VIC METRO WOMEN CHASING THREE-PEAT AT 2016 U18’S AUS CHAMPS

VIC METRO WOMEN CHASING THREE-PEAT AT 2016 U18’S AUS CHAMPS

Already hailed as the most successful team in the women’s competition at the Under-18 Junior Championships, Vic Metro and coach Paul Flynn are chasing a three-peat this year.

If Vic Metro are successful, it will be the fifth three-peat in the history of the team while they have won 25 titles in the 49-year history of the Champs.

“The success of Vic Metro teams is a reflection of the time our clubs and associations dedicate to the development pathway,” said coach Paul Flynn.

"Basketball Victoria’s High Performance Programs continue to evolve with the game and play an enormous role in preparing our athletes for state team selection."

Flynn first joined the Vic Metro team in 2014, following a number of years of coaching with the Basketball Victoria National Intensive Training Program and at VJBL and SEABL level.

“I’d be lying if I said coaching was always an aspiration but it certainly became the natural progression as my playing days drew to a close. I fell in love with the game all over again.

“I consider myself very fortunate to be given the opportunity to coach a Vic Metro side through a national campaign.”

Finding immediate success at Under-18’s level, Flynn led the Vic Metro women to a gold medal in his first year as coach.

In an all-Victorian final, they defeated Vic Country 75-70 to finish undefeated in the tournament as Anneli Maley (15.9 points, 12 rebounds and two steals per game), Georgia Pineau (11.6 points) and Alex Sharp (11.2 points and 2.7 assists) starred.

“2014 was really special. We had an all-rookie coaching staff and the quality of competition was incredible, every team seemed to feature players tabbed as potential Opals. In the Grand Final, I recall the lead changing at each break, with us timing our last run to get up.”

Not content with one gold medal, Flynn then backed up his performance to lead Vic Metro to another title in 2015.

They again progressed through the tournament undefeated and stamped their authority on the Champs with an 86-46 demolition of South Australia in the Grand Final.

Averaging another double-double as a top-ager, Maley dominated the final with 22 points and 25 rebounds (eight offensive).

Maddison Rocci and Georgia Dale joined Maley with back-to-back championships while Monique Andriuolo (16.4 points) and Najvada George (11.6 points) came to the fore in the 2015 campaign.

“Last year was incredible,” said Flynn.

“The way everyone bought into the ‘team’ culture, our system and values was absolutely incredible. Their sense of belief was unwavering and I’m really proud of what they were able to achieve together. Their basketball journeys will take them to different places but they’ll always be able to share that moment as a team.”

From that 2015 side, George, Ezi Magbegor, Rebecca Pizzey, Kiera Rowe and Ella Batish will all be returning to add another chapter to the storied history of Vic Metro this year.

“W have great length which is a stark contrast to the line-up we selected back in 2014. Across our preparation we’ve run with 17 players in our group, four of which are based at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.

“We’ve had to make a couple of last minute adjustments to our final team due to injury but the beauty of our preparation is our emergencies complete all the sessions with the main group, so we are not throwing anyone in the deep end.

Despite being the side to beat this year, Flynn is not feeling the pressure.

"There are a number of teams that we’ve pre-identified as legitimate championship contenders. As a team we’ve prepared well and I believe we all understand what we need to do for us to achieve our goal next week."