Guard storms to MVP win

Trent Piera, pictured driving to the ring during the Colac All-Stars charity match, is the Colac Basketball Association A Grade men’s MVP.

COLAC Basketball Association 2011 MVP Trent Piera hopes to make a return to the South-East Australia Basketball League.

The Saints ANZ star point guard, who grew up in Colac before moving to Ballarat in 2007, earned 26 votes from a possible 33 in his 11 games this season to win the men’s MVP, while Demons Breezer Rachel Rodger won the women’s award.

Averaging 22.4 points and 2.3 three-points per game, Piera led ANZ to 11 wins and four losses for the season, before bowing out to grand finalists Demons Lakers in the first semi-final.

The 22-year-old’s efforts eclipsed those of Rebels BWFC power forward Russell Whiteford, 22 votes, and Hawks Magic point guard Kevin Hinge, 21, and also earned him a spot in the inaugural 2010-11 CBA Charity All-Star Game.

Piera, who was involved with Ballarat Nuggets under-23 squad in the SEABL, credited team-mates for his first Colac MVP.

It’s passion for the game that keeps the Miami Heat fan involved, competing in top-grade competitions at Ballarat, Colac and Maryborough from Monday to Wednesday as well as training on other nights and representing Maryborough in the Country Basketball League in the north-east conference.

Piera said he hoped to one day return to the SEABL.

“At this point, I would like to get into rep stuff in Ballarat or Geelong or something in the SEABL league, hopefully I’ll reach there at some point,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rodger added another trophy to her cabinet, winning her fifth women’s A Grade MVP.

After winning her first of four MVPs in the 1996-97 season, Rodger, 22 votes, continues to stand out with her athleticism and ability to find the basket.

She edged out runner-up Kaitlyn Hammond, 20 votes, and Jac Cardinal, Shelley Scott and Alana Park, all on 11.

Saints Warra’s Jarrod Owen and Saints Angels’ Jane Russell took out the B Grade honours, while Rebels Dreamers’ Kirsty Smallman won the C Grade women’s award.

No love lost in preliminary final

by Lachlan Cowlishaw

THERE was no love lost between Demons Celtics and Demons Lakers when the former team-mates clashed for a spot in a Colac basketball grand final.

Lakers prevailed over Celtics in a tough and physical encounter to win the A Grade men’s preliminary final, 49-38.

The face-off was more dramatic given Lakers and Celtics were the same team last season before splitting at the start of this season.

The Celtics took the early ascendancy and were out to a 10-point lead by the 14-minute mark of the first half.

Demons Lakers’ Matt Lucas said the inside play of Celtics centre Nathan Lemke caused troubles for his side in the first 10 minutes of the game.

But it wasn’t long before the Lakers started to dictate the pace of the game with their trademark fast-break offence led by Darcy Lang, Kody Spokes and Shaun Keast.

The scores were 26-25 at half-time in what looked to be another close contest between the sides, but the Lakers took control in the second half.

Lucas led from the front with a 10 second-half points and Lakers big-man Levi Dare proved to be an immovable object under the basket.

Dare frustrated his Celtic opponents by claiming key rebounds and making scoring difficult on the defensive end.

Celtics’ Justin Williamson said the lack of patience in offence as the game wore on hurt his side.

Lakers will now meet Hawks Magic in next week’s grand final.

Rebels will defend title

by Ben Martin

REBELS Rock Lobsters have earned the chance to defend their 2009-10 A Grade women’s basketball championship after advancing through the preliminary final.

The Rock Lobsters outran Demons Breezers in the top-grade women’s competition to earn a grand final spot against Saints Tigers next Tuesday night.

The 45-37 win came as a surprise to the reigning premier, having beaten the Breezers just once for the season by two points in round three, but the Rock Lobsters lost in their three other encounters by a total of 56 points.

The Breezers showed their massive season improvement to lead 23-20 at half-time, despite having experienced starters Rachel Rodger and Hayley Dewar sidelined with injury.

Sharp-shooting Breezer Alana Park starred from three-point range in the first half, knocking down nine points from outside the arc, while teenagers Janelle Monaghan and Claire Evans also contributed triples.

But a lack of bench hurt the five-player team, and the Rock Lobsters took advantage in the second term with Tegan McNamara, 10 points, and Kelsey Jeffreys, nine, impacting the scoreboard.

With the margin see-sawing, Rock Lobster Grace Parker said the team changed its defensive structure and broke the game open with five minutes remaining.

Parker praised the job of her younger sister Edwina in neutralising the impact of Breezer centre Rebecca Scott, four points, and netting 10 points of her own.

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