Four of the North's best young basketballers are back home following Tasmania's giant-toppling campaign at the under-20 men's national championships.
Mark Radford's side ended the state's run of narrow medal misses at nationals by knocking off New South Wales in the bronze medal match following a quarter-final win and semi-final loss to each of Victoria's two teams.
Speaking from Elphin Sports Centre, Launceston Lightning bottom-ager Angus Kitson described the feeling of his side's breakthrough.
"It felt really good considering the history," the 17-year-old said.
"Three teams in the last 16-18 months have come in fourth place and everyone on the team had been a part of one of those fourth-placed teams, so actually getting over the hump and winning a medal felt kind of surreal."
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Tasmania had star performers in North-West duo Taran Armstrong and Reyne Smith, who led the tournament for points per game.
Former under-18 captain Hayden Zasadny - who shared his 19th birthday with fellow Northern teammate Jackson Lowe (18) on Thursday - said the team had meshed in perfectly around its two superstars.
"This year I feel like we were the most connected we've been," the former St Patrick's College student said.
"It was our best year that we've been together and it was our best chance - even though we were playing against tougher opposition because the metro and country teams combined.
"Taran Armstrong was really good for us, he's at the AIS at the moment and he was our leader on the floor and also Reyne Smith was very good.
"He's the best shooter in the country from my perspective, he just played his role and Jake Richards was really good."
The tournament began in challenging fashion for Radford's side, with victory over ACT in their Pool A opener followed by three straight losses.
A two-point thriller saw Tasmania through to the semis before an even closer bronze medal match - 83-82 - completed a dream tournament.
"We had a moment with everyone that came along like family and that and we had a chat about it," Zasadny said of the team's celebrations.
'That night we just spent the night in each other's company and just went over the last six years and how it's been - where we've come from and where we are now.
"It was a relief in a way that we'd finally done it - we were just waiting to get that feeling and we finally got there, it was unreal."
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