The Sunbury Jets are the Big V men’s division 1 champions.
Bringing a brand new team together this season, the Jets have built momentum throughout the season and at the weekend claimed the club’s first men’s championship since 2009.
Just two players of last year’s side, and coach Ryan Addison, remained of last season’s team.
Addison said they didn’t expect such success so quickly.
“It’s awesome really,” he said.
“Kris [Blicavs] and Arthur [Trousdell] have played a lot of basketball and you’ve got the guys coming up from youth league.
“We knew we had a good team, but it was fairly obvious early in the season that they had to figure out how to play together.
“They set the standard of what they wanted to achieve.”
The Jets ended a 10-year men’s championship drought the hard way, needing to win game two and three of the grand final series against Warrandyte Venom on the road.
The Venom won game one at Sunbury, 78-64.
Addison said they never questioned that they could get the job done.
“We had to believe in what we were doing and stick with the game plan,” he said.
“They kept at it and they were able to get the stops and stuck to the plan.
“Warrandyte are a good low-possession side and we knew it would be a hard slog.”
It was an up and down performance by the Jets in game two on Saturday night.
They led early in the first quarter, before slipping off the pace and trailing by seven points at the last break.
Addison said they kept things simple heading into the last quarter.
“We know they have big third quarters,” he said. “We focused on maintaining what we were doing in the third quarter and kept it close.
“We were able to win it over in the fourth quarter with our extra depth.
“We know how to grind out wins.”
The Venom didn’t give up without a fight, having three free throws to level the scores in the last minute.
They missed two and the Jets converted to seal the win 72-68.
Ish Sanders top scored with 26 points, while Trousdell scored 18 points.
Addison said while they were confident heading into game three on Sunday, they still had a task ahead of them.
“As well as we played last night [Saturday] we knew there was a lot of improvement to come,” he said.
“We identified things before the game.”
After an even first quarter, the Jets broke the game open, leading by 13 points at three-quarter time. They finished it off, winning 63-49.
Addison said the game plan didn’t change.
“I kept saying it was 0-0 at every break and we had to keep fighting, we had to keep getting stops. Our offence wasn’t spectacular, but the defence did the job.”
Addison said it was pleasing to get the likes of Ben Jones and Gene Vocale on in the dying seconds, having not played any minutes in the other two games.
“They have played a major role in what we did all year.”
Sanders was named the grand final most valuable player. It could be the first of several trophies for Sanders, who is in contention for the season MVP as well.
Sanders averaged 23 points per game in the three grand final games.
“When his offence is going, our offence is going,” Addison said.
“He played the full 80 minutes this weekend and knocked around a bit and he stuck at it.
“Ish is consistently the key … he averaged mid 20s across the series and made a lot of plays.”
The championship tops off a number of tough years for the Jets’ men’s side. Since 2009, they‘ve made finals just once before this season.
The next step could be a move up into the state championship division.
“We’ll see what happens, but I think it would be good to have the men’s and women’s programs both in state champ to be one of the elite clubs in the area,” Addison said.