Australia's rising stars have progressed to the semifinals of the prestigious 2018 Albert Schweitzer Tournament being held in Mannheim, Germany.
In what has traditionally been a super-competitive event with Europe's junior sides participating, Australia made it through to the semi's after finishing second in their group behind hosts Germany--the only team to beat the juniors from down under in the tournament to date.
Australia’s roster is loaded, with a host of players who have starred for their state and their country at junior level already, with the side now within reach of potentially winning their country's first Albert Schweitzer Tournament since 2010 after finishing 7th when it was last held in 2016.
The side coached by Michael has impressed, registering impressive wins against Argentina (67-92), Israel (89-66) and Japan (56-85) before hitting a road block in Germany where they fell short 65-56. Against the Germans, Australia failed to top 80 points for the first time in the tournament, with both sides battling it out in a dour defensive struggle.
Needing to win their final group game against Turkey to qualify for the semifinals, things started off slowly for the Aussies as their European counterparts opened up an early 5 point first quarter lead. Yet they would fight back and lift their defensive intensity in the second term. Their efforts were duly rewarded, as they took the lead heading into half time. From that point on, they took control and unleashed a 28-13 third period that set up the a 72-53 win.
Sam Froling was dominant, compiling a 23 point and 10 rebound double-double. Aiden Krause continued his great tournament by providing 11 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
Froling and Krause have been the scoring leaders for the Australian's throughout and two of the team's most efficient and effective players. Krause is averaging 14 points per game, while Froling is adding 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, both inside the top 15 players in the tournament for player efficiency.
Australia next faces the unbeaten Italians in their semifinal for the right to play off for the title, with the game which will be live streamed tipping off at 1:45am AEST on Saturday, 7 April 2018. In the other semifinal, Germany faces Russia, with the final set to be played at 12:15am AEST on Sunday, 8 April 2018.