Young First V off to competitive start
The First V might be a little younger than its competitors this year but they have the benefit of playing as a team with the same coach since Year 8. New First V coach Brad Downing believes the team, the majority of whom are Year 11 boys, has shown signs of improvement and competitiveness in its first two games.
Mr Downing, a former State Basketball League (SBL) player, said after the experience of playing Firsts in Term 4, the boys were back at school early in the year to begin pre-season training. “The pre-season was all about development,” he said. “Fine tuning the technical part of our game to be competitive for the start of the season.”
After playing two of the three top teams in its first two rounds, the First V is doing just that. In a tough game against Wesley in Round 1, the boys were up by four points until midway through the final quarter before losing by five points at full time.
Last Saturday’s fixture against Trinity was even more challenging, according to First V captain Daniel Dewberry (Year 11). “In another tight game, it came down to our performance in the last quarter,” he said. “In the end, it was Trinity who had the better day defeating us by 18 points.”
Mr Downing, who is assisted by old boy and current SBL player Ryan Fitzpatrick (2009), said he expected the boys to be very competitive in their next three fixtures and hoped to square the ledger. At the end of Round 2, the Second V, 10As, 10Bs, 10Cs, 9Bs, 8Cs, 7Bs and 7Ds all remain undefeated.
Other changes to the coaching line up this year include the addition of current Perth Wildcats development squad member Ben Purser (2007). The old boy and former School Captain, who has impressed in his appearances for the Wildcats including a high of six points against the league-leading New Zealand Breakers, is the new coach of the 10Bs.
Geoff McPherson, another ex-SBL and MVP player, was dragged out of ‘early retirement’ to coach the 10As this year having previously coached the Firsts over the past 15 years. Former WA basketball coach Warren Kuhn returns in 2012 to provide additional specialist coaching for the Year 8/9 development squad as well as the Firsts.
Christ Church takes on Hale this weekend at home. The First V’s game starts at 10.45am in the Christ Church Gym. For other fixtures and times, click here.
Photos by Anna Cornell