Kempsey Basketball’s U18 Boys had a successful run at the NSW Country Titles for the first time in many years.
Playing in Division 3 for smaller associations and some larger associations, third grade team Kempsey opened their campaign with a close encounter with the Illawarra Hawks.
The boys trailed for most of the game, but made a solid comeback led by Malik Dunn to outscore their opponents 13-4 in the last quarter to run out the winners 31-28.
In their Saturday afternoon game, they came up against some sharpshooting boys, the Central Coast Waves who dropped eight three-pointers in the game.
Captain Harold Thompson staged a mini comeback in the third quarter sinking 6 baskets in a row for 12 points, but it was all too late for the Kempsey boys.
Sunday was a much better day for Kempsey, after a slow start, they began to fire with Harold putting up 19 points including five three-pointers, Noah Schubert, Corey Jago and Mick Pascoe all sunk baskets, but it was Corey Jago who put up the buzzer beater to win 33-30.
It was in this game that Mick Pascoe, with his extra height began to capitalise on offensive rebounds. The midday game against Dubbo was an easy run for Kempsey.
Bailey McKay notched up 15 points, to Harold’s 13 points.
Young Jago put up 12 points as well in the 46-26 win.
The last game of their pool was against Merimbula.
The game started evenly, but Kempsey steadily pulled away for a comfortable 12-point win allowing them to progress to the semi-final against the big guns from Goulburn.
Goulburn was a well-drilled side who capitalised on every turnover leaving Kempsey reeling in their wake. By the end of the 3rd quarter, it was a case of playing out the clock as coach Evelyn Jacobs put the younger boys on to play out the game.
It was at this point that Blair Simpson Wise finished off the scoring with a 3 pointer. Goulburn went into the grand final against CC Waves.
Kempsey's next outing is the U16’s at Lismore on June 25.