HERVEY Bay entered the Basketball Queensland Under-16 Boys State Championships as an unknown quantity with little history in the competition.
The undermanned Hurricanes left the Gold Coast event with a 4-4 record and even more confidence of a bright future.
Hervey Bay Basketball Association's U16s had only eight players for the five-day, Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre event, though Hurricanes officials said they played well beyond their years against teams with a full squad.
"Other clubs had a full complement of kids so we had to manage the boys to make sure they didn't get injured,” assistant coach Simon Elliott said.
"A few of the clubs have been at it for years. I think (for Hervey Bay) it's been about 10 or so years.”
The Hurricanes won two of their five pool matches, and endured a one-point loss in their opening match against Ipswich Energy 2.
A win and loss in two playoff games on Friday and Saturday set up a battle for eleventh against a bigger, more physical, Gold Coast Tide on Sunday.
Coach Trevor Sauvageot described the team's performance, in which Judah Radic top-scored with 23 points, Ben Elliott scored 12 points and Isaac Donnell finished with 10 points, as arguably the best since the team was selected in September last year.
"They exceeded expectations big time,” Sauvageot said.
"We had the Central Districts Competition so we had our selections back in September. They've trained two or three times a week and all through Christmas and New Year's, so a lot of effort went into it.
"We only had eight players through a few different factors but they performed really well.”
Sauvageot said the 65-59 win against the Tide was perfect for the players' confidence, given they earned their finishing position rather than being handed the spot.
"I think that makes it mean a lot more to the boys,” he said.
The players will enjoy a few weeks away from official competition before Hervey Bay Basketball Association returns in February.
HBBA's sign-on day will be held at Hervey Bay PCYC on Sunday, February 4, from 9am to noon, while representative trials for the U12s and U14s will be held in early February.
More details will be made available closer to the date. Like "Hervey Bay Basketball Association” on Facebook for more information.