Jeremy Harding and Riley O’Shannessy are on cloud nine.
The two young basketball players from Batemans Bay won the Waratah League youth men’s division two championship last month with the Shoalhaven Tigers by beating the Illawarra Hawks by 12 points.
O’Shannessy capped off a fantastic season with the game’s MVP award, a follow up to his season MVP award.
The two boys are now a couple of weeks removed from the victory, and are still waiting for it to sink in.
“I can’t believe we’ve actually won it,” Harding said. “When you look at how the team was at the beginning of the season, you wouldn’t have really expected it.”
“How we came together at the start of the year, especially when we weren’t sure who would be playing for us, it’s quite a surreal feeling,” O’Shannessy said. “The Hawks were one of the strongest teams in the division, and they were strong through the whole season.”
Harding scored 11 points in the victory, and said he was “happy with how he played” in the grand final.
O’Shannessy scored 19 points, but said every player was key in the win.
“It was one of those games where the MVP award could have gone to anyone,” he said. “Everyone contributed, and we all worked hard for each other.”
The boys are already in preparation for division one basketball next season, and are looking forward to the challenge.
“When we qualified for the grand final, we went over to watch the division-one semi-final,” O’Shannesy said. “They’re not like the 18-year-old boys we have in our team, it’s closer to a men’s league.
“We didn’t know how we were going to go at the start of this season, so I think that could benefit us again next season.”
However, O’Shannessy said a local competition of a similar quality would be great.
“We’re used to the travel, but it would be nice to have that steady competition a bit closer to home,” O’Shannessy said. “We both pay in the men’s comp in the Bay as well. The quality isn’t as good, but we’re playing against guys that are bigger and stronger than us, so that helps.”
The boys said being the only Eurobodalla Shire representatives in the team wasn’t as big a disadvantage as it seemed.
“All of us are like a big family,” Harding said. “As much as we’re rivals when we’re playing each other on the court, we’re all just as close off it.”
“The good thing for us is we’ve played against a lot of the guys throughout our junior basketball, so we had some camaraderie with them already,” O’Shannessy said. “We already had our foot in the door so to speak.”