Wodonga Wolves’ seniors and juniors prepared for massive weekend

ALL SET: Wodonga Wolves seniors and junior basketballers (front) Meg Foley, 9, Josh Ivic, 12, Piper Godden, 10 (back) Blake Mills, Josh McKay, Seth Blackburn, 13, Broady Mills and Ben Coates are ready for a big weekend of basketball on their home court. Picture: MARK JESSER
ALL SET: Wodonga Wolves seniors and junior basketballers (front) Meg Foley, 9, Josh Ivic, 12, Piper Godden, 10 (back) Blake Mills, Josh McKay, Seth Blackburn, 13, Broady Mills and Ben Coates are ready for a big weekend of basketball on their home court. Picture: MARK JESSER

Wodonga Wolves will be chasing their first CBL North East title since 2015 when they face the Seymour Blasters in this season’s decider on Saturday night.

Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre will host both men’s and women’s finals in conjunction with the Wodonga Junior Invitational Tournament.

The Wolves’ last grand final victory came against Seymour, with the Blasters exacting revenge in 2016, before going back-to-back against Shepparton last year.

Wodonga booked its place in the final with a 74-71 road win against Shepparton last weekend, while minor premiers Seymour cruised to a 90-57 triumph against Wallan.

Wolves’ coach Broady Mills admits it’s the bench that will again be the key to success.

“As has been evident all season, the depth and enthusiasm of the bench is our strength,” Mills said.  

Josh McKay has a conference-high 214 points, while the speed and ability of Mitch Donovan and Jarred Ardern is the key to transition.

Combined with leadership of Ben Coates, the Wolves have the confidence to win in a close one.  

However, the Blasters are have plenty of experience of their own with an average age of 30 in a side which has been playing together for years.

Seymour had the better of the Wolves in their two meeting this season, including a 79-70 victory at Wodonga in November.

Meanwhile, the Wangaratta Lady Warriors and Wallan Lady Panthers will meet in the women’s conference decider after upsetting the top-two sides in last weekend’s semi-finals.

Wallan took down hot favourites Wodonga, 53-47, while Wangaratta had an impressive 65-50 away to Shepparton.

The Lady Wolves had played in finals for more ten years straight, before their stunning semi-final exit.

Wangaratta coach Craig Northey was impressed with his players, citing their scoring ability as the key, which will no doubt cause the Panthers some concern in the decider.

Head-to-head, the sides are 1-1, which should make for a great contest.

Rachel Jefferey has 167 points for Wangaratta this season at an average of 16.7 per game.

Wangaratta should have the physical edge, but the determination that the Panthers that showed last weekend, will no doubt be a challenge for the Warriors to overcome.

Ladies tip-off is at 6pm, before the men at 8pm.

Meanwhile, the Wodonga Junior Invitational Tournament commences on Friday night and will run through to Sunday.

At least 180 teams from across country Victoria are playing in the popular Border-based event across the three days.