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Grand final win is extra special

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Tornadoes Black stalwarts Ebony Bilcich and Kelly Bastow warmly embrace with teammate Zaya Black, who was crowned grand final MVP.
Camera IconTornadoes Black stalwarts Ebony Bilcich and Kelly Bastow warmly embrace with teammate Zaya Black, who was crowned grand final MVP. Credit: Justin Fris

Tornadoes Black women’s coach Julieann Bissaker has been involved in her fair share of victories in basketball, but Friday night’s A Grade grand final win over the Dunsborough Oilers was extra special.

“It is a good family atmosphere,” she said.

“With not only the girls but also their parents. It is more than just winning as a team, but winning as both friends and family.

“That is really special.”

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Post-match, seasoned campaigners Kelly Bastow and Ebony Bilcich warmly embraced with teammate Zaya Black, who hit a game-high 29 points in her MVP performance.

Bissaker agreed this moment typified what the team had been working towards all season.

“It is a great spirit (they have),” she said. “Which contributes to our team being selfless. The girls make the right decisions for the team.

“They are there for the team and not for themselves.

“Sometimes you do not have that go-to player which can step up, but it is really hard to beat a team of girls who want to put things out there for their teammates.”

It was a year of rebuilding for Black, who were without Cian Parsons, Kristy Larsen and Jasmine Barrett — all of whom played critical roles during the 2018-19 premiership year. But Bissaker believes this situation had its advantages.

“I have been with these girls for a long time now, especially the juniors — Zaya Black, Javene Fitch and Harmony Jennings,” she said.

“So it is great to have been able to see them come through from juniors to seniors, performing and getting a grand final win as leading players.

“Last year, Javene and Zaya were still part of the group, but we had Cian, Kristy and Jaz. We lost all of them, so Javene and Zaya had to step up, while Sari Wootton came in and was new to the group.”

BBA award winners

Men: Mark Worthington (grand final MVP), Brody England (Dave Waldock Memorial Medal - A Grade MVP), Jason Smith (A Grade MVP runner-up), Alistair Ishigami-Sims (rising star), Jason Smith (leading scorer – 270 points); All-Stars: Brody England, Jason Smith, Paddy Phillips, Mitch Keller, Braden Wilson and Jeremy Paull. Women: Zaya Black (grand final MVP), Dana East (Dave Waldock Memorial Medal – A Grade MVP), Ebony Bilcich (A Grade MVP runner-up), Abbey Hall (rising star), Dana East (leading scorer, 304 points), Cassandra Ward (referee of the season); All-Stars: Dana East, Ebony Bilcich, Catherine Waycott, Zaya Black and Adele East.

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