points from Jaxon Smith. Both teams should be proud with how they played throughout the weekend, and especially in the semifinal.

The U11-5 Boys had a rematch with Binar and trailed 6-8 at halftime before falling 15-26. It was a great game to watch as we were close to a Grand Final victory.

The U13-2 Girls opened their tournament with a matchup against the Tigers. After trailing by as many as 9 in the 2nd half, the team came roaring back and cut the deficit to just 2 with 4 minutes remaining. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a few of our shots to go down and we lost 25-31. Hannah Benich and Asha McClelland had 9 and 8 points respectively. They next game was against Senators and we were able to jump out to a 13-3 lead, with Ella Sherwin leading the way with 8 points before half.

The Senators mounted a comeback the Wolves proved to be too much in the end. Our next opponent would be the Hills Raiders Champs team. We worked hard and secured a 2-pt lead at halftime but lost 14-24 in the end. London Franceschi led the Wolfpack with 5 points. Our last game was against the eventual division champion, Australind, who beat us by double figures. It was a great start to the 2024 WABL campaign for our U13-2 Girls who displayed plenty of promise and potential on the weekend.

The U13-3 Girls opened with a double digit loss the Hawks despite 6 big points from Kyona Nelson. We moved on to a matchup with Geraldon in which Arya Grinceri led all scorers with 6 points in a 20-8 victory. Our team did a great job of applying pressure, forcing turnovers and also rebounding on both ends of the court. Against Margaret River Hawks, the Wolfpack were again victorious in impressive fashion, 33-14. Mya Pasic, Scarlett Gaskell, and Eve Kallis each had 6 points in the affair. Our last game of pool play had finals implications, against the Esperance Breakers. It was a close contest throughout and one of the most physical of the entire weekend. Kyona Nelson was again a difference-maker scoring 11 points as the Wolves won a back-and-forth contest 26-18.

The U13-4 Girls opened with a pair of decisive victories, 28-11 over Redbacks and 27-16 over Mandurah. Kaila Dodunksi poured in 12 pts in the win over Redbacks. And Ruby Hall had 8 points against Mandurah. It was nice to see a pair of such a comprehensive and thorough wins to start the weekend! Our next match was against the Bunbury Bears who eeked out a 20-15 win over us. This was despite the 6 points of Alysia Lock and great ball carrying of Kennedy Bergersen and Kara O’Donaghue.

Our next match against Geraldton saw the Wolves turn a 5-pt halftime lead into a 29-11 victory. The scoring was balanced and the defence was on point. Our final match of group play was against a quality Binar side. It would be Georgia Lock who tallied 6 points to lead the pack. She was joined by Eden Sweeney, who chipped in 5 points of her own. We finished the game on a 15-6 run to closeout the game 23-19. A successful 4-1 weekend saw this team barely miss out on finals on tiebreakers.

Our U13-5 Girls were in action on the weekend in division 4. Ella Pearcey set the pace with 10 points in game 1 against the Eagles. The Wolves prevailed 39-8 and had 8 players score in the game. Next up the U11-4 Cougars who proved to be too tough of a matchup as the Wolves fell 11-25. The quality of play remained high despite the deficit accumulated in the first half. The Wolves bounced back against Hawks, mounting a 7-pt lead at halftime. Indiana Stephenson soared to 7 points in the contest. We triumphed 22-11 in the end.

The next matchup was with eventual Division Champions from Kalgoorlie. We lost by double figures. We were determined to get back in the winner’s circle, in our final game against Australind U13-2 Girls. This was a really high-level game, especially for this time of the year. We amassed a 2-pt halftime lead behind strong team defence and some conversions on the fastbreak. Indiana Stephenson had 3 and-1 layups in the game, the last of which knotted the game at 17-17. Eva Goodge made a pair of clutch free throws in the final minute. Lily Stefanski did a great job with defensive positioning and rebounding throughout the game and the final possessions, when the Wolves needed stops, she brought the undeniable grit and determination that put the Wolves over the top, 23-22!

It was a great weekend of basketball for our U11 Boys and U13 Girls. We look to continue in our development this week as the U11 Girls and the U15 Boys take the court.

Schedule is below