Deni Junior Giants travelled to Benalla to participate in their last tournament for the 2017-18 season recently.
The Under 16 Boys A Team showed that their hard work, determination and developed skills over the season had paid off by making it to their first grand final of the season, finishing runner-up to the Wangaratta Warriors.
The U-16 side started the tournament in an unfamiliar position having to travel to Benalla for a Friday night game, but this did not impact their preparation having a confident 37-19 win over Yarra-Mul Lakers.
The Giants followed up their Friday night game with an early Saturday morning game and the tiredness started to show in the second half as they let Wangaratta back in.
With only a minute to go the coaches both called time-outs and the pressure was right on, but the Giants held their nerve to record a four point win.
Game three saw the boys have a convincing win over Benalla 39-17 with on-point shooting throughout.
The last game of the round saw Deni take on Mansfield Eagles.
With scores level in the dying stages, a fast break to the Giants saw them convert, however Mansfield threw in long straight after and scored with four seconds on the clock to draw the game.
Three wins and a draw was enough to secure the boys a Grand Final position against the Warriors on Sunday.
The boys shot the first three goals in a minute, but from there the score see-sawed back and forth.
Unfortunately the Giants were unable to convert their scoring opportunities and went down to Wangaratta by three points.
The Under 14 Girls and Boys A team both had a 50/50 result for the weekend.
The U-14 girls came up against the strength and height of Tumut and Mansfield which resulted in losses.
The girls had played Myrtleford on three previous occasions and lost by very narrow margins but they were determined to change the result this time.
The Giants led at half time by six, however Myrtleford were not going away and tied the scores with less than a minute to go.
With only 44 seconds on the clock Annie Harvey was fouled at the rim and was sent to the free throw line.
Annie stepped up and with the first throw converted the Giants had a nail-biting 14-13 win.
The last game saw the girls take on rival Wangaratta where they were able to show coach Mick Everett just how much they had learned over the season with a confident 21-13 win.
The U-14 boys came up against Echuca in their first game and had an attitude lifting 37-11 win.
The next game was against the unknown Phoenix United team from Bendigo, who showed plenty of skill, resulting in a 36-11 loss.
The next game was against the strength and height of the Swan Hill Flyers. The Giants were unable to convert when shooting, suffering a nine point loss.
Deni finished the tournament season off with a positive 21-14 win over Yarra-Mul.
The Giants’ U-16 girls had a very slow start to their tournament and just could not find any momentum losing 26-14 against Wangaratta.
The second game was against rival Benalla, who always seems to pip the Giants at the post.
The Deni girls turned it around however, with the Giants coming away with a two point victory, reward for their hard work over the season.
The last two games were losses, going down to Yarra-Mul 32-19 and Swan Hill 25-7 in very physical games.
The U18 Boys only played three games over the weekend, coming away with one win and two losses in some tough battles.
The U16 Boys B Team had their best tournament so far and although coming away winless showed a mighty fight in their first game, only going down to Benalla by four points.
Unfortunately the boys were unable to carry this momentum into Saturday games and were beaten by Mansfield, Wangaratta and Yarra- Mul Lakers.
Unfortunately the U-14 Boys B Team also couldn’t manage a win for the weekend, playing in a higher division. Coach Stu Raison said his team played skilful basketball and never gave up against some quality teams.
The littlest Giants played up a division due to the nature of the Benalla tournament layout.
Although they finished without a win this time, they showed just how far their skills and team work have developed over the season.
The Deni Junior Giants will wrap up their season with presentation night scheduled for the Friday, March 16 followed by their AGM on Tuesday, March 20.