Australian U17 Men fall to New Zealand | FIBA Oceania U16 Championships
The Australian U17 Men's squad has suffered a tough loss to New Zealand in their second pool game of the FIBA Oceania U16 Championships, a loss that may trigger a changing of the guard in junior basketball in the Oceania region.
Patrick Bines had 12 points and 6 rebounds for Australia, but it wasn't enough, as a big fourth quarter run from New Zealand saw the Kiwis come away with the 81-62 victory.
Photo credit: Basketball NZ
Rebounding was the key issue for Australia, struggling on the glass as New Zealand's Daniel Fotu (brother of Tall Black, Isaac Fotu) and Taane Samuel imposed themselves in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The game remained close throughout, a game of runs saw neither team able to run away with it.
The first quarter saw Australia get into foul trouble early, with the Kiwis converting from the free-throw line. The introduction of Sam Froling late in the quarter saw Australia keep the game from getting out of hand.
New Zealand opened the second period with a 9-0 run, extending their lead to 28-13, but the Australians responded with a run of their own, led by an impressive two-way effort from Patrick Bines.
The Kiwis lost their rhythm just as Australia found theirs, but New Zealand still held a narrow 37-35 lead heading into the main break.
A back-and-forth third quarter led on-lookers to believe that the game would go down to the wire, with the Kiwis holding on to their narrow lead - holding a 51-50 advantage over the Australian heading into the final period.
The Australians, however, came into the fourth quarter with a lack of energy, allowing New Zealand to go on a 17-6 run, led by the aggressiveness of Kiwi guard Quinn Clinton, as well as the energy from, forcing a timeout from Australia head coach Mark Watkins.
New Zealand would extend their lead to walk away with the 81-62 lead, propelling them as the favourites to qualify for the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.
For Australia, Patrick Bines had a game-high 12 points, to go with 6 rebounds, while Sam Froling posted 6 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
New Zealand out-rebounded Australia 52-32 and had a 48-26 advantage in points in the paint, an aspect of the game that Australia will need to focus on in the likely rematch against this New Zealand squad in the championship game.
The Australian U17 Men’s squad will face New Caledonia during Monday's action, tipping off at 3pm (AEST).
For more information on the roster, schedule, live stats and recaps, visit our Australian U17 Men’s central page.