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Double gold dominance for Australia at FIBA Oceania U17 Championships
Dominance from both the Crocs and Sapphires has resulted in FIBA Oceania U17 double gold for Australia.
The men and women breezed past their competition, with the only real test coming against New Zealand in both gold medal games.
The story of the tournament for the under 17 Australian men was truly in the statistics.
Through their five games they averaged 142.6 points, 27 steals, and a winning margin of 104.2 points per game (Team Statistics).
They held their opposition to single digit scoring in 11 of their 20 quarters played, while managing to score above 30 points in 14 of them. That is more than just outstanding, it was simply pure dominance.
The coaching staff was able to spread the minutes, with no player averaging less than 16 minutes per game.
As was expected, the Crocs faced New Zealand in the gold medal game. They managed to win every quarter in what was a convincing 93-55 win (Box Score). Samson Froling was rightfully awarded MVP for the final, recording a big double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Froling was also named in the all-star five for the tournament, along with teammates Sean MacDonald, and Kody Stattmann who were also brilliant throughout the event (Player Statistics).
After the gold medal game, Stattmann discussed his team's success, "Overall, I think we did really good. Coach told us to go out and play aggressive, and I think we did that throughout the tournament.
"Feels great. All the boys put in hard work and we didn't get much training before we came, but overall it's a great feeling," he said.
Just like the Crocs, the Sapphires dominated throughout the tournament and were arguably even more impressive.
They averaged 135 points, 25.6 steals, and a winning margin of 112 points per game (Team Statistics).
Their defense was incredible, keeping their opposition to three points or less in 11 out of 20 quarters. When they played the Marshall Islands, they held them to just three points for the entire game such was the gap in quality between the sides. No doubt coach Tracy York would have been disappointed that they let Tamara Andrike get loose for those three points! If you want to look at one of the most lop-sided box scores you'll ever see, click here.
In the gold medal game, New Zealand proved to be no pushover, making Australia work for their win. The Kiwis in fact led by a point at quarter time, no doubt sending a scare through the Australian camp. However, the Sapphires managed to gain control of the game over the next three periods and run away 81-60 winners (Box Score).
Shyla Heal was named MVP of the trans-Tasman clash for her 13 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. She was also named in the all-star five for the tournament along with fellow countrywomen Miela Goodchild and Isabelle Bourne who were outstanding all week (Player Statistics).
The next step for the both sides is the FIBA U18 Asia Championships next year. After the gold medal game, Bourne spoke about what her side was expecting in 2018.
"We're really excited to be going to the Asia Championships, but we still gotta work hard. We just need to prepare for the harder physicality and I think we'll be alright," she said.