Geraldton basketballers fell agonisingly short of a country week title as the junior part of the competition came to a close over the weekend. Geraldton boys under-16s and under-18s were both in action in the junior competition’s final rounds to try claim Geraldton’s first title of the tournament. The under-16s split their group stage results at 2-2, starting with an opening win against Australind thanks to 25 points from Sheldon Nellly (13) and Levi Owen (12). They followed up that up with a win over Busselton, with Nelly leading the way once again with 21 points and Josh Papertalk in support with 16. However, they were beaten 32-17 by Bunbury on day two on Sunday after being blown away in the second half despite trailing by just three at the main break. Another loss to Albany followed, 33-27, but they managed to finish in second place thanks to percentage and made it through to a semifinal against Australind. They won comfortably thanks to 15 points from Nelly and lined up against the undefeated Albany in the grand final. The teams were level pegging at halftime at 26-all but they would fall three points short of the title, with two threes from Albany’s Billy McRae sinking their chances. Nelly finished with the most points from the competition with 83 at an average of 13.8, including 17 in the final. The under-18 squad had a challenging start to their tournament, losing their opening game to Busselton by two points despite 21 points from Hawks star Robert Greichen. They trailed by seven in their next game against Australind at halftime but a second-half fightback fell just short as they fell to a tough one-point loss. With only the top two going through to a grand final, the Buccs had to get wins on the board and despite 30 points from Bunbury’s Wil Johns, they got their first win 58-40 with 28 to Greichen and 11 for Denbi Horstman. They made it two in a row with a 16-point trouncing of Kalgoorlie and then made it three wins on the bounce after easing home against Pinjarra. Their 3-2 record was enough to finish second ahead of Kalgoorlie on percentage and take on the undefeated Australind in the final. However, they couldn’t break Australind’s run as they finished off a perfect tournament with a 44-37 win as Geraldton took runner-up. Greichen finished well ahead in the points scoring charts with 125 from six games, almost more than double Johns who was next best with 69 points and was unsurprisingly named an all star. Attention now turns to seniors’ weekend, with Geraldton sending men’s teams in divisions four and five. Games start Saturday morning.