WARRANDYTE Venom’s Youth League One Women’s team crowned a terrific season in early September, winning the Grand Final over three thrilling games.
The Venom women defeated Coburg by five points at the Warrandyte Sports Complex in game three to take home the flag, giving co-captains Casey Taylor and Ellie Lock a fitting send off in their final games for the side.
Warrandyte went into the finals series on top of the ladder, after dropping just two games for the season, and had a week off heading into the Grand Final series, played as a best of three.
However, the week off may have done Warrandyte a disservice according to young gun Maddi Taylor, as Coburg were able to seize their chance, defeating them by 11 points.
“We’d beaten Coburg quite easily in both games during the season, and because we went straight to the grand final we had a week off.
“They didn’t, so they had a bit of momentum heading into that first finals game, and that caught us off guard a bit,” Taylor said.
In game two, Venom were a different force, and squared the ledger at 1–1 after a nine point win. Ellie Locke led the way with 22 points and six assists, aided by Maddi Taylor who scored 18 points, and Simone Caruana, who notched 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
In the all-important deciding game, Warrandyte were too strong throughout the contest, surviving a final quarter scare to run out deserving 78–73 winners.
“We had the lead the whole game and we played really well, in the last quarter they came back a little bit, but we kept our composure and sealed the win in the end.
“I think Coburg actually finished fourth so they did really well to come out and have a crack like they did,” Taylor said.
Locke, Taylor and Caruana were again influential, along with Isabel Feller.
Locke threatened to triple double with ten points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Caruana continued her form on the glass, with 14 points and eight more boards.
Taylor and Feller took it upon themselves to carry the scoring load, dropping 17 points each to bolster the offence. Spearheaded by coach Angela Heigh, Warrandyte’s achievement and ultimate success owes a lot to hard work and a lengthy pre-season.
“Our pre-season started in October last year to try and prepare.
“We did a lot of training, won a pre-season tournament and it’s been a good season just from there,” Taylor said.
No season is complete without an awards night, and Warrandyte were the toast of the town on September 23, at the Big V Awards ceremony at Etihad Stadium.
Simone Caruana and Ellie Locke received a prestigious all-star starting five position, while Caruana was also crowned the league’s best defensive player.
All of the Venom players were invited on stage to accept the trophy, capping off a terrific campaign.
Preparation now begins for participation in the State Championship Women’s league, after promotion was earned in the 2017 season, while Warrandyte Basketball will hold their AGM on October 31.