Four Willetton Under 16 basketball players have led WA to its best result in years at in the Australian Junior Championships.
Harrison Fitzgerald, Lachlan Burnett, Aaron Gashaw and Riley Auret, as well as head coach Brad Ramsay, assistant coach Brad Cook and team manager Brent Alexander – all from Willetton Basketball Association – went tantalisingly close to taking out the round-robin national tournament at Warwick Stadium.
Their first match was a demolition of the Northern Territory, 116 to 48, followed by a close 78 to 67 victory against New South Wales Country.
Their first loss came against the traditionally strong Victorian Metro side, going down 64 to 104.
They were too good for the ACT, taking that game 77-62.
The boys the dismantled South Australian Country 87 to 59 before accounting for Victoria Country, 81-58.
In the semi-finals, the WA boys went down to Queensland South 76-62, but managed to finish the tournament in third position with a win in their final game over South Australia Metro, 91 to 59.
Willetton Basketball Association’s high-performance administrator Jackie Keepa said bronze was one of the highest placings the State side had in a few years.
“Given the squad is 10 members, having four of those members, plus coaches, from Willetton was a great result.
“They boys know their games, they’ve played in the Willetton domestic program together, they’re playing in the WA Basketball League together, and after being selected for the squad, they were training together four times a week.
“Hopefully this sets them up for bigger and better things.”