St John Paul College Coffs Harbour girls win state basketball title

St John Paul College Coffs Harbour open girls basketball team celebrate their victory.

ST JOHN Paul College Coffs Harbour’s open girls basketball team have conquered the state yet again, winning the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Basketball Championships for the third straight year.

The girls team successfully defended their title during the two-day event last week in Penrith.

They finished the pool stage with four wins, one draw, and one loss by only two points, as they qualified for the grand final against St Mary Star of the Sea from Wollongong.

After having drawn with them in the pool rounds, St John Paul College took home another state title, prevailing 49-42.
The school’s Leader of Sport Danielle McAra gave a recap of the successful defence of their state title.

“Whilst it wasn’t all easy and didn’t go our own way in the rounds, we found ourselves in the grand final against St Mary Star of the Sea from Wollongong, the team we drew to in the rounds,” she said.

“Our girls were amazing, determined and unrelenting in both offence and defence and after a seesaw battle, took control in the third period resulting in a 49–42 win.

“The captain of the team, Charlize Morrison, was a controlling force on the court and motivated the girls to do their best.

“For Charli this was her sixth year of representing the College in basketball and her third NSW Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) championship win.

“A lovely way to finish her basketball career with the college.

“Our player of the tournament and of the grand final match was Alexis Plater from Year 11.

“Her commanding presence in all aspects of the game saw her turnover innumerable balls and dominate the score “She was an unstoppable force.”

It was a total team effort which McAra identified as the key to their state title win.

“The best part about this group of girls is that it was a full team effort across the whole tournament,” she said.

“Whilst Lexi finished off a lot of the play it was because of pressure and turnover from Kira Juffermans in the key, some outstanding three-point shots from Tully Jarvis, strong and dominant rebounds from Isla Martin, polished fast break and offensive rebound completions from Isla Anderson, selfless teamwork from Brooke Dart and Bella Wiffen and dogged defence and poise from Maya Duncan.

“And the ladies achieved this outstanding result without one of our key players and foundation of the team for the past six years, Charlotte Cougle, who was unable to participate due to injury.”

Team captain Charlize Morrison explained what made her team so successful.

“The majority of the team has been playing together for many years now, whether it has been at school basketball, domestic basketball, representative basketball or state basketball level.

“Some of us have even been playing together for six years,” she said.

“This has created excellent chemistry between the team and we are all very familiar with each other’s playing style allowing us to read each other well on the court.

“We also carry a lot of pride in winning the previous CCC championship and were very determined to win it again, especially as it was the last time for the Year 12s, like myself.

“This made the whole team extremely eager to win and play very well together.

“The final was the best game we played all tournament because we all motivated each other to do our best to win the championship.”

Head coach Jessi Reeves said it was a remarkable achievement to defend their state championship.

“Winning the CCC championship for the third consecutive year is indeed a remarkable achievement, and the girls are most certainly a force to be reckoned with on the court,” she said.

“Our players share excellent chemistry both on and off the court, understanding each other’s strengths and working together seamlessly, which is crucial for consistent performance.

“With a deep bench of skilled players, we maintain a high level of play even when key players need rest or are dealing with injuries.

“This depth allows for strategic rotations, with all players stepping up when needed.

“Despite having some very challenging and close games during the first day of competition, the girls’ spirits stayed high and they remained strong, which allowed them to pull together for an amazing day of basketball on the second day of the tournament.

“Their passion for the sport shone through, resulting in winning the Combined Catholic Colleges Championship.

“The team consistently dedicated their Friday mornings before school to train together and prepare for this tournament.

“These elements together created a strong foundation for our team, allowing us to achieve sustained success and secure the CCC championship for three years in a row.

“We are incredibly proud of our players and look forward to continuing this tradition of excellence.”


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