Sapphire gold: How Tom Garlepp led Australia's U16 team to Asia Cup triumph
The former Sydney Kings stalwart led his young charges to a win over Japan
Australia’s dominance in the Under-16s Womens Asia Cup has continued with the team recently winning the gold medal at this year’s event, held in Jordan. The result means they have now qualified for the 2024 FIBA Under-17 Women's Basketball World Cup, to be staged in Mexico. It marks the Sapphires third consecutive tournament win; the team has now won a remarkable 18 straight games at this event.
In the group stage of the competition, only Korea could get close to the Sapphires, with Australia winning that encounter 71-53. They demolished Thailand by 105 points, coasted to a 102-43 win over Syria and defeated Chinese Taipei 103-51. Then, in the semi-finals, they had a comfortable 99-62 over New Zealand.
The team’s coach, Tom Garlepp, tells The Pick and Roll the team always had a focus on the top prize as they powered through the tournament, “The whole time, you’re watching Japan in the other pool, and you recognize that they’re incredibly strong relative to the competition you’re playing on the journey.
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