Cairns Dream wins national crown

Cairns Dream wins national crown

The Cairns Dream men’s basketball team were crowned National Champions after defeating the Melbourne Black Eagles 98-67 in the Grand Final of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Basketball Association National Championships which were held last week in Cairns.

Led by young Cairns Marlins ABA player Travis Thorne, who was named Most Valuable Player or the grand final, the Dream dominated the game from start to finish to claim the Men’s A-Grade National title.  Thorne was well supported by Skytrans Cairns Taipans NBL player Deba George who top scored with a game-high 23-points.  The Dream finished the week undefeated with 6-wins from 6-games.

In the women’s A-grade grand final, the Cairns Dream women’s team went down to the Perth Blue Jays 66-58.  In a tight game the Dream battled hard behind the efforts of former WNBL player Naomi Pedro who finished with 17-points.  But her efforts were not enough as Blue Jays guard Simone Narkle led from the front, knocking down five 3-point shots on her way to a game-high 24-points to claim the finals Most Valuable Player award.

In the junior divisions Cairns Indigenous representative sides faired extremely well with the Under 16 Cairns Marlins beating the W.A Knights 44-40 to claim the Under 16 boys National title, while the Under 18 Cairns Marlins went down to the Fremantle PCYC 76-67 in their Grand final.

The Victoria Eagles won the Under 16 Girls title defeating the Fremantle PCYC 62-56.  In the Under 18 Girls Division, the Townsville Hurricanes defeated the Victoria Eagles 35-22 to claim their first National title.

The event attracted 45 teams from all over the country with players coming from as far away as Melbourne, Perth, Freemantle, Darwin, Thursday Island and Newcastle.  Big crowds turned out over the five days to catch all the action.

One of the major highlights of the week was the Slam Dunk and 3-point shootout competitions.  More than 1500 people packed into the Fish Tank to watch hometown hero Deba George battle with Brisbane's Simon Taylor in the Slam Dunk competition.  In the closest finish in the history of the competition, Taylor was crowned champion after beating George 38-37 (out of 40) in the final dunk of the night.

Local Cairns player Randy Ware won the men’s 3-point shootout while Patricia Graham from the Northern Territory won her second three-point title in the women’s division.

Hoop Dreaming Project Director Joel Khalu said the event definitely created a huge buzz in the Far North QLD community.

“It was a fantastic week for everybody involved and I am sure nobody went home disappointed,” Khalu said.

“To have this many teams travel from all over the country to Cairns and play at such a high-level was very entertaining for all those who watched.”

In 2010 the 5th Annual National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Basketball Association National Championships will be held in Melbourne.

Courtesy of Cairns Basketball Inc.
Photo courtesy of