Big V Women -Back to Back State Champions!
In a unique situation, one that hasn't occurred in recent memory, both of Eltham's Senior teams; the Big V Men and Women have made the Grand Final series two years in a row! The Club is very proud of what has been achieved at this level over the years, but in particular in the last two years.
Our Men needed to win Game 2 on Saturday night against Ringwood at their home venue, to keep the series alive. Our Women, won Game 1 and a win on Saturday would bring the championship back to Eltham.
Congratulations to Eltham's Big V Womens team, after they defeated Melbourne Tigers 2-0 in a best of 3 match series!
In a rematch of the 2011 series against the Tigers, 'new' 2012 Eltham coach Jai Cesari, prepared his charges well. With Hollie Florance (nee Grima) not available for Game 2 (due to a wedding), Eltham got off to a shaky start that saw the Tigers lead by as many as 11 in the second quarter. A little Wildcat resurgence took place toward the end of the second quarter. The half ended with a killer move by Olivia Bontempelli that saw the lead cut to just four at the main break.
Then enter Sam Woosnam. The 2012 WNBL Champion, rose to the occasion and helped lead many of the younger players to a 3 point lead at the final change.
Expecting a reaction from the Melbourne Tigers in the last quarter the Eltham girls rode through it and had answers to every Tiger challenge. Finishing with a 61-54 win, Eltham Basketball Club are the Big V Women's 2012 State Champions!
Congratulations to Sam Woosnam on her MVP of the series award. She finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the match in both categories. Bontempelli had 9 points and 10 rebounds.
Congratulatios must also go to Eleanor Cesari and Carleigh Egan on their final matches of their career. Carleigh, an Eltham junior, had already played in an Eltham Big V Championship in the late 90's and returned from retirement to have on last crack after sustaining injuries and most recently having her first child. Congratulations on a great career Carleigh!
Eleanor Cesari (nee Sharp) is a name that the majority of our junior players will be familiar with. Having plyed her trade at the elite levels including captaining the Canberra Capitals to a WNBL Championship, Eleanor's opportunities at the elite level took a hit as she suffered Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After a few years away from the game as a player, she was lured back in 2011 for the Eltham Big V program. It was from then, that we saw the 'Sharpie' of old, competing with her 'never say die' attitude and showing the younger players what is required of an elite athlete. After playing such a major role in 2012 for the Wildcats, it is hard to believe she is stepping away, but congratulations to her on a brilliant career. To finish with two championships in a row is a tough ask and one that few other than Sharpie could achieve.
Our Men, led by 7 points going into the main break at half time. Having led by the same margin in Game 1, they knew they were having to brace for the Ringwood charge. While the third quarter remained relatively even, Ringwood hadn't shown everything yet.
Led by American import Skyler Bowlin and Adrien Sturt, Ringwood came home at full speed. Finishing the match with a 25-12 final quarter, the Wildcats just couldn't hold on.
The Eltham Men have had two brilliant seasons. Unfortunately, in both years they have been outdone by stronger teams, but to be amongst the best in back to back years, especially after having such a changeover of players from season to season is a credit to Cam and his team.
Well done and thankyou to coaches Cam Lloyd (Men) and Jai Cesari (Women). Thankyou to the support staff, volunteers and everyone involved in the Big V program for 2012. Once again, we saw a great year of basketball and success!
Eltham Big V Women's State Champions
Jessica Bearzatto (Capt)
Sam Creed (Missed Grand Final due to leaving for College in USA)
Head Coach: Jai Cesari
Assistant Coah: Jill Bassett
Team Manager: Leanne Crellin
Masseur: Philippa Shantz