Basketball history in the Ranges

Macedon Ranges point guard Billy Feben drives to the ring. (Melissa Ryan)

By Oliver Lees

History was made at the weekend when Macedon Ranges and Kyneton squared off for the first time in the Country Basketball League north-west competition.

After an extensive campaign to build a second CBL team in the shire, the Macedon Ranges Rockies were born, and this weekend played a double-header to open their campaign.

After going down 80-60 to last year’s grand finalists Maryborough on Saturday, the Rockies redeemed themselves with a comprehensive 112-45 victory over the Tigers the next day.

In front of a packed crowd at Woodend Buffalo Sports Stadium, the Rockies found their rhythm early and maintained a dominant position.

Rockies coach and lifelong Macedon Ranges basketball figure Michael Ryan said he was pleased to get the win on what was a special day for the region.

“It was such a significant win, tremendous to be able to do that in front of a decent sized crowd, with both sides of the stadium and benches completely full bringing a really good atmosphere,” he said.

“I actually grew up in Woodend and was first introduced to basketball through the MRBA [Macedon Ranges Basketball Association], when we used to play at Tony Clarke Stadium in 1990.

“I’m born and bred, so it meant a lot to me. I was really grateful for the opportunity to coach the team.”

Ryan said he was pleased with the team’s overall performance and teamwork given it was just their second match as a unit.

“We’ve got a really solid core, a lot of mature heads and leaders, and that started to show through,” he said.

“I liked our defence and the pace we played at, you can probably say it was that defence that led to those [scoring] opportunities.”

Billy Feben was the standout for the Rockies on the offensive end. The point guard notched 40 points, combining his strong inside and outside game to make six three pointers and eight field goals from the floor.

The Rockies had five players score in double-digits and played a total of 12 players.

Captain Tom Scott, who was central to forming the committee that led to the club’s introduction to the CBL, chipped in with a handy 15 points.

For the Tigers, Jared Thompson led the way with 19 points.

The match also provided the opportunity for the community to celebrate the service of Macedon Ranges basketball legend, Michael Grantham.

Grantham was finally presented with his Silver Service Award which he received from Basketball Victoria earlier this year.

Across 25 years, Grantham was involved in laying the foundation for a number of the MRBA’s programs and did his bit as a player, coach and president of the association.

Ryan said it was a just reward on a special occasion.

“It was brilliant, he’s been really, really great for the club,” he said.

“For him to see something that he envisioned 20 odd years ago is really special.”

The Rockies will continue the CBL season with another double-header on Saturday and Sunday next week.