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What a year of success domestically and state-wide for Cougars

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Whether it was winning a first ever NBL1 West Women’s championship, winning five WABL State championship titles or having the most WABL players in history and 336 teams on top of 87 referees, it was a year of success in 2023 unlike any other for the Cockburn Basketball Association.

The Cockburn Basketball Association soared to new heights on a number of fronts throughout 2023 including setting new records for the numbers of teams in the Domestic Community.

There were 336 teams in total who took part in domestic competitions within the Cockburn Basketball Association and they would play a total of 3338 games with 3032 participants and 87 referees on board to take part as well.

The number of participants is the first time in Cockburn Basketball Association history that the number has exceeded 3000.

There were 30 teams who played WABL from the Cockburn Basketball Association in 2023 making it the most in WABL history while the 359 players who took part was also the most on record.

Success followed them throughout the WABL competitions as well with 66 per cent of those WABL teams making finals in their divisions.

Five of those WABL teams made grand finals while winning three championships but on top of that, 27 Cockburn WABL players represented Western Australia in 2023, and seven Cougars referees officiated in grand final games.

On top of that at the State Championships, the Cougars had 40 teams represented and 21 of those reached semi finals, eight of them got to grand finals, and five of them were able to celebrate winning championships and bringing a banner back to Wally Hagan Stadium.

The success flowed into the Cockburn Cougars at NBL1 level as well with the women’s team making history by claiming a regular season championship for the first time, recording their best ever SBL/NBL1 record and then going on to not only play in their first ever grand final, but win the championship.

The Cougars women then represented the club at the NBL1 National Finals on top of that in what was a history-making year and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

The Cougars women sold out their finals matches played at Wally Hagan Stadium with the Cougar Family right behind the team, but as well the Grand Final for the women at Bendat Basketball Centre sold out for the first ever time.

There were outstanding individual performances along the way with Steph Gorman named both Best Defensive Player and Grand Final MVP on top of earning a WNBL contract at the Perth Lynx.

Sarah Mortensen was both the league’s leading scorer and named to the All-First Team while Tyrone Thwaites was named Coach of the Year.

The team was supported brilliantly too with an average home attendance of 497 throughout the NBL1 season for both the women’s and men’s teams which is a 22 per cent increase on 2022.

All in all, over 1.5 million minutes were watched of Cougars teams playing in the NBL1 West competition in 2023 and of the program, 76 per cent of it was funded through corporate partnerships and door sales, which is more than double 2021.

All in all, it was a year to savour for the Cockburn Basketball Association on all fronts and while Competition and Programs Manager Melanie Rainey is rightfully proud, it’s all about continuing to build and grow at the same time.

“Setting new domestic records, thank you to our Domestic Community as we hit a new milestone for 2023,” Rainey said.

“A year filled with many highlights across our broader club, we are pleased to announce we have a new record for our total number of domestic teams …335.

“This is another indication of the collective contribution of all our volunteers and dedicated staff across our many basketball programs, coupled with the desire of all our Cougar Family to continue to work in the same direction, will ensure that we continue to succeed in basketball as individuals, teams and as community.”

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