Day 1 Recap | 2014 U16 Australian Junior Championships
The U16's Australian Junior Championships are underway in Geelong and we've already had an action packed day of basketball. There seems to be an even spread amongst the field, with no clear favourite in either men's or women's divison. Here's a recap of Day 1's action.
Credit: Basketball Australia/Kangaroo Photo's
SA Metro's depth will be key moving forward
SA Metro began the tournament with a bang, defeating Northern Territory 102-68, but what was more impressive was the way that they did it. They moved the ball extremely well, en route to a 49% shooting effort from the field. Although they dropped the 2nd game of their Day 1 doubleheader, an 80-95 loss to New Zealand, the talent on their squad is undeniable. They have a lot of weapons on the offensive end, whether it be sharpshooter Koen Sapwell, crafty point guard Oscar Bloomfield, or a crazy athlete in Biar Garang, this SA Metro squad can score from a number of spots on the floor. They're one of the teams to keep an eye on throughout this tournament.
VIC Metro open the tournament strong
With Victoria taking out every Junior Championship to date this year, it's only fitting that VIC Metro continue their winning ways. Aidan O'Carroll was a key member of last year's U16 VIC Metro squad and opened this tournament with a very impressive outing, 20 (8-11 FG) points in just 16 minutes in their 93-60 victory over ACT. The standard of Victorian basketball is once again at a high and this VIC Metro squad is showing nothing to the contrary, yet another well-refined Victorian side - they'll face Queensland North on Day 2.
New Zealand shows they can contend
Historically New Zealand usually sits amongst the middle of the pack at Australian Junior Championship events, but the last couple of years have shown a boom in New Zealand talent. The NZ U18 squad was much improved in April earlier this year and now this NZ U16 squad could legitimately contend for a medal. NZ shot a very impressive 55% from the field and seemingly pulled down every rebound en route to their 95-80 victory over a strong SA Metro squad. Thabo Manyere provided a great spark off the bench with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Unique Naboa had 18 points and 5 rebounds for the game. They'll need to cut down their turnovers as they continue through this tournament but they definitely have the look of a team that could potentially go all the way.
Northern Territory (0-1) | 62-108 | SA Metro (1-1)
NSW Country (1-0) | 77-48 | WA Metro (0-1)
ACT (0-1) | 60-93 | VIC Metro (2-0)
NSW Metro (1-0) | 78-56 | QLD North (0-1)
WA Country (0-1) | 59-93 | TAS (1-0)
SA Metro (1-1) | 80-95 | NZ (1-0)
VIC Country (0-1) | 68-99 | QLD South (1-0)
VIC Metro (2-0) | 80-69 | SA Country (0-1)
QLD South are the early favourites
The Queensland South squad opened up their Junior Championship campaign with 2 impressive victories - a 114-44 thrashing of WA Country and a 73-56 win over VIC Country. Jayden Fuiava was key for QLD South in both victories, averaging 18 points and 8.5 rebounds over the 2 games. Their defensive efforts have been particularly impressive, forcing an incredible 56 turnovers in both games combined. They have a lot of depth which will see them go far in this tournament - they face Northern Territory on Day 2.
SA Metro led by Samantha Simon's strong effort
Samantha Simons had an extremely impressive showing in SA Metro's 80-46 win over Tasmania, totalling 24 points and 9 rebounds in just 27 minutes of action. SA Metro bullied Tasmania from a physical standpoint, defensively they managed to hold Tasmania to just 17 first half points. Rebounding was also key, with SA Metro out-rebounding Tasmania 60-32. SA Metro will face WA Country during Day 2's action.
Both NSW squads earn impressive wins
NSW is off to an impressive start in the tournament, going undefeated in both men's and women's action. The victories by the women's NSW squads were particularly impressive. NSW Country defeated WA Metro 81-62, Jasmine Simmons with a brilliant all-round effort - 27 points (10-12 FG), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals with 2 blocks in just 20 minutes of action. NSW Metro got the 87-65 win over the Northern Territory, Jessica Robinson providing important minutes off the bench with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
WA Country (0-1) | 44-114 | QLD South (2-0)
NZ (1-1) | 58-54 | QLD North (0-1)
TAS (0-1) | 46-80 | SA Metro (1-0)
SA Country (0-1) | 56-72 | VIC Metro (1-0)
WA Metro (0-1) | 62-81 | NSW Country (1-0)
Northern Territory (0-1) | 65-87 | NSW Metro (1-0)
QLD South (2-0) | 73-56 | VIC Country (0-1)
ACT (1-0) | 71-65 | NZ (1-1)