Australia’s ‘Crocs’ have advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIBA U16 Asian Championships being held in Foshan, China, and are now just one win away from qualifying for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup.
The top 4 teams from this event will qualify for the World Cup that is set to be held from 30 June to 8 July 2018 in Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina, and the Crocs have stamped their authority on the competition ahead of their must-win quarterfinal against Korea that will tip-off at 3:00pm AEST on Friday, 6 April.
Opening the tournament in ominous style, the Crocs overwhelmed Malaysia 47-110. A whirlwind 37-12 opening period set the tone for the landslide win, with Jay Rantall leading the way with a game-high 21 points. Australia boasted five players to score in double figures, with every player on the roster finding the bottom of the net [full game replay].
Next up the Australian's took on a far better Philippines side who took the contest right up to their more fancied opponents. While the juniors from down under would run out convincing 30 point winners in an 82-52 outcome, it was a far less polished performance and highlighted the need to continue to improve. Rantall again led his country with 15 points, while Kobe Williamson added 14 points and Tamuri Wigness filled up the stats sheet with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 steals [full game replay].
Australia will be expecting to once again rely on the scoring prowess of Rantall against Korea, with the 6'2 guard averaging 18 points per game which currently ranks him fifth in the event. He has impressed in shooting the three-ball, draining 9-15 from beyond the arc at a lofty 60% accuracy. While Rantall has been terrific, so too has 6'6 forward Luke Jackson. Pulling down 10 rebounds per game, he has been a constant inside the paint but also his side's most efficient player.
The Croc's strength is their depth however, and with just one more solid performance--and more importantly--victory, they will book a ticket to the World Cup.
All games are being live streamed by FIBA, with the Australian games simulcast on The Pick and Roll's Facebook page, or via Spalk TV with Australian commentary provided our own Damian Arsenis and/or the voice of Basketball Queensland's QBL, Jon Guarna.
Australian Crocs Schedule (all times AEST)
April 6 Quarterfinal: Australia vs Korea at 3:00pm April 7: Semifinals April 8: Medal Games