CLOSE: Glastone's Ray Cooper, Mitch Knight, Botond Hajos and Jace Arnold were part of the Queensland North side that were second at the national titles.
CLOSE: Glastone's Ray Cooper, Mitch Knight, Botond Hajos and Jace Arnold were part of the Queensland North side that were second at the national titles. Contributed

Silver still a success for basketball trio

BASKETBALL: It was a case of so close yet so far for the under-18 Queensland North basketball side at the National Junior Championships in Townsville.

After going through the tournament undefeated, the Queensland North boys fell at the final hurdle with a 79-77 loss to Victoria Metro in the grand final at the weekend.

The side had won eight-straight games prior to the decider, but couldn't secure victory in the gold medal match on Saturday.

The Queensland North side had a large Gladstone contingent with Port City Power Women's head coach Ray Cooper taking on an assistant role with the maroons, however the accolades must fall to playing trio Mitchell Knight, Jace Arnold and Botond Hojas.

The north Queenslanders swept aside the competition on route to the decider, claiming some decisive victories along the way, but were dealt an injury blow in the final.

One of the team's main players, Aiden Krause, suffered a back injury prior to the final which caused him to leave the court early in the gold medal match.

Assistant coach Cooper said Krause's injury was a huge loss for the side.

"The boys felt his loss of energy and it created more work for other players,” Cooper said.

As for the final, Cooper said the match could have gone either way.

"The lead changed about five or six times the whole game,” he said.

"Victoria hit some big threes and we had some good looks ourselves but couldn't come up with the goods.

"Overall it was a very successful group and we did the best out of all the Queensland teams in both boys and girls.”

Cooper said the boys would not only take home a silver medal from the championships, but also friendships that could last forever.

"The three boys were fantastic the whole week and were very professional off the court,” he said.

"It was a credit to them how they handle things. They did a great job and can be very happy with their efforts.”

Cooper said a silver medal was still considered a success.

The trio are part of Port City Power's 19-man squad for the upcoming QBL season.