From the Co-captains of Basketball, Angus Mattick & Matteo De Vecchi
The training week leading up to the much-anticipated Friday night game against Cranbrook was disrupted due to the staggered departure of Year 12 to the Senior Retreat however this allowed for more intense training for those that attended, and resulted in a solid preparation.
In the first game of the season the 2nd V had a great win against St Aloysius’ and looked to carry that momentum into the game against Cranbrook, buoyed also, by the prospect of support from a big crowd of vocal Waverley supporters.
However, from the start, Waverley 2nd V were forced into making critical mistakes by the intense Cranbrook press. This caused problems for the whole game and led to many turnovers from Waverley and easy baskets for Cranbrook to allow them an early 16 – 8 lead. Tactical changes by coaches Mr Tom Chamberlain and Mr Tony Montano in the latter part of the first half flipped the momentum in Waverley’s favour. This was supported by strong contributions by big men Jake Thomas and Finn Wright. An exciting, intense, and competitive first half ended with Cranbrook leading 29 – 23.
Waverley started off the second half well with speed on the fast break that led to quick, easy baskets from Brendan Morrissey and also strong full court from Matteo De Vecchi. This initial onslaught surprised the opposition and Waverley seized an early lead in the second half. The game oscillated back and forth, with little room for error, and players from both sides were finding it difficult to maintain composure given the pressure of the situation and the frenetic support from the boys in blue and gold on the sidelines. Unfortunately Waverley’s big men found themselves in foul trouble and Cranbrook was able to exploit that to their advantage and edge their way back into the game. With 45 seconds on the clock, Waverley led 47 – 42. Cranbrook called a time-out and then drew up a play, which resulted in a 3-pointer. This cut Waverley’s lead to 2 with 30 seconds remaining. After a tactical foul on Waverley, there was a scuffle, which amounted to two free throws from each team – shooter Miguel Joson making one from two, and Cranbrook making both, to further decrease Waverley’s lead to 48 – 47. Free throws ensued by both teams until Cranbrook made one from two to tie the score up with 10 seconds remaining. The atmosphere was chaotic: Waverley called a timeout and ran a play to attempt to score. Miguel Joson then rolled to the ring and made a valiant attempt at a lay up with the ball hanging on the rim and falling out with no time left on the clock. Game over and game tied. It was a great effort by the 2nds with congratulations to debutant Jacob Gibson, who was making his first appearance for the 2nd V.
The 1st V were also coming off a great win against St Aloysius’ the previous week and were looking to continue their form against Cranbrook to make it the best start for a Waverley 1st V team for many seasons. The first quarter started well with Dean Stojanovski scoring a stunning three pointer in the first 10 seconds and going on to contribute 8 out of the first 10 points. The relentless pressure applied by wing players Jeremy Petritsis and Alex Higgins-Titsha gave their opposing numbers no end of trouble when trying to enter the ball into the key to start their set plays. The first quarter was dominated by Waverley with steady, determined and sometimes brilliant plays that culminated in a 24 – 7 lead.
The second quarter also started off well with the boys making strong, determined play, and showing good decision-making. This set the tone for the rest of the quarter with Waverley maintaining relentless pressure and drive to the ball. The team was led by defensive bulldog Johnny Pawle, who set the tone on offence and defence with a huge 3-pointer and some late shot clock heroics where the ball was thrown up and miraculously curled in. Many steals from Alex Higgins-Titsha allowed for fast break points that helped Waverley keep the lead at a substantial 38 – 18 at half-time.
Surprisingly, Waverley was slightly unsettled at the beginning of the second half and Cranbrook capitalised with a string of scores and 3-pointers. The momentum was with Cranbrook until veteran big man Ryan Lewis made an inspirational lunge at a free ball in the centre of the court to stop a certain fast break score. His desperation at ending up on the floor to save the steal reinvigorated the team to hold onto a 50-34 lead at three-quarter time.
Waverley came out in the final quarter determined to keep the pressure up to Cranbrook and remain positive and composed in order to secure a second win of the season. Dean Stojanovski, Alex Higgins-Titsha, Jeremy Petritsis and Johnny Pawle led the team to the convincing 69 – 55 win. Congratulations to the 1st V and coaches Mr Jovine and Mr Montano for propelling Waverley to the top of the CAS table (tied) and for achieving first and second round wins for the first time in many years.
Special thank you to all the Waverley boys who made the effort to come to Cranbrook and support the 1st V and 2nd V last week. It is an unbelievable experience to play in front of passionate, vocal supporters, and that support is a big factor in the success we achieved on the night.
We are looking forward to the matchup with Trinity Grammar School this week. Good luck to all teams competing.
From the Convenor of Basketball, Anthony Gibbs
Waverley took on local rivals Cranbrook last week with the highlight of the round being the showcase Friday night games featuring 1sts and 2nds. Coach Mr Tom Chamberlain reports that the 2nds began slowly, failing to execute their offensive sets in the first half of the game in the face of a strong defensive effort from Cranbrook. Trailing by 6 points at the break, Waverley came back stronger in the second half to overtake Cranbrook with a 7 point lead with approximately 3 minutes remaining in the game, however a couple of mistakes and missed opportunities by Waverley gave Cranbrook the opportunity to capitalise. With both teams in foul trouble, free throws became crucial in the dying stages and Cranbrook were able to draw the game 49-all. Coach Mr Chamberlain thought the 2nds were impressive for a second week and he was particularly happy with the team effort to get back into game after trailing early on. Jake Thomas, captain James Markham and Matteo De Vecchi were best on-court, however it was another inspiring team effort by the Waverley 2nd V.
The 1sts had a tough assignment with the small Cranbrook gym and parochial crowds working to inflict bitter disappointment on Waverley teams in recent years. Nevertheless, the 1st V came out with guns blazing in the first quarter and blew away a rattled Cranbrook side, ending the term 24-7 in Waverley’s favour. Coach Mr Johnny Jovine was pleased with the defensive effort of the players in getting stops and turning them into fast breaks and scores at the other end. The second and third quarters were much closer affairs with Waverley taking honours in the second stanza (14-11) and pushing out to a 20-point lead and Cranbrook the third (16-12) on the back of five 3-pointers by the Cranbrook guards, poor defensive rotations on Waverley’s part and a lack of teamwork. While the final quarter was tense and Cranbrook were able to stay with Waverley, the 1st V’s first-quarter blitz of Cranbrook meant that their lead was always going to be difficult for Cranbrook to overhaul. Despite a series of further 3 point baskets to Cranbrook, the 1st V were able to cruise to victory with the final score 69-55 to Waverley. Coach Mr Johnny Jovine believes the preparation and commitment of the players during pre-season has paid off, with better shooting and teamwork the most significant improvements. Defense has also been a major factor in the 1sts improved performances, with Coach Mr Jovine a firm believer in its importance to win games. The 1st V’s two wins from two games see them move to the top of the CAS table, shared with Trinity Grammar. The team will need to refocus for this crucial game as Trinity is one of the favourites to take out the CAS competition.
The fervent support of Waverley students and old boys on Friday night needs acknowledgement and praise. A number of prefects and senior students were present and were marvellous in organising chants as well as encouraging positive behaviour and conduct from attending students. A huge thank you to all of those supporters, particularly the prefect body and Mr Richard Chen (Head of Year 7), Mr Greg Radford (former Waverley 1st V coach), Mr James Spargo (9A/B) coach and Year 12 student Daniel Szabo for filming all 1st and 2nd games to date.
In other games, Waverley posted wins in the 3rd V (44-27), 12th V (31-24), 10A’s (48-35), 10E’s (28-25), 10H’s (36-24), 9C’s (36-32), 8B’s (42-36), 8C’s (24-23), 8D’s (28-25), 8E’s (54-7) and 8H’s (31-20). The following teams played well, but narrowly lost their games: 4th V (25-20), 10D’s (23-21), 9B’s (42-37), 9D’s (32-26), 8F’s (12-9) and 8G’s (23-17).
Special mention must go to our 1st and 2nd players who have been mentoring junior players and assisting coaching staff on a weekly basis. This mentoring program has been a regular feature of the basketball program for many years now, and the enthusiastic participation of the senior players demonstrates their strong leadership skills and the dedication they have to both the program and the College. Finally, thank you to our hardworking parents who have been volunteering countless hours on the BBQ each week, feeding many hungry players and parents from not only Waverley, but visiting schools.
Good luck to all teams this weekend against Trinity.