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Aussies on target at basketball titles

THE Air Force’s men’s and women’s basketball teams proved too strong for their New Zealand counterparts when RAAF Base Wagga hosted the ADF combined national basketball titles.

Held over six days, the standard of play was high and the competition fierce as the New Zealand Air Force duelled with the RAAF and the states battled for interservice basketball supremacy.

The Air Force women’s team took on their Kiwi rivals in the first final for the week. Leading Aircraftwoman Bree Griffiths’ sharp shooting helped the Aussies to easily overcome the visitors, winning by 20 points, 44-24.

The Air Force men’s team recorded a similar result despite trailing their NZ opponents by one-point at quarter time.
Signs of pressure started to appear in the second quarter, however, with the New Zealander’s shooting accuracy wavering.

While the quarter time scores remained within six points up until the start of the fourth, the combination of focus, tight defence and consistent shooting enabled the Aussies to pull away to win by 15 points, 72-57.

In the competition between states, the Northern Territory took on a combined pool team of players from other states in the final.

Although the “poolies” had been tipped as favourites, the Territory was simply a cut above the competition and finished strongly to win 86-50.

NSW took on the reigning champions Queensland in a thrilling men’s state final. While NSW led at each quarter, Queensland refused to go down quietly and fought hard throughout the game.

Time out was called with just 1.33min on the clock and nine points the difference. The pressure remained on NSW to retain its lead, which it did and went on to take the game 67-58.

ADF basketball patron Maritime Commander Rear Admiral Raydon Gates presented the awards that evening. This year’s Most Valuable Players were Leading Aircraftman Dean Hill and Lieutenant Wendy Keogh, with highest scorers’ awards going to Captain Jayne Tauschke and Leading Aircraftman Hill.

The Frenchie McDougall Memorial Award, given to the person who “demonstrated the same energy, indomitable spirit, sense of fair play and enjoyment of life that Major Gregory John Frenchie McDougall displayed both on and off the court”, was presented to Corporal Gill Rutledge.

Corporal Janeter Turnbull, Aircraftwoman Heather Edward, Leading Aircraftman Dean Hill, Aircraftman Ben Hutchinson and Flight Lieutenant Mick Mastus were all selected in ADF representative teams to contest the 2003 Arafura Games.
  • By LS Rachel Irving


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