By Tyler Lewis
Berwick College is taking huge steps in becoming one of the more dominant basketball schools in the country.
The school recently had four teams taking part in the Australian School Championships, with the Division 1 girls finishing runners-up, the Division 2 girls achieving eighth place, the Division 2 men’s side also finishing runner-up, and the Division 1 men’s side taking out the title. That group is now set to represent Australia in the international carnival in Croatia.
It was a mixed bag of matches for the Division 1 men’s side – recording a hard-fought victory in overtime on Wednesday before putting on a clinical display of basketball on the final day, firstly thumping Bendigo by 65 points and Rowville by 27, before taking to Whitefriars in the final.
Suffering an early deficit, the side clawed back into the contest and burst away with a 60-52 victory.
Unfortunately for the Division 1 girls, they couldn’t take home the ultimate goal of first place but were valiant in their performance as runners-up, making it all the way through to the final day before being dealt their first defeat.
The girls fell to a strong Rowville outfit in the final, but can still be pleased with the silver medal after a very impressive tournament.
As for the Division 2 men’s and women’s sides, the men’s also fell just short of making it a double for the boys after they lost in the final to a side that went undefeated for the entire tournament.
The girls finished in eighth place and weren’t able to wreak as much havoc in the finals as the other sides, however still impressed on and off the court.
Chris Pentland from Berwick College’s Basketball academy was extremely pleased with his students after they took it to the best kids across the country and proved to be a powerhouse in junior basketball.
“The great thing about the Basketball Victoria and Basketball Australia events (is that) we get to gauge our program against both public and private sector schools,” he said.
“We are really confident with the program we have developed, through having outstanding coaches, sports physiologists, an extensive athlete development program and strong classroom results that we are attracting lots of the elite local talent.
“We have a large program, which is hugely-popular and we are determined to develop all our athletes on and off the court.”
While the students are dominating on the court, courtesy of their hard work, Pentland still believes the right balance between sport and education is crucial and that balance is being achieved at the College.
“There is a massive amount of work that goes into getting to the national tournament, not for just those students involved in this tournament but all the tournaments along the way,” he said.
“Students are involved in highly-planned training sessions on a weekly basis and participate in a variety of tournaments.
“The nationals teams also had before-school trainings to attend, so it is a year-long process.
“At Berwick College we truly believe in the student/athlete model and are proud of our school’s academic results.
“We achieve some of the highest Year 12 results for government schools in our area and also often surpass some of the independent schools.
“The classroom is always viewed as number 1 priority at Berwick, with the basketball being the cherry on top.”
The Division 1 men’s side will represent Australia in Croatia after a stirring performance, but the success of the side can only come down to the depth of talent that runs through Berwick College, and with the whole school and nation behind them, the young men are destined to succeed.