A magical run has seen one Highlands basketball squad make the final of the John Martin NSW Country Tournament.
The Moss Vale Magic division two, under 18 boys team ran the gauntlet over three days and faced off with with the Gosford City Rebels in the final at Illawarra Sports Stadium on June 10.
Moss Vale Magic under 18 assistant coach Mark Glenn said the team performed well throughout the competition.
"The team had only played in the Southern Junior League and there's only four teams in that," Glenn said.
"The variety of different play in the competition was something the team had to get used to. They really pulled it together."
Getting to the final was no easy feat for the Magic. Moss Vale faced a number of rounds and teams to make it to the big dance.
"The team played four round games, then a quarter final, semi final and the final," Glenn said.
"The under 18s have just been invited to the Country Championship League (CCL) which is like the Premier League in NSW. It has the top eight teams in Country NSW, which is a pretty big deal for the team.
"Some of those teams were in the division above and they were winning their games. It was a tough little tournament.
"We played Gosford in the finals, but also faced them in a round game and beat them. But in the final Gosford shot really well. We just couldn't pull it together in the final.
"To get second place in division two in Country is pretty good."
The Magic went down to the Gosford City Rebels 52-43 in the final, it was an agonising defeat but an excellent result and learning experience.
"The Rebels only just jumped out to the final lead in the last minute or so," Glenn said.
"Defensively we could have improved and made the most of our opportunities. We had some good shots but they just didn't fall for us.
"What we did really well was we didn't give up on our shots not falling and some individual defensive efforts were really good.
"The players were a little disappointed after the game, knowing we had beat them before but as they realised their season wasn't over and have the CCL to go with, they were encouraged knowing we still had more basketball to play."