Barrengarry Conference started its run to the pointy end of the season with the U12s and U14s heading to the Snakepit in Wollongong for the annual Barrengarry Gala Day.
After three rounds of competition, the teams, many in development stages, have honed their skills and game play to put it on display in shortened 20-minute games, before the top four on the day battle semi-finals and eventually a grand final.
Shoalhaven Basketball was well represented at the Gala Day with teams in the U12 Boys and U12 Girls Division, as well as U14 Boys and U14 Girls. This time last year, Shoalhaven couldn't even muster enough players for U12s teams, so to be at the point to offer competitive rep basketball teams this year is a great testament to the dedication of coaches Steve Foster, Amanda Volpatti, Luke Royston and Leanne Speer, to get these teams back on the court.
U14s were also beneficiaries of some Tigers coaching royalty, with Ben Morris (last year's championship U18 Boys team coach) taking on the U14 Boys and Misty Wood, taking on the U14 Girls.
U12 Boys started the day in a tough battle against eventual Conference Champions, Queanbeyan. Going down 27-8 was a bit disheartening, but their toughest game was out of the way early. Next they came up against Springwood, with a very convincing 30-8 win, followed a short time later by 29-19 loss to Moss Vale.
Their final pool game for the day was against hosts Illawarra and was a nail-biter with only 1 point in it at half time, but the Tigers eventually going down 20-17. This set the U12s up for a semi-final against Queanbeyan where they managed to put on 12 points to Queanbeyan's 33, so a better result than the morning game.
U12 Girls opened their day early against Illawarra with a 16-10 loss. They gathered themselves and put on some of the brilliance that shone through at Country Championships, to take the win against Goulburn 14-2. They quickly backed up against Merimbula who managed just a single point in Shoalhaven's win against them.
Their final pool game was against eventual Conference champions - Moss Vale - going down 16-8. This was enough to book them into a third place semi-final against Illawarra, who again took the win 15-6.
Our U14 Boys started their campaign strongly with an early 15-9 win against Moss Vale, followed by a loss to Batemans Bay 33-21. Eventual Conference Champions Merimbula played a very strong second half, to take the game 30-10. They came up against Merimbula an hour later in the semi and whilst not taking the win, managed to keep the score a lot closer, going down 21-14.
The standout performers of the day, however, were the U14 Girls. They dominated from their first game against Merimbula, taking the win 33-8. They followed this with a convincing 24-9 win over Illawarra and capped off their pool games with a 36-0 victory over Goulburn.
Securing themselves a 1 v 4 semi-final, they came up against Goulburn again, this time taking the win 37-5, setting up a Grand Final showdown with Illawarra, where they took a 1 point lead at half time and turned it into a 29-18 victory and the title of Conference Champions for 2018.