Eagles hold court at home: Orange fares well in Molten Waratah finals

HANDS ON: Orange's Joe Miller takes on the Griffith defence in the boys' under 18 major semi-final. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER
HANDS ON: Orange's Joe Miller takes on the Griffith defence in the boys' under 18 major semi-final. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER

MAKING its mark on home soil, Orange has finished this year’s Molten Waratah Western Junior League finals at Anzac Park with two premierships and three most valuable player awards.

Ending the 2014 season on a high, the Orange Eagles recorded grand final victories in the under 14 boys’ division two competition and the under 14 girls’ division two premiership, edging the Griffith Demons in both games to be crowed this year’s champions.

Qualifying for the grand final of the under 16 boys, Orange suffered a heartbreaking 81-76 loss to the Bathurst Panthers Goldminers.

Orange District Basketball Association president Lee Spirit-Jones was thrilled with the on-court display of all five Eagles sides that made it through to this year’s final series staged in Orange.

“It was really a great weekend,” she said, with Orange qualifying in the under 14 boys and girls, the under 16 boys and girls and the under 18 boys.

“We had really high expectations for our under 18 boys side, but they lost one of their best players [Andrew Gray] with a broken finger in the week leading up to the finals. It makes it tough on any team when you lose such a good player.

“The teams that won, though, performed exceptionally well.”

Qualifying after a 61-30 victory over Griffith in the major semi-final, Orange’s under 14 boys made light work of the same opponent in the division two decider, rounding out the grand final with a 53-24 victory.

Eagles forward Zac Simmons was crowned the game’s MVP.

Equally impressive in the under 14 girls’ division two final, MVP Annie Miller led the Eagles to a 42-34 grand final win over Griffith.

Orange qualified for the final thanks to a dominant win over Leeton in the major semi-final.

In a terrific battle, Orange’s under 16 boys fought hard against a dominant Bathurst Panthers Goldminers before going down 81-76 in the decider.

Eagles point guard Moung Dut was crowned the game’s MVP.

“We got lots of thanks from Basketball NSW after running what was a great tournament,” Spirit-Jones said.

“We were very happy to have three teams out of five make the grand final.”

Orange’s under 18 boys suffered back-to-back losses in an injury-riddled division one finals series, while the Eagles’ under 16s girls went down 51-49 against Cootamundra Cougars in the division two minor semi-final.