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Raiders chase country championship glory at senior weekend

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Albany Basketball Association has named an extremely strong senior men’s team for this weekend’s 2017 Basketball WA Country Championships in Perth as it looks to recapture the men’s championship division title.

The Raiders have enjoyed a brilliant period at the senior championships, winning seven of the past 10 men’s championship division grand finals including a run of five straight from 2011 to 2015.

Bunbury ended Albany’s dominant run last year, downing them by 16 points in the decider to end their historic attempt at a sixth successive crown.

Veteran Justin Benson will again lead the Raiders side, which features ex-SBL guard John Santia and talented shooter John Murray.

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Darren Berry will be the official men’s coach, with Benson handing him the reins after preparing the team in the lead-up.

Dangerous perimeter shooters Tom Powell, Tristan Mackenzie and Jordan Genovese are part of the squad, Stuart Myers adds a valuable presence under the ring with their lack of height and Carwin Garcia adds further scoring depth. Berry was excited about the side’s prospects, which begin with matches against Mandurah and Kalgoorlie on Saturday.

“Top division, you are always competing against the best of the regions and is another level compared to down here,” he said. “I am basically the bench coach, Gus (Benson) has been training them and getting them ready.

“The last six years we have been really successful and every team goes up to win.”

Albany will also send a senior women’s side although the age demographic of the group is set to be one of the youngest to ever step onto the court in the women’s championship division.

The side will be coached by David Arthur and is filled with young talent including captain Zandalee Arthut, Ella Scamozzi, Alyssa Ward, Bridgette Latham and Anita Onions.

“We have a very young team,” Arthur said.

“We are going up for mainly experience but we are lacking height. “These kids will be fast; they love playing against women and they don’t fear anyone.”

The ABA will send seven teams to the championships overall.

ABA Squads:

Men’s Championship Division Team: Justin Benson (C), John Santia, John Murray, Stuart Myers, Tom Powell, Tristan Mackenzie, Jordan Genovese, Carwin Garcia.

Women’s Championship Division Team: Zandalee Arthur (C), Aleesha Narkle, Ella Scamozzi, Naomi de Rooy, Bridgette Latham, Anita Onions, Alyssa Ward, Shianne Arthur, Indianna Weeden.

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