The Blacktown West Storm division one youth team are into the Waratah League finals weekend.
The side survived a late scare from Maitland to claim a 98-83 win and keep the Storm’s championship hopes alive in the under-22s division.
Point guard Jaidyn Goodwin, 18, said it was a relief to take the win.
“We split our season series with them [Maitland] one-all with a one-point difference,” he said.
“Coming into the game, we knew it would be a tough game. We knew we needed to play with effort and we were up by 20 at one stage but they brought it back to six points. Hopefully we can move into next weekend with confidence.”
The Storm were dominant throughout the match with star Makuach Maluach scoring 47 points for the match but Maitland stayed in the game.
Maluach’s huge performance was a season-high and the fifth time he has passed 40 points in a match.
He also averages more than 33 points a game.
The performance comes just weeks after he signed a college contract with the University of New Mexico.
Blacktown West will come up against the top ranked Central Coast Crusaders in the semi-final in Maitland next Saturday with the winner playing in the final on Sunday.
Goodwin, who scored 17 points in the quarter-final – second most for the Storm – said the side was confident of a strong showing.
“We haven’t faced them with a full squad yet this whole season and they beat us quite convincingly both times,” he said.
“We think we’re talented enough to beat them if we have our full squad. That’s what’s most exciting about next weekend.”
Despite the side being full of confidence, they will have to do it without seven foot tall centre Deng Acouth, who received his third technical foul of the season and will miss the finals weekend.
In his first season with Blacktown West, Goodwin said it had been an “up and down season”.
“We started at 3-3 but that was us just finding our feet,” he said. “I came in late and we went on a four-game winning streak which helped us to where we are today. We’re definitely looking forward to next weekend and seeing if we can make it all happen.”
The young star originally came from Lithgow and boards at Newington College with Maluach and has hopes of following in his schoolmate’s footsteps to college.
The 2017 Waratah League Finals will be held at the Maitland Federation Centre on August 11-13 with seven divisions to be decided from division two youth to the championship division.