BRAD COLE THE ADVOCATE Tasmanian basketball continues to “overachieve” on the national stage according to men’s under 20 coach Mark Radford after he guided his team to a bronze medal at last week’s national championships in Canberra.
Following a 2-2 win-loss record during the pool stage, the Tasmanians came good in the first final, knocking over Victoria A to assure themselves at least a spot in the top four.
They were sent to the bronze medal game after a semi-final loss to Victoria, but rebounded to take down traditional powerhouse New South Wales by a point in the play-off for third and fourth.
Radford, who is Basketball Tasmania’s development manager, said despite the gulf in population to their mainland rivals, his team were always confident of doing well at the tournament.
“It wasn’t about winning medals but it certainly wasn’t about finishing last.
“We set our expectations high, and this group through the journey has always set their expectations quite high.
“Their goal coming in was to win a medal, and we had good enough talent and good enough role players who went out and executed over the course of a really rough week and got it done on the last day.
“Without a doubt it was sweet to defeat a team like NSW, and it doesn’t matter how you get there, you just have to finish in front at the end of the game.
“All Tasmanian junior basketballers should be proud of this medal.”
Leading the way for Tasmania were Taran Armstrong (24.83 ppg) and Reyne Smith (20.5 ppg), who finished first and second respectively in the scoring averages for the tournament despite copping some close attention.
“They were both outstanding during the week and were challenged in several games where they got heavily targeted in a basketball sense,” Radford said.
“In the semi-final against Victoria every time they touched the ball they got double teamed and it was quite a different scenario for them to handle.”