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Historic win for Boys Firsts Basketball Team

Congratulations to our Boys Firsts Basketball Team, who have won the 2023 APS premiership for the first time since 2010.

Boys Firsts Basketball Premiership Team 2023

Wesley beat top-of-table Haileybury College 56-53 in the final match of the winter sport season to finish equal premiers, sharing the title with Haileybury who have dominated the competition for years.  This is only the fourth time since basketball was introduced by the APS in 1991 that the Wesley Boys Firsts have won the title.

Team Captain, Noah Le Combre, said ‘Winning the premiership was the accumulation of an entire season of hard work. It gives meaning to everything prior, all the hardships and struggles; all the moments when where we asked ourselves is it worth it? Well, we answered that on Saturday, and yes, yes, it is!’

It was ‘do-or-die’ for Wesley, who came into the game in second place on the APS ladder against overwhelming favourites Haileybury, who were undefeated all season and had beaten our boys in their previous encounter.

The match was hotly contested, with the lead changing multiple times throughout the game. Wesley was down by 10 points late in the second quarter – the biggest margin of the match – but fought back to trail by just 4 points at half-time and were just 1 point behind going into the last term.

It was shot for shot in the last quarter, with both teams making some incredible baskets, including numerous three pointers! Wesley was ably led by our top scorers for the match, Quentin Marchiori (17 points) Tiernan Stynes (14 points) and Koby van Lieshout (11 points).  With just one minute to go, the scores were level.  But Wesley held their nerve, with Marchiori sinking a free-throw with just 3 seconds left on the clock to upset the favourites by 3 points.

‘What I admire most about my teammates is their relentless spirit,’ said Noah. ‘No matter what challenges we faced, they never backed down. After the match, I told the team how proud I was of all of them and thanked them for their hard work. I emphasised that our victory wasn't just about skill or talent, but about the heart and character we showed on the court. There were so many moments in the final where winning seemed to be slipping out of reach. Basketball isn’t about what has happened, it’s about what happens next and no matter the score, we trusted in each other and never backed down, fighting until the end.’

Former Olympian and current Head Coach of the Wesley Basketball program, Natalie Porter (OW1998) said, ‘It was a courageous effort by our boys. They dug deep in the last minutes of the game and stayed united until the end to get the win. Their performance, effort and team-spirit were nothing short of outstanding!’

Coach Peter Godfrey, in just his second season with Wesley basketball, said ‘It was a privilege to coach this team. I’ve been speaking a lot over the last few weeks about buy-in and believing in themselves as individual players and a team. Belief is huge going into a game like that, both in the preparation phase and during the game as you ride the bumps.  True to the ROAR values, we knew we had to seize the opportunity and dare to succeed. We did our homework on their key players and system of play and worked on our game plan in the training sessions leading up to the finals. The players executed the plan brilliantly on the day and I’m so happy for them. It's an achievement that will stay with them for a very long time.'

There was a touching moment after the game when the boy’s face-timed former coach Darryl McDonald (aka D-Mack), who took up a role as Assistant Coach at the Brisbane Bullets in the NBL earlier this year.

‘To Natalie, Peter, Julian, D-Mack and the entire Wesley Sports team, I'd like to express my deepest gratitude,’ said Noah.  ‘Being Captain of the Firsts team is a tremendous honour and your unwavering support, guidance and belief in our team has been instrumental in our journey.’

‘I often think that if I can just translate a fraction of what my teammates are giving, then I’ll be able to accomplish anything on that court. We motivate each other by celebrating each other’s successes, learning from our failures, and always pushing one another to be the best we can be. You have not only helped us grow as athletes, but as individuals. I would not have wanted to go on this journey with anyone else!’ he said.

Congratulations must also go to our girls’ team who finished third overall in the AGSV/APS Girls Firsts Basketball competition, overcoming Haileybury in the final match of the season to win 55-42.  Well done to Ivanhoe Grammar who took out the premiership following an undefeated season, with Caulfield Grammar finishing in second place.

#Go Lions!

2023 Wesley Boys Firsts Basketball Premiership Team

Noah La Combre (Captain)

Luke Atacador

Lukas Constantinou

Jones Gorton

Thomas King

Quentin Marchiori

Lucas Nores

Luke Rochow

Cole Stanley

Martin Steen

Tiernan Stynes

Koby van Lieshout

Natalie Porter (OW1998) – Head of Basketball

Peter Godfrey - Head Coach

Julian Cimiotti (OW2018) – Assistant Coach

2023 Wesley Girls Firsts Basketball Team

Eva Baird

Alaska Emney

Milla Emney

Olivia Gaff

Adrienne Ho

Chloe Kaskani

Indianna Lecordier

Daisy Nousis

Marli Ryan

Amelie Spurritt

Ella Sutherland

Evie Sutherland

Michelle Gubbels -  Head Coach

Christine Nancarrow - Assistant Coach