Keilor Thunder coach Tom Bandilovski has nothing but admiration for the efforts of his young team in the Big V basketball women’s division 1 finals.
The youth-driven Thunder came within a whisker of a title, going up 1-0 in a best-of-three grand final series against hot favourites Chelsea Gulls and within three points of a game two win that would have clinched the title.
The Thunder lost game two and were out-played in game three, so they had to settle for the runners-up tag.
“Very proud of how they handled the whole finals situation, especially knowing how young they are,” Bandilovski said.
“Unfortunately it didn’t go our way the last two games.”
Keilor made a slow start to the season, but once it clicked into first gear, it was hard to stop.
The Thunder built a tremendous belief and that, coupled with a unique skill-set, made them dangerous in the finals.
“We’re young and quick and have a different style of game,” Bandilovski said.
“We move the ball much quicker, we are running much quicker than any other team, so that was the reason why we went so far in the finals.
“As soon as we started winning, we knew we could beat anyone.”
However, something as simple as missed free throws was Keilor’s undoing.
The Thunder choked at the free throw line in the crucial game two, shooting a dismal six-from-19.
“Normally we’re a very good team on the free throws, but it just happened,” Bandilovski said.
“In spite of that, I’m happy, I’m not going to hold it over any of the players.
“We’re happy and we’re getting ready for the next year.”
While Keilor did not raise a banner this season, they would like to bottle the atmosphere following the game one victory over Chelsea.
The win in front of a massive home crowd was the perfect way to end the season.
“We had a big crowd that night, which was good,” Bandilovski said.
“We lost to Chelsea twice during the season by 20-something points, but we knew we were going to beat them at some stage.”
Keilor has put in a submission to Big V Basketball to be considered for the state championship in 2018.