2016 SA Junior Champs - State Girls Preview
The Basketball SA Girls program has generally been dominated by three clubs recently, but only two of them have had much State Champs success. Not since 2004 have we had another club win the State Champion Club for the Girls. Forestville will be chasing their 5th straight and 9th in 10 years. Sturt will be the biggest competition but have some vulnerabilities while Eastern will be looking to transfer their regular season results into State Championship success for the first time.
Under 12 Girls State
Summer Premiers: Sturt, Runners-up: Forestville
Dark Horse: North Adelaide
Current In Form Team: Eastern
Despite a few hiccups the Eagles have dominated this Grade since 2006 and will be hoping to continue that success. They'll have a tough time with some strong opposition though, including the ever imposing #1 seeded Sturt Sabres. The next 3 teams all are capable of breaking into the Grand Final too making this a close, exciting grade to watch.
Pool A: Sturt, North, Norwood, Woodville, West
The Sabres went through Summer undefeated at 13-0 and followed that up with a 2 point Grand Final win. Round 1 of winter and they faced Forestville again, this time losing by 3, but have bounced back strongly with 3 big wins. Sturt's only competition for 1st in the Pool will come from the improving North Adelaide. A 3-1 season start including a 3 point loss to the Eagles and a 1 point win v the Flames puts the Rockets in the position of spoiler for the Sabres but they'll also have to watch their back from the Flames potentially passing them. Norwood's winter to date has been tough but they turned around 3 close losses with a comfortable win v West last weekend. Like so many younger teams, this team could push the higher seeded teams or could find themselves comfortably outside the semis. Both Woodville and West are chasing the teams ahead of them but it will be a good tight contest between the two for 4th in Pool A.
1. Sturt, 2. North, 3. Norwood, 4. West, 5. Woodville
Pool B: Forestville, Southern, Eastern, South, Centrals
The Eagles worked their way into another Girls GF in Summer but ended up just short of success. A strong start to Winter with knocking off summer premiers Sturt and comfortably beating South has slipped following the loss of an important player despite an off season addition. A close win against North was followed by a loss to Eastern adding fire to this previously settled Pool. Southern's early summer season form has slipped a step but the Tigers will still be a strong challenger in this Pool. The bigger threat will come from the 4-0 Mavericks, who come into the weekend with wins against both #1 and #2 seeded Pool B teams. We're confident they can hold up their momentum and have a strong showing through to Semis, will they face the Maverick struggles come finals time or will they be able to break through for a title? South too appear deeper and improved since Summer and will push the Tigers in particular. Centrals summer struggles have continued in winter and we don't expect them to challenge for semis.
1. Eastern, 2. Forestville, 3. Southern, 4. South, 5. Centrals
Final Placing: 1. Sturt, 2. Eastern, 3. Forestville, 4. North
Under 14 Girls State
Summer Premiers: Forestville, Runners-up: Southern
Dark Horse: South
Current In Form Team: Sturt
2014 U12S Champions: Sturt
The most even grade of the entire Tournament with up to 8 teams capable of making Semi Finals. An example of how close this will be is the fact Centrals ended Summer 7th with a Points For/Against% of 96%. The added importance of a top 3 finish to secure a Nationals Invite and the pressure will be on coaches, players and even referees the entire weekend for pretty much every result.
Pool A: Sturt, South, Centrals, West, North
Sturt's summer was plague by injury and player absences but at full strength this group won the 2014 State title and certainly have the talent to back that up with a win in 2016. A late slide in Summer in a log jam at the top saw the Sabres slide from 1st to 4th by season end. Winter and all seems back on track at 4-0 including important wins against fellow Pool A teams South and Centrals as well as another regular contender Forestville. South's 1-3 record looks concerning but that includes a 2 point loss to Sturt, a 3 point loss to Forestville and an under strength loss to Centrals at Starplex. At full strength the Panthers can go all the way to territory not reached by a South under 14 girls team for over a decade. Can they stay calm and controlled in a finals environment against finals regulars? The talent is definitely there. Centrals and West both have 'upset' wins on the board in Winter and have the capability of further upsets during the tournament. Any team underestimating either of these teams will find themselves on the wrong side of the final result. North will struggle to keep the pace in a very deep Pool full of contenders.
1. Sturt, 2. South, 3. Centrals, 4. West, 5. North
Pool B: Forestville, Southern ,Eastern, Norwood, Woodville
A couple of out of form teams at the top of another deep and even Pool. Forestville and Southern met in the Summer GF, an experience the Eagles seemed to handle better on their way to a comfortable margin of victory. But in a grade this even the Eagles now find themselves at 2-2 including a loss last weekend to the 3rd ranked Mavericks. Southern's success over summer has also stumbled so far in winter with wins only against the lowly ranked North and newly promoted Woodville teams. A surprise loss to West (who finished Summer in 8th) only highlights the challenge ahead for all finals hopefuls. Eastern have been a difficult team to place a 6-6 summer record has been followed by surprising wins against Forestville and Southern but equally surprising losses to Norwood and West. Norwood provided a twist to the seeding system by forfeiting their catch-up game mixing up pools and seeds. Either way the Flames find themselves in a pool with 3 other contenders. A steady start to winter against strong opposition has secured the Flames a 3-1 record to date. Woodville have joined the Division 1 ranks over the off-season thanks to the influx of magic but their early summer player losses mean they're still finding their feet which is unfortunate because their current personal added to those they lost would have proven competitive.
1. Forestville, 2. Eastern, 3, Southern, 4. Norwood, 5. Woodville
Final Placing: 1. Forestville, 2. Sturt, 3. South, 4. Eastern
Under 16 Girls State
Summer Premiers: Forestville, Runners-up: West
Dark Horse: Eastern
Current In Form Team: Norwood
2014 U14S Champions: Forestville
An interesting mix of teams with some history between teams and coaches along the way too. A clear favourite followed by a pack of 5 chasers but can any of them knock off the favourites come Finals time?
Pool A: Forestville, West, Norwood, North, South
Not usual that one, two and three from summer end up in the one Pool but the pack and a 13 week season means that's what we have ended up with here. The Eagles have been impressive all year despite a summer loss and some close wins. A big win in a grand final is what we expect from this group, the ability to put all the pieces together in the biggest games. The deepest team in the competition with talent at every position there's few weaknesses if any. Two teams trying to prove us wrong as well as get pass each other are West and Norwood. A 9 point win to the Flames last weekend would suggest they can secure 2nd and a semi final spot but the Bearcats shouldn't be discounted yet and will come back strongly. North and South will have a tough physical contest between them for 4th but neither have the size or experience to contest for a semi final spot.
1. Forestville, 2. Norwood, 3. West, 4. North, 5. South
Pool B: Eastern, Centrals, Sturt, Southern
Three teams here that finished summer with some disappointment in the middle of the table. Eastern have probably the most talented group of the three semi final aspirants but Centrals and Sturt are both capable of finishing 1 or 2 in the pool also. The Mavs have yet to light up in winter a big win over fellow finals chances Norwood was balanced out with a lost to West. A 4 point loss to Forestville last weekend might be a sign of a build up to the State Champs weekend, but this team could have their weekend derailed quickly too. Centrals Round 2 loss to Sturt has been backed up by 2 impressive wins since and the Lions have earned their #2 seeding here. If they can keep composed under pressure they should slip into the 2nd finals spot. Meanwhile the Sabres would dispute this beating the Lions already in winter. A significant loss to Forestville in Round 1 and a comfortable win over the Panthers puts the Sabres at 2-1 currently. Question marks over this teams preparation remain however and weekend's like State Champs tend to flush these out. Southern will push all three teams above them for a while but we don't feel they quite have the ability to put a full game together to knock off some pretty talented teams above them.
1. Eastern, 2. Centrals, 3. Sturt, 4. Southern
Final Placing: 1. Forestville, 2. Eastern, 3. Norwood, 4. Centrals
Under 18 Girls State
Summer Premiers: Forestville, Runners-up: Sturt
Dark Horse: West
Current In Form Team: Norwood
2014 U16S Champions: Eastern
A difficult competition to look at with a lot of external factors playing a part on current results and some unknowns going into this weekend. Sturt, Forestville and Eastern have shared the title the past 3 years and should all be contenders in 2016 but will have some new competition to get by. The most disappointing detail is the lack of teams, with now just 7 teams lining up, something which should be a concern for all involved.
Pool A: Forestville, West, Eastern, South.
Three legitimate contenders in the one pool, putting quite a bit of pressure on the under strength and under performing, Summer Premiers Forestville. Given the issues in 18 girls the Eagles have already faced Sturt twice along with the much improved Norwood Flames and sit 0-3. Expect an improved performance post 18 Nationals and if they can get all their girls on court they will again be title favourites, but availability will be the key. West have a good core that have been together for a long time now. They have the ability to gel and take on any team in the competition and should be considered a genuine threat to win the title. Eastern too will be glad 18 Nationals are done with and with their big addition between seasons they have improved on an already solid line up. South continue to struggle with consistency and a lack of size will keep them from pushing 3 title contenders in Pool A.
1. West, 2. Eastern, 3. Forestville, 4. South.
Pool B: Sturt, Norwood, Centrals, Southern (withdrawn)
First of all disappointing news that Southern have been forced to withdrawn due to long term injuries. This group surprised many with their 2014 form in Under 16s and it's a shame injury and other factors have taken their toll on a solid, long established group. Sturt and Norwood currently sit undefeated atop the Winter Season ladder and will both go through to Semis without too much issue. A fully fit and available Sabres team appear too deep and talented for the Flames but a lot of variables are in play and an upset shouldn't be discounted just yet. Norwood have slowly built on an already good group and with a easier run into semis could cause difficulty for the big names come finals time. Unfortunately player movement has hurt the Lions chances who like South will struggle for size and most likely will be stuck outside a finals race.
1. Sturt, 2. Norwood, 3. Centrals
Final Placing: 1. Sturt, 2. Norwood, 3. West, 4. Eastern