Update to junior finals story; Sunshine Coast Rip City will feature in two SQJBC grand finals on Saturday, March 27.
The under-16 boys take on Ipswich Force in Southern Cup at 2pm and the under-18 girls face Northside Wizards in Southern Cup at 5.30pm at Hibiscus Stadium, Upper Mount Gravatt. Sunshine Coast U18 girls beat Red City Roar 63-59 in last Saturday’s semi-final. Mackensie Woollett top scored with 16 points, while Ava Nason (14), Jessica Fell (14), and Millie Willox s(12) also scored in double digits. Northside beat Southern Districts 74-65 to reach the final.
Rip City U16 boys defeated Red City Roar 77-71 in last Saturday’s semi-final. Jedd Sparksman and Morgan Brown top scored for the Sunshine Coast with 18 points each. Elijah Otasui added 17 points.
Ipswich Force advanced to the final with a 60-58 victory over Moreton Bay Fire. In last week’s other semi-final for Rip City, the U21 men lost 98-97 to Sunshine Coast Phoenix.
Green says "Really proud of the girls on the season they have played. We are looking forward to the game and it should be a good clash between the two top teams in the division. We have put in the hard work to prepare for the game, training with and scrimmaging against the senior players. Now we just need to go out and play as a team at the level we know we can play."
University of Sunshine Coast Rip City will host rivals Phoenix in the under-21 men’s premier league semi-final Saturday (March 20) at 6pm.
It is one of three semi-finals Rip City will participate in the Southern Queensland Junior Basketball Competition. The under-18 girls take on Red City Roar at Auchenflower and the under-16 boys play Red City Roar at Northside.
Sunshine Coast Rip Black finished the U21 regular season in second place with a 12-2 record. A final round 88-84 loss to Logan Thunder (13-1) was a battle for top spot.
The U21 men’s team have five players averaging in double digits – Flyn O’Toole (17.08), Ronnie Twidale (15.57), Thomas Cordwell (15.57), Kai Bloom (13.55), Callum Parsons (12.43). Cordwell is tied league leader with 43 three-pointers made in the season.
Coach Jay McCracken has been impressed with the team’s off court club work as much as their on court teamwork.
“Probably what I’m most proud of this season is that the boys have really given back to the club by helping out with the junior development programs,” McCracken said.
“They have continued to wear the uniform with respect and are a great representation of everything the club stands for.”
O’Toole, Cordwell, Dane Glover and Ronnie Twidale have come up through the Rip City juniors together and have won together at under-18 state championships in 2018 and in the QSL Division 2 last year.
Rip City defeated their Coast rivals in the two regular season games, 93-61 in round 7 and 99-85 in round 13, but Phoenix star Oscar Cluff (18.5 ppg) is expected to return for the finals.
“Our expectation is that it’s going to be a great match up with two very talented teams,” McCracken said.
The Rip City u18 girls team head into the finals undefeated with a 14-0 regular season record.
Ava Nason is the league’s top scorer (494 points at an average of 35.29 points per game) and league leader with 23 three-pointers made. Millie Willox (16) Jessica Fell (15.57), Mackensie Woollett (12.07), and Chelsea Smith (10.71) also average in double digits.
Coach Sharni Green said she is proud of the team’s growth this season and has high expectations for the finals.
“It will be a physical game where we will need to stay calm and controlled,” Green said. “If we play as a team, communicate and stick together we will be difficult to beat.”
The Rip City u16 boys team head into the finals with a 13-1 regular season record. Their only loss came in round 2, going down 91-88 to Logan Thunder.
Elijah Otasui leads the league with 21.71 points per game. He is joined by teammates Sam Marshall (13.17), Morgan Brown (12.93), Jedd Sparksman (10.38), and Duante Murphy (10.29) in double digits.
Coach Josh Tueta said he has been impressed with the resilience shown by the U16 boys throughout the season.
“As a team we’ve had to overcome a number of challenges outside of just playing the game,” Tueta said. “The boys have stuck together and fought valiantly throughout it all.”
USC beat Red City Roar 92-87 in the final round game last week and 86-63 in round 4.
“We expect to play at a high level, staying focused throughout the game and taking care of our team goals,” Tueta said. “If we do those things, we know we need to, we will also expect to win and move forward into the grand final.”