THE new-look Maccabi Warriors have taken their first step towards an exciting year ahead, finishing runners-up in the Seaside Basketball Carnival in Warrnambool recently.
The Warriors dropped only one game in the preliminary matches, and made their way through the play-off to reach the final, in which they went down by only 11 points.
“Yeah, it was good fun playing down there,” captain Jeremy Dukes told The AJN.
“As great as the basketball side of it was, it was more about bonding with each other, but it was fun to shoot some hoops again.”
Dukes and last year’s most valuable player, Benji Tamir, starred in the round-robin phase, and there were promising signs for recruit Jeff Devers and returning star Dean Rzechta.
Rookies Ben and Jon Polonsky also showed returning coach Andrew Solewicz that they deserve regular court time this season, while athletic duo Jason Conway and Adam Klas were also in solid pre-season form.
“There is still a lot of work to do before the season starts in March, and we’ve got a few games scheduled with teams from higher leagues, so it will be a good challenge,” Dukes said.
“It definitely takes time to get back into form, but playing matches is where a lot of that comes from.”
The tournament is the perfect preparation before the start of the Big V competition, allowing players to find form in real match play, as well as players and coaches bonding on and off the court.
“There are a lot of new players, and a new coach as well, so there’s a new system involved this year,” Dukes said.
“We’ve got a good blend of youth and experience, and with different backgrounds from previous sports, but it’s all very exciting.”
The team’s next pre-season match will be against Big V division one team Camberwell Dragons on Thursday (today) at Bialik College. Considering the Warriors will play in division two this year, it will be a very challenging game, and if they win, would give them great confidence leading up to the start of the season.