Eight teams arrived at ‘The Triangle’ in St Kilda last Sunday afternoon, all with hopes of punching their ticket to the FIBA World Tour Qualifiers in Mongolia(!) later this year.
The CLB3X3 Aussie Summer Series Final, with picturesque surrounds of St Kilda beach palm trees and the famous Palais Theatre, didn’t disappoint.
Whilst the competition was fierce, perhaps the biggest adjustment for the teams was dealing with the wind. The sea breeze played havoc all day, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd or players.
The round-robin format saw each team play three times and the top four move onto the Semi-Final’s.
From the outset, Townsville’s Luke Schenscher was dominant in the key and simply couldn’t be stopped. Lobbing it up to the big man, who is listed at 216cm, was the flavour of the day and his teammates fed him the ball at every opportunity.
The Semi-Final’s saw top-placed Darwin take on Canberra, whilst Townsville battled Melbourne.
The young Canberra team of Tamuri Wigness, Jonathan Tchamwa, Mate Colina and Callum Dalton took it right up to Darwin. But Darwin were able to hold firm and take the win 10-8, staving off a late challenge from Canberra.
Townsville were able to handle Melbourne in convincing fashion in their Semi-Final, running out 18-8 winners. Schenscher continued to use his height and grab virtually every available rebound, feeding it back out to teammates or choosing to finish it off himself at the rim.
The Grand Final saw Townsville take on Darwin. In a back and forth opening to the game, scores were tied at 4-4 with 6 minutes remaining. A Peter Crawford long-range bomb gave the Townsville team a bit of breathing room, and with 3 minutes remaining Townsville held a 10-5 advantage.
Darwin weren’t done with though. A Jerron Jamerson long-range bucket, followed by a Jerrell Sanders lay-in and Anthony Golden floater made things very interesting; 10-9 Townsville with under 2 minutes remaining.
Schenscher and Crawford managed things beautifully in the clutch and saw Townsville take the win 13-10.
The winning Townsville team of Luke Schenscher, Peter Crawford, Tim Keating and Cameron Springall will be representing Australia at the FIBA World Tour Qualifiers in June.
There’s no doubt about it; 3X3 basketball is making waves around the world, Australia included.
The full replay of the Grand Final match-up between Townsville and Darwin is below.