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First V Boys Capture State All-Schools TitlePosted in Achievements,Basketball,Sport on Wednesday, 7 August, 2019

When you consider basketball success at Mandurah Catholic College you generally think of the dominant female teams we’ve had over a number of years, but as of yesterday the First V Boys wrote the final chapter of a journey that culminated in their first State All Schools title ever. You read that right…EVER!!!

In a competition that has spanned close to a term, the Mandurah Catholic College boys started the season winning the Peel/Harbour League Carnival, which posed many challenges from local schools including Comet Bay and CBC. Winning this competition saw the team move to the elimination stage of the tournament where one loss would end a season.

The first cut throat game came from Kelmscott where the boys were emphatic 62-37 winners. Just when it looked like things would get easy, the team were on the verge of a forfeit before coming together and taking down a plucky Rockingham team in the Round of 16, where former Rockingham coach Ben Caporn used his knowledge against his old school to good effect 69-42.

A second consecutive road game saw the team take on Gilmore College in the quarter final, producing yet another double digit victory and with it a sea of confidence that had the team beginning to wonder how far they could go.

In front of a home crowd of less than ten people, the semi-final against Warwick should go down in College folklore. Trailing by double digits at various points in the first half, all seemed lost for the home side with buckets hard to find and Warwick brimming with a winners swagger. An 8-0 run in the first three minutes cut the deficit to a manageable margin, then with both teams trading baskets for the remainder of the quarter, the last would see an arm wrestle to the finish. With nerves kicking in it would be a case of who would blink first and it would be Warwick, allowing the maroon and gold to find a 4 point lead with two minutes to play. Some costly turnovers followed by a clutch three point shot put Warwick in front with less than 30 seconds. A strong drive and layup by Riley Parker gave the home team a 37-36 lead with 12 seconds remaining. A trip up the floor would end with a charge call that gave MCC the ball and ultimately a well-earned grand final birth.

Remember the date. 5 August 2019. Remember the score – MCC 72 Lesmurdie 53.

On this day nothing would stop the maroon and gold. Not the opposition, not their large crowd, not their mascot, not the referees, not anyone as the crew from Mandurah were locked in from the get go with Darren Beard sinking threes as smooth as your favourite pop song chorus. The defence was manic, busy creating turnovers and forcing hard shot after hard shot, frustrating a Lesmurdie team who had been so good all season hitting shots. The pressure applied from MCC was so suffocating that they struggled to breathe.

Half time saw a 17 point lead for the visitors, but there was no ego, no premature celebration from the team. It was all business, and they continued to conduct similar business in the second half. Riley Parker plays the game like Da Vinci painting, every brush stroke having a purpose just like every ball fake or extra dribble Riley executes in order to score. Having the ability to create your own shot is special and Riley had that skill on show regularly in this one. If Riley is the skill, Harrison Klasztorny is the will! On court, Harrison made it look like he was in Spain running with the bulls. Driving the lane and taking no prisoners Harrison was not letting this game slip and after six years of representing the school in basketball on his resume, this win would prove to be extra sweet for “Big H”.

“Big Shot” Beardy can be hot or cold with his shooting but this year he delivered more often than not, most importantly when it counted in the big one. Speaking of seniors, Rob Hutson has served basketball at the College better than most, often fighting out of his weight division playing inside, which has come to be admired by his teammates and peers alike. I’ve seen Rob take games over for First V basketball and while he passed the torch to others a little this year his banging and crashing inside was as important as ever for this group and with the help of Jack Burdon and young rook Jo Macdonald, MCC had three board men cleaning the glass and producing many second chance opportunities for the team which proved critical to claiming victory.

The game would end with seven young men maintaining their lead for the entire second half, playing basketball with grace and elegance that can only be appreciated by watching in person. The feeling following the final buzzer was of respectful silence, the large home crowd appreciating being beaten by the better team and the MCC boys excited yet respectful, conducting themselves in a controlled manner and not being prisoners of the moment.

Every squad needs depth and this squad was no different with Dylan Mulcahy proving handy at the Peel/Harbour Carnival and Jack Fourie providing the team with a genuine big at times throughout the season. The strength of the team IS the team, so thank you gentlemen for your contribution in getting us there.

In closing, I’d like to finish with two separate moments that stuck out on grand final day. One was its youngest member, Wil Burdon sinking a corner three late in the game that was such a warm moment that every member disrespected getting back on defence for the only time that day to congratulate the youngster soaking up the limelight. That’s the future of MCC basketball right there, getting a three ball and a championship as a present! Nice!

The second was a timeout late in the game, when all players came to the bench to listen to instructions from coach Caporn. Attentive, supportive, present. Seven players there for basketball. No ego, just the love of the game and care for one another. Winning the chip was important but at the end of the day it was just a side note to seven boys enjoying the game of basketball.

2019 – The year of Senior BOYS Basketball…