AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY JUNIOR BASKETBALL CUP: Mate against mate with all on the line

FRIENDS will become foe for a couple of hours at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre today when NSW battles out the under-18 boys final at the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup.

The Waratahs and Kookaburras will vie for state supremacy after both teams progressed to the decider unbeaten.

Both teams know each other intimately, but with further state spots up for grabs, coaches Adam Marjoram and Joshua Cohen aren’t expecting things to get too friendly today.

The opposite, in fact.

“It’s going to be mate against mate but we never want to give anything less than 100 per cent every time we’re on the court,” Marjoram said.

“Once we step over the white line, we’re NSW Kookaburras and they’re NSW Waratahs.

“There’s state spots up for grabs after this game.

“A couple are a bit upset about missing out on gold when they played 16s and so they have that bit of added motivation.

“It’s going to be good.”

Waratahs coach Cohen agreed.

“I think it will be an intense game, put it that way,” he said with a grin.

“State spots are on the line and there’s only one way to secure a spot and that’s to come out and play well.

“It will be fun, I’ll tell you that.”

Despite the rivalry, Marjoram said he was proud today’s final was an all-NSW affair.

“We’ve got a good program with a good group of guys that all stick together,” he said.

“Most of these guys have been in our program since under-14s and come through.

“It’s a good effort.”

The Kookaburras prov-ed far too strong for Victoria Goldminers in yesterday’s semi-final at the Wodonga Leisure Centre, running out 14-point winners 62-48.

In the other grand final qualifier at the same venue, the Waratahs held off an early challenge from Victoria Bushrangers to eventually cruise to a 55-42 win.

“Any time you can come through the week and beat the Vics twice is a good week,” Cohen said.

“They always come to fight and never give up.

“It was a tough grind.”

Marjoram warned his team still had plenty of improvement left in it ahead of the final.

“We’ve still got a lot,” he said.

“We had too many turnovers in that last game.

“We’ll bring our best game and hopefully get the win.

“We have to play at 100 per cent the whole game, with no mental lapses, to get the win against those guys.”

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