Tumut High School’s (THS) basketball program has continued to punch above its weight, this time qualifying their open boys’ team for the final eight of the NSW Combined High School Sports Association Basketball knockout.
The nine-player team will travel to Hills Basketball Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday, playing three pool games against Hunter Sports High, Sydney Boys High School and Smith’s Hill High School, with the top two teams then progressing to the semi-finals and the bottom two teams playing off for fifth to eighth position in the state.
Coach Brett Beavan was thrilled to see the side playing so well, with the core of the THS team having played together for years.
“It’s an incredible achievement really,” Beavan said.
“It all comes down to that they are all talented athletes and they have been playing basketball together for a while now.”
It was a long road to the CHSSA Championships final eight, with Tumut having won the Wagga gala day earlier this year, beating Young High School, Wagga High School and Kooringal High School in the process.
Tumut then beat Albury High School 59-24 in the round of 64 game played in Albury during March, before knocking off Macquarie Fields High School 43-21 in the round of 32 game played in April.
In their toughest test to date, Tumut then beat Terrigal High School 70-68 last month, ensuring their place in the round of eight.
Beavan praised the playing group, who have been punching well above their age and weight since 2019, when qualifying for the NSW CHSSA round of 16, before going down to eventual winners, Westfields Sports High School.
“We lost that game against Westfields, but they ended up winning the whole lot,” Beavan said.
“We have the same team, but they were only 15-year-olds playing in opens back then, and we didn’t play last year because of Covid, but now we have a chance to play these teams at the right age.”
A majority of the side plays representative basketball with the Tumut Timberwolves, and Beavan believed it gave his team a distinct advantage.
“They’re always improving, even with their town rep stuff and when we go to other carnivals,” Beavan said.
“We are usually in division one and playing against the best country Victorian teams and most of the time, they are making semi-finals and finals.
“Each year, the amount of improvement is outstanding, and we are really seeing that this year.”
Tumut still only call upon one year 12 player in Andy Dodds, while their year 11 players are Nathan Butt, Haiden Ings, Joe Roddy and Ash Baker and their bottom age players from year 10 include Eddie Dodds, Trae King, Jed Beavan and Brock Baker.
Beavan said his players were getting used to playing their individual roles, and a sense of camaradarie and playing for one another meant no player wanted to let the team down.
“It’s similar to sport when you get to a high level, and you get taught to do your job on the field and your teammates get taught to do their job and that is what is happening with these boys,” Beavan said.
“Everyone seems to gel that well as a team and that is why they have been winning and all the boys have always got along extremely well.”
“We are lucky they have had that experience together, and it should help them next week.”
Beavan explained that Tumut basketball teams had always performed well on the big stage, and he hoped it continued when they met Hunter Sports High School tomorrow morning.
“Even when I was playing 20 years ago, we’ve always had good players and we’ve always been competitive,” Beavan said.
“Basketball has always been a strong path in town and at school.”
THS tip off their campaign at 9.30 am Wednesday, with their second and third games at 12pm and 2.30pm.
If they are successful and make the top two in their pool, semi-final action then commences at 8.15am on Thursday, with the final scheduled for 12.30pm.