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Venom seek to bite back

Men and Youth Women sides set themselves for finals

WARRANDYTE’S Division One Men and Youth League Women look poised for Big V finals as the season passes the halfway mark.

Division One Men

Heading into the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend, the Mens team are currently 2nd on the ladder with 11 wins.

The men’s side are perched comfortably with the standout being import Jacob Thom, who has well and truly settled in to life at the organisation.

He’s averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists over 15 games, including an impressive dunk against Collingwood that featured in the Big V highlights reel.

Brenton Charles continues to provide good support for the side, currently placed second in the division for average assists and total assists with 77 so far this season.

Bryan Moore and Andrew Kelly have also been solid scoring options for the Venom.

Although they broke their four-game win streak against Western Port Steelers in Round 11, the team will be hard to stop in the backend of the season.

Youth League One Women

The Youth League Women have hit a similar vein of form at the midway point of the season, sitting two games clear in 4th position — despite losing their last two matches — thanks to a five-game win streak to start the season.

Venom’s Ellie Caruana (Round 5) and Claudie Kuen (Round 7) also received Blue Carpet nominations — which is a round-by-round list of the 12 best men and women players in the entire Big V League.

They seem to have a penchant for the close encounters, which includes a two-point victory over Keilor in Round 8 and a hard defensive effort against Eltham leading them to a one-point victory against their crosstown rivals in Round 9.

A 41-point rout of Corio Bay in Round 7 stands as their most comprehensive performance, with Kuens 30 points rounding out a dominant display.

Division One Women

The Women’s side have started to get their campaign rolling, despite sitting second from the bottom of the ladder, the team have been playing well.

Skipper Meg Dargan continues to set the pace for her side, averaging 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists with her best returns coming against Camberwell and Bellarine.

In Round 7, a 20-point final quarter against third-placed Bellarine gave the Venom their first win of the season, an important scalp to get their season underway and instil some confidence in a talented side.

Dargan again proved to be the difference with an impressive season-high 23 points.

In a strange turn of events, the away fixture against Mildura was called off at half-time due to a significant water leak making the court unsafe for play, turning the match into a veritable “wet weather game.”

Youth League One Men

The Youth League Men also sit last in their division despite getting off to good starts against finals bound Bendigo and the undefeated Ballarat in the last month.

Sebastian Goldby led the side with 17 points and 10 rebounds against Hume in Round 8, prevailing by three points for their second win of the season.

The sides only other triumph was a thrilling one-point win against Werribee in Round 3 with Goldby, Harrison Ayton and Mitchell Kerr- Read all throwing in solid scoring contributions.

Despite a 2–13 record, the Venom have shown promising signs in numerous close games and will look to square the ledger as the season

Holloway to head up basketball coaching program

Warrandyte Basketball Association (WBA) has announced the appointment of Ryan Holloway to the position of Coaching Advisor.   

In a statement released by the club’s committee of management, they outlined the considerable experience Holloway brings to the role.

“Ryan has extensive experience in coaching, having coached for both Warrandyte and Park Orchards teams in the Eastern Districts Junior Basketball League (EDJBA) and for Warrandyte Venom in the Victoria Junior Basketball League (VJBL).

“His skills as a coach are highlighted by coaching many EDJBA A grade teams and VJBL Victorian Championship level teams.

“Ryan has had experience in the State program as an NITP coach and Assistant Coach with the Victorian Ivor Burge Men’s program.

“He is currently the Head Coach for the Australian Dingoes U21 team (Deaf Basketball Australia), Head Coach for a Warrandyte Venom U14 team and Assistant Coach for Australian Boomerangs.

“Ryan holds a Masters of Exercise Science and a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science, is a Level 2 NCAS Association Basketball Coach, Level 2 Referee Coach, and a Level 1A Grade Referee.”

Ryan is also currently the Vice Chairperson for Disability Sports Victoria and the Warrandyte Park Orchards Referee Branch President.

WBA has 40 EDJBA teams and 21 VJBL teams as well as four Big V Venom Teams.

The statement goes on to say the club is looking to “grow and strengthen current domestic and representative programs by supporting its volunteer coaches through the provision of developmental opportunities”.

In his new role, Ryan will be “responsible for developing and delivering a coaching program to support fundamental skills acquisition of our volunteer coaches.

“The key focus will be mentoring our Redbacks and Venom coaches and setting base expectations for skills development, quality and behaviour,” the statement says.

Having played basketball for Warrandyte Redbacks, Venom and Big V Youth League, together with his coaching experience and qualifications, the committee says they are confident that Ryan will be a great addition to the Warrandyte Basketball Association.

“We are looking forward to working with him, and the coaches of all our Venom and Redbacks teams benefiting from his contribution to our programs.”

Venom claim women’s basketball premiership flag

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.

Basketball in full swing

WARRANDYTE Basketball has been busy with all competitions and levels of basketball in full swing as we move through another season and another year of rep ball.

The Redbacks have been hotly contesting matches every Saturday, while the Venom sides are participating in VJBL grading and some additional tournaments, the Sunday night comp is operating full tilt, Wednesday night Greyburn Cup competition is in the finals process, the Venom USA trip has departed, and all four Big V sides are in the middle of an intense pre-season.

A welcome addition has been the offering of skills sessions for Under 12 and 14 Venom players for a four-week period heading into the Christmas break.

These sessions run by director of coaching, Nicole Howard, have been well received and are facilitating young and aspiring Warrandyte basketball players in extending their knowledge and ability.

These four week block sessions will be again offered in the New Year and will include some Redbacks specific sessions.

SOUTHERN PENINSULA

The 28th Southern Peninsula Junior Basketball Tournament was held on the weekend of November 22 and 23 and Warrandyte was well represented.

Among the many teams competing were Warrandyte Venom’s newly formed 18.1 Girls. It was an extremely productive weekend under the guidance of coach David Blyth, according to club officials, with the girls finishing third in Division 1.

BIG V EXCITEMENT

Big V Season 2015 can’t come soon enough for the Venom young guns who have been selected to represent Warrandyte as members of the Youth League 1 Women (YL1W) and Youth League 2 Men (YL2M).

With head coach Beau Bentley at the helm for his second season with the Youth Men’s team, he and his newly appointed coaching staff of Phil Noone and Bill Nicolaidis have put together what they believe will be a squad that can push for a finals birth in 2015.

After a finals finish last season that left the YL1W just short of another shot at the title, Warrandyte Venom has farewelled 2014 coach Damian Clarke. Recently the club welcomed Angela Heigh to the position of head coach and she will be assisted by Kellie Taylor.

Angela, having coached VJBL sides for Warrandyte Venom over the past few years, is very aware of the talent of many of the Venom juniors. She is now witnessing first hand, through tryouts and training, that there is a lot to like about these young developing players.

Although the main goal at Youth League level is to develop our athletes in readiness to move to senior basketball, our coaches will place a big emphasis on developing fundamentals in doing the little things to enable them to adapt to higher levels for the future. These teams will also be hungry to win.

It is an exciting time for the club with so many talented junior players progressing through the ranks and this is backed up by the huge turnout at tryouts, which shows strength within the club and for those not selected this time we have no doubt we will see many faces back pushing for selection in the coming years.