From Convenor of Basketball, Anthony Gibbs
Captain of Basketball Report
By Angus Mattick & Matteo De Vecchi, Co-Captains (Waverley Basketball)
Welcome to Waverley Basketball 2016 – 17. This season is already looking very promising, with over 30 Waverley teams participating from Year 8 to Opens. In addition we are taking advantage of the fantastic new training and playing facilities that will undoubtedly lead to an improvement in team performance across all year levels. In addition to the new ‘State of the Art’ facilities, a new basketball program has been implemented so that coaches from 8H’s to Opens are following uniform guidelines for both style of play and team culture.
The season started early for players aspiring to make the top teams in each age group. In addition to intensive training, the 1st V and 2nd V participated in trial games against Moriah College, for which we had a first up win, followed by a tough game against Shore which didn’t result in a win, but provided essential experience to take on St Patrick’s College Strathfield in the following week. The 2nds fought gallantly, but unfortunately lost in a close game, while the 1sts had a victory against a much bigger St Pat’s side and were ably led by Dean Stojanovski.
The final pre-season game was against Sydney Grammar on the last Friday night of Term 3 and gave us a taste of the excitement we can expect for the scheduled night match against Cranbrook during the upcoming CAS season. In this match-up, the 2nd V had a battle on their hands. The quick Sydney Grammar guards proved challenging, but a very good game by Mark Goncalves set the tone for the rest of the team and they were able to step up and come away with a win. The 1st V on the other hand were not so fortunate and lost in a very close game. Like the 2nd V, Grammar’s 1st V had the advantage of quick guards who could also shoot, which allowed for great floor spacing and a very tough offence set-up. Waverley was led by Dean Stojanovski and Alex Higgins-Titsha. This loss added fuel to the fire for the players, who were eager to redeem themselves in the upcoming Sydney Schools Shootout.
To keep the momentum going two 3-day intensive training camps were held over the holidays. The first camp was for senior players, led by 1st V coach, Mr Johnny Jovine, 2nd V coach, Mr Tom Chamberlain, and assistant coach, Mr Tony Montano. There was also a junior development camp run by Coach Mr Jovine and Coach Mr Goran Veg (10A/B’s coach). Mr Veg is a new coach at the school and we wish him the best of luck for the season. These camps were intense, but also immense fun for all the students as it was opportunity to bond with each other and form strong relationships within the groups.
The senior training camp culminated the Sydney Schools Shootout, which is the premier pre-season basketball event for schools in the Greater Sydney area. This is always a tough assignment for Waverley and this tournament was no different. The 1sts had intimidating group matchups against Newington, St Ignatius’ Riverview and St Augustine’s College on the first day and Cranbrook on the second day but we gave a good account of ourselves.
The 1st V struggled against the size and might of Newington, but were able to regain composure and get back on track to match-up competitively against Riverview. The game was close throughout with Alex Higgins-Titsha leading the team with strong attacking play. The final game of the first day was against St Augustine’s College. This team was quick, long and also tall. These attributes disrupted our game plan and allowed them to walk away with the victory. The second day we matched up against CAS rivals Cranbrook School. Waverley came out strong led by Alex Higgins-Titsha, Dean Stojanovski and Hayden Walton and came away with a satisfying victory which is hopefully a sign for further success throughout the upcoming CAS season.
The 2nd V pool for the Sydney Shootout was similarly strong with games against Newington, Riverview, St Augustine’s, Chatswood High and St Luke’s Grammar. The highlight of the tournament was the game against Chatswood. This was a back and forth game with Waverley up by 1 with 20 seconds left on the clock. Brendan Morrissey was fouled and went to the free throw line to try to seal the game. He hit both free throws to put Waverley up by 3 points. Chatswood then inbounded the ball and came down the court to heave up a last ditch attempt and thus tie the game. Although we didn’t come away with the win, it was a learning experience that will push us to avoid similar situations during the CAS season.
The first week back at school culminated in the Selection Trials. The 1sts and 2nds players helped with the grading of the teams on the day as part of the mentoring program that has been implemented where players are assigned to teams and help out the coaches during the session. This program is designed to foster relationships, build the strength of the program, and also for the older boys to be role models for the up and coming players.
The selection trials day culminated in the traditional match up of the 1st V and 2nd V against the Waverley Old Boys. This is always a fun event with the old boys trying to show that they are fitter and better than us. It went down to the wire with a 1-point victory to the Old Boys in the 1st V game, so congratulations to them for that. The 2nd V found it more challenging, losing by 15 points, but it was a great experience to play those games and thank go to all of the Old Boys who turned up for keeping a great tradition going.
CAS Round 1
For first game in the new state of the art gym for the 1st V and 2nd V our opponents were St Aloysius’, which was ironic as they were our last opponents in the old gym two years ago. The 2nd V were coming off a historic season when they broke a 15 years old College record for most wins by a 2nds team and were playing with a similar squad to last year, with 7 players returning. The 2nd V also welcomed three debutants to the team, including senior Jake Thomas and juniors Hayden Walton and Mark Goncalves, as well as a new coach, Tom Chamberlain.
The 2nd V started off very well, forcing St Aloysius’ to take bad shots, and with Brendan Morrissey and Jake Thomas combining for early buckets as a James Matis’ buzzer beater took the team into an 18-8 lead at half time.
In the second half Waverley picked up from where they left off by fighting off any sort of comeback St Aloysius’ offered, as Finn Wright dominated the rebounds and gave the 2nd V a 39-27 win.
The 1st V were keen to get off to a good start after a disappointing season last year when they did not win a single game. Captain Dean Stojanovski led a very different team from last year, with 6 new faces including Johnny Pawle, Matt Miller, Ryan Abbot, Kyle Goulding, Alex Higgins-Titsha and James Campbell. Last year’s 2nd V coach, Johnny Jovine was now in charge of coaching the 1st V.
The 1st V came out firing with Dean Stojanovski setting the pace and making tough lay ups, while Alex Higgins-Titsha forced St Aloysius’ into bad passes, leading to easy transition buckets. While setting the tone on defense, Waverley went into half time with a comfortable lead.
Early in the second half James Campbell found himself in foul trouble which allowed veteran Ryan Lewis to step up and drive the crowd into a frenzy by making 5 consecutive shots, with three 3-pointers sealing the game for a 79-64 win. In a great start for Waverley basketball, it was the first time in almost two years both 2nd V and 1st V shared wins.
Both the 1st V and 2nd V now look forward to playing Cranbrook in Round 2 on Friday night and hope for as much as support as possible to cheer us to victory. Waverley students who are coming to support must wear Waverley uniforms.
Convenor of Basketball’s Report
Waverley enjoyed a very successful start to the season chalking up many wins against St Aloysius’.
The 1st V and 2nd V were most impressive and played as well as any Waverley 1st V and 2nd V teams I have seen over the past few years. Both teams have new coaches with last season’s 2nd V coach, Mr Johnny Jovine, taking over the 1st V coaching role and previous 9A/B coach, Mr Tom Chamberlain, taking over the 2nd V. Both teams worked hard over the pre-season, having participated in additional training sessions, trial games, training camps and a tournament, and this preparation was evident in each game.
1st V players Dean Stojanovski (24 points), Alexander Higgins-Titsha (20 points) and Ryan Lewis (18 points) kept the scoreboard ticking over in their game, while Johnny Pawle was fearless and tenacious in defense. Second-year veteran Jeremy Petritsis, along with newcomers Matthew Miller, Luca Zanarini, Kyle Goulding, Ryan Abbott and James Campbell played solid games. The 1st V led the entire game to eventually post a very satisfying 79-64 win. Overall, it was a great team effort and a performance worthy of the first 1st V game in our new gym.
The 2nd V played equally well, especially in the first half where they outscored their opponents by 18-8, laying a solid platform. The second half was a much closer affair, however the 2nd V had done enough early on to snare victory with the final score being 39-27. Jake Thomas (8 points), Finn Wright (6 points), Dion Hatziandreou (9 points) and Brendan Morrissey had great games, however it was a superb team effort that helped them to prevail.
Following the 1st V game, a small ceremony was conducted at the post-game luncheon to mark the opening of the new gym and courts. The Basketball Supporter Group had organised a special cake for the occasion. Head of College, Mr Ray Paxton and Head of Sport (Senior), Mr Stephen O’Donnell, were both in attendance with Mr Paxton participating in the cutting of the cake with Co-captains of Basketball, Angus Mattick and Matteo De Vecchi, Captain of 1st V Dean Stojanovski and Captain of 2nd V James Markham assisting. It was a very special moment, considering Waverley Basketball has been without a home court for almost two years and has had to endure significant disruptions to the program during this period. Particular acknowledgement and praise must go to Mr Paxton, Mr O’Donnell, the Maintenance Department, the Basketball Supporters Club and Waverley staff members too numerous to mention for their work in making the new facilities a reality as well as coaches, players and their families for their patience during the transitional period.
In other games Waverley posted wins in the 3rd V (50-35), 4th V (36-28), 11th V (14-4), 10A’s (29-27), 9C’s (29-28), 9D’s (24-4), 9E’s (18-4), 9F’s (34-8), 8A’s (28-27), 8C’s (35-19), 8D’s (42-15), 8E’s (54-5) and 8F’s (38-18). The following teams played well, but narrowly lost their games: 9th V (20-22), 10C’s (18-19) and 10E’s (24-26).
This week we take on local rivals Cranbrook with the 1st V and 2nd V playing their games this Friday night. Historically, Friday night games have been tense and thrilling affairs with the final result being very close. Students are encouraged to attend Cranbrook gym to support both teams, however please ensure that only Waverley approved uniforms are worn on the night. Entry will be refused to students who do not observe this requirement. The 2nds game will tip off at 6pm while the 1sts game will start at 7:15pm.
Players are asked to check their teams carefully for this weekend’s fixtures. The team lists have been posted at the entrance to the canteen. There has been significant movement, especially in the Opens teams. Note that teams are not fixed and movement up or down throughout the season is possible.
Good luck to all teams this weekend against Cranbrook.