THE PRIZE IS OURS: Bear claim the title
BASKETBALL: The stress might have given Bundaberg Bears under-12 coach Kym Haworth grey hairs but it was all worth it in the end.
Bundaberg claimed the under-12 girls title at the Central Districts Carnival that concluded last weekend in Hervey Bay.
The Bears won the carnival after winning all four games over the weekend and losing just one game during the rounds.
But it could have been so much different.
The Bears, playing Emerald in their first match, were pushed all the way by the opposition.
Starting slowly the Bears were down throughout the contest before storming home late to take the lead in the final term.
But Emerald fought back to level scores at 42-42 at full time to force overtime.
Bundaberg then claimed a win 48-44 in overtime to start what would be a winning run at the event.
"The Emerald team has really improved, they played brilliantly,” Haworth said.
"It was a little stressful, but I was really happy with how they composed heading into overtime.”
Haworth admitted the side struggled to play early after the long trip from Bundaberg to Hervey Bay in the morning before the match.
But once the side got the first win, it couldn't be stopped.
The team wrapped up the title with wins over Gladstone (58-14 and 40-13) and Rockhampton (32-29).
"Their confidence did go up after the first win,” Haworth said.
"We had different players in different games do well.”
Haworth said Belle Caughley was best in the first game with Bella Dickson, Heidi Gardner and Jade Kitt the best in the other three respectively.
The side is now preparing to play in the state titles on July 5 in Brisbane.
Bundaberg could have qualified and played in Division 1 but have opted to play in Division 2.
"Division 1 would have been hard and challenging,” Haworth said.
"It's still going to be hard in Division 2 and we'll be more competitive than Division 1 in it.”
Bundaberg will be represented by only one other team in Division 2 at the state titles later this year.
The Bundaberg Bulls U14 team will join the U12 girls (page 36) in Division 2 after finishing second in the Central Districts Carnival last week.
The team finished behind Rockhampton after winning nine games in the tournament.
This included four in the final round on Saturday and Sunday with wins over Hervey Bay (56-28), Rockhampton (61-54), Maranoa (63-51) and Maryborough (66-36).
The side almost completed the perfect round but lost to Gladstone by one.
The other two sides, the U12 boys and U14 girls, will compete in Division 3 at the state titles after finishing last and second last in the Carnival.
The U14 girls lost all three matches in the final round, losing to the Rockhampton Cyclones by 80 and the Rockhampton Storm by 20 before falling to Gladstone by 19.
The U12 boys lost its four matches in Hervey Bay, falling to Emerald (60-24), Rockhampton Jets (57-28), Rockhampton Rockets (117-31) and Gladstone (88-34).
The U14 titles for girls and boys will be held in Mackay and Townsville respectively with U12 girls and boys to be held in Brisbane.