Day 5- Men's Semi Final - New Zealand 63 def Guam 60
With the day slowly winding down, the New Zealand and Guam’s men’s team battled it out for a place in the semi- finals.
After a brilliant cultural display by the New Zealand team doing the Hakka, the game started off fierce and full of energy.
New Zealand was able to take the ball quickly in the game, using their tallest player, Jack Salt, to their advantage to take first possession, and consequently the first points of the match.
With both teams applying pressure, Guam was able to steal the ball from their New Zealand opponent scoring themselves 4 points in quick succession, enabling them to catch up to New Zealand.
With teamwork being extremely evident throughout both teams, New Zealand managed to convert free throws for their team.
Keeping players from New Zealand well manned was Guam, keeping their opponents well guarded over the whole court.
Keanu Singsam (4 points) from New Zealand managed to steal the ball from his opponent, doing a ‘lay-up’ scoring for his team.
Singsam’s fellow teammate Jayden Bezzant, kept the ball moving whilst his fellow teammates kept players from the Guam team well defended, enabling him to score.
As both teams looked to score, the eager bunch from Guam strategized along the sidelines over timeouts.
Guam’s Reed Meyer (6 points, 8 rebounds) managed to score some impressive rebounds collecting the ball 3 times, helping his team score, whilst fellow teammate Joshua Sebastian (8 points, 4 rebounds) moments later score a 3-pointer.
With 3-minutes left of play before halftime, both teams started pushing out points, with Guam’s full court press working in their favour.
After scoring a goal with 3.4 seconds left, Guam took a 1-point lead above New Zealand, ending the score at 28-27.
Keeping well hydrated at halftime was New Zealand, staying courtside strategizing and quenching their thirst.
Showing that they were ‘in it to win it’ was New Zealand, scoring the first points of the third quarter just a mere 30-seconds in.
Denhym Brooke (score) managed to intercept some of Guam’s rebounds bringing the ball to his end, scoring 4 points with the help of his team.
Guam’s Samuel Sotelo (11 points, 2 rebounds) also managed score some great free throw’s, getting 5 in with a 60 per-cent accuracy.
With both teams working tirelessly, Guam was able to continue keeping the New Zealand team well manned, managing to keep the ball away from their opponents with Michael Sakazaki (9 points, 2 rebounds) earning himself a 3-point play.
The last quarter of the match was fast paced, with the extra incentive of playing in the semi-finals running through the minds of all the players.
Redeeming themselves in this quarter was Guam, and cheering came from the crowd, the motivation and spirit from the players rose with both teams scoring points almost simultaneously.
Time ticking on the scoreboard didn’t slow down the players, with both teams working extra hard and never giving up.
With only 3-minutes left of play, both teams looked to score with Brooke and Salt earning their team a few free throw points.
At the clock ticked under the one-minute mark, Guam stayed strong in defence.
New Zealand’s Raymond Penny (13 points, 6 rebounds) scored a 3-point shot with 10 seconds remaining.
With the last play of the game, New Zealand drop back into a man-to-man defence, which worked in their favour.
With the intense and fast paced match coming to an end, Meyer made a last second effort for Guam with 0.89 seconds remaining, shooting from long range and only missing my inches.
New Zealand took the match finishing a mere 3-points ahead of Guam 60-63.
By Larissa Spano of The Reporters’ Academy