The All-Australian NBL Team wasn’t the only squad to find success in China, as the Australian U17 Men’s team wrapped up a rigorous fortnight with a 76-64 victory over the host nation on Friday.
The U17 team traveled to China as preparation before the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championships which begins on 22 June. The team didn’t have any chance to do any sightseeing however, as a non-stop playing schedule ensured the Aussies got into ideal shape before the tournament.
“Playing nine international games in 10 days has provided positive preparations in the lead up to the World Championships,” team manager Jason Membrey said via a media release.
“The team is looking forward to returning home to focus on our World Champs campaign. The tour has been a tremendous learning experience.”
Australia had to fight to win their final game as a slow start resulted in a 21-7 deficit at the end of the first quarter. The Aussies failed to get into any kind of offensive rhythm, while allowing China to score at ease on the other end.
The second quarter was a different story. A rejuvenated offensive attack saw Australia put up 26 points in the second period, pulling the deficit back to 36-33 at the long break.
From that point on, the Aussies were able to ride the wave of momentum they created in the second quarter, taking a 54-48 lead at the final break. Australia didn’t allow China to get back in the game in the fourth quarter, using a balanced attack to account for the final 12-point margin.
Final game stats and box scores were not available for the China game.
[To watch a replay of the Australia v China clash click here]
Prior to the final against China, the Aussies were able to knock off Croatia, but also suffer a tough defeat at the hands of Lithuania, one of the projected powerhouses at next month’s World Championships. Additionally, the Chinese also got the better of the Aussies during the week.
In the opening game of the pre-season tour, the trio of Kody Stattman, Callum Dalton and Mate Colina led the Aussies.
Stattman, a Queensland native, finished with 12 points on a highly efficient 80 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, the big men down low did a solid job, as Dalton had 10 points and four rebounds while Colina added 11 points of his own.
Australia survived with an 84-72 win, after leading by 21-points at the conclusion of the third quarter.
The Aussies couldn’t comeback from another slow start against China, falling behind 12-0 to start the game, on their way to a 69-54 defeat.
Centre of Excellence product Samson Froling impressed with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks; a representation of his all-around game despite it still being a little raw. Kyle Bowden, who top scored at the Australian Junior U18 Championships earlier in the year, had 8 points on 66 percent shooting, while Kyle Zunic finished with seven points and three steals.
Despite a tough 84-61 loss to Lithuania, Australia can fall back on four strong individual performances.
Dalton and Froling both scored in double figures, with 14 and 11 points respectively. Moreover, Tom Fullarton and Patrick Bines both narrowly missed double-doubles. Fullarton scored nine points to compliment nine rebounds, while Bines had seven points and eight rebounds.
The U17 Men’s team will now travel to Spain, for another week long pre-season tour before the tournament.