Storm arrive with a thunderclap

The Blacktown Storm Youth League men's team has completed a fairy-tale run in the Waratah Youth League basketball competition, firstly rising from the Division One cellar in 2010 to reach the grand final in 2011, then taking the next step this season by capturing the premiership title.

The journey began for the Storm when they finished runners-up in Second Division in 2009 and subsequently won promotion to the Division One competition.

A nervous first year almost resulted in the Storm finish near the bottom of the competition ladder, almost being relegated back to second division.

The following year (2010) was a revelation, with the Storm surprising all but their most ardent fans to reach the Division One grand final, only to fall to the powerful Central Coast Crusaders.

The Storm scraped into this year's playoffs but easily disposed of the Bankstown Bruins in the elimination quarter final, then took the initiative against the Crusaders in the semi-final, grabbing a superb 75-61 win over the competition's hot favourites.

That win set up another clash with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, who the Storm had defeated in 2011 to reach the grand final.

Manly's strong line-up of State and Australian players was expected to brush aside the upstart Storm but the Blacktown team showed their earlier playoff form had not been a flash in the pan, handling Manly's best efforts with aplomb and charging away to a 71-59 win to capture this year's title - the first senior title ever for the fledgling Blacktown Basketball Association.

Head coach Greg Radford said "The key to our wins have been our defensive intensity and our rebounding".

"I thought we set the benchmark with our game against the Bruins and we have carried that form through the next two games".

"Our composure has improved this year and whereas we started our journey three years ago as 'streetballers', we are now playing top quality basketball and competing with the best players in the country" said a delighted Radford.

Radford also took pride in the performance of point guard Krenz Carlos over the weekend's two games, stating "I took Krenz aside earlier in the season and told him we needed someone stable at the point".

"We had a lot of strength up-front but we needed a dominant guard and Krenz took up that challenge and has been tremendous for us".

Semi-Final: Blacktown Storm 75 (Krenz Carlos 27 points, 7 boards, 3 assists; Petar Kuzmanovic 12 points, 13 boards; Sam Brock 12 points, Kharl Carlos 9 points) def Central Coast Crusaders 61 (Callum Jenkins 18 points, 10 boards; Steve MacKay 14 points, 8 assists)

Grand Final: Blacktown Storm 71 (Krenz Carlos 22 points, 5 boards, 6 assists; Petar Kuzmanovic 17 points, 6 boards; Mark De Riviere 14 points, 8 boards; Sam Brock 7 points, 11 boards, 3 blocked shots) def Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 59 (David Hazzard 10 points, 9 boards; Mitchell Cullen 9 points; Cale Bulgin 9, Gerard Martin 9)

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