The Bulleen Boomers and Eltham Wildcats, who represent the Asia Pacific, have progressed to the Jr. NBA World Championship’s semi-finals.
The action so far
On Day 1, the Wildcats and Boomers were undefeated in their respective categories. The Eltham Wildcats won 80–43 over India, with 15 points from Anton Stratov and 13 points, 9 rebounds from Kristian Ferronato. The Bulleen Boomers strung together a couple of convincing wins with a 57 – 11 victory over India, followed by a 58 -16 win over South America.
Day 2 saw a tougher fight for both teams. The Bulleen Boomers suffered a one-point loss to Europe. Tess Heal led all scorers with 15 points, and Ella McIntyre finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds. The Eltham Wildcats recorded a win over South America, and then also fell to Europe in their last pool game. Brad Moorey had 22 points, 10 rebounds against South America, while Kristian Ferronatto recorded 7 points, 7 rebounds against Europe.
Early Saturday morning saw the boys from the Eltham Wildcats square up against Mexico, who had lost three consecutive games of pool play earlier. The boys came away with a dominant 60-point victory, 77-17.
The Bulleen Boomers also made a strong push, as they faced off against the team representing Africa and the Middle East. Eight combined three-pointers from Tess Heal –niece of Australian basketball legend Shane Heal– and Amisyn Leigh secured the Boomers’ victory with a 65-24 score.
(Replays are available at the end of this article.)
What lies ahead
Canada will be the opponent for both the Eltham Wildcats and Bulleen Boomers in the upcoming semis. The Canadian girls are undefeated in the tournament so far, and the boys from Canada have lost only one to date.
“Canada are four and zero, still undefeated, so we’ll go in as the underdogs but I’m quietly confident we can be very competitive and get the right result for us,” head coach of the Bulleen Boomers and Asia Pacific girls team, Travis Heal shared.
Eltham Wildcats head coach, Craig Stratford was also asked about their upcoming game against Canada.
“They’ve got some really good athletes so it’s really just a great challenge for the boys, the kind of team you want to play if you come over.”
The Asia Pacific Girls will be the first to face Canada in the Jr. NBA World Championships – this game tips off at 12:00am AEST on Sunday, 12th August.
The boys take on Canada at 1:15am AEST on Sunday morning.
The winner of the International bracket semi-finals will advance to the International championship, where the boys could face the winner of Europe vs Africa and the Middle East. The girls could be facing the winner of Europe and China. The winner of the International Championship will play the winner of the US championship in the World Championship game.
Both games will be available to watch on the Jr. NBA Facebook Page (@jrnba) and will also be available on NBA League Pass through NBA TV International.