Day 6 - Men's Gold Medal Game - Australia wins Gold
There was massive anticipation and excitement as the sirens rang to begin the match, and with the Australian girls just winning their gold medal game, there were high expectations for this game. With pre-show entertainment from the New Zealand men’s team, performing the Hakka, everyone was ready for the game to begin.
The Australian’s began with a small lead, but the New Zealanders fought back hard with strong defense and accurate shooting and managed to take the lead. The Australians started to fight back and to go hard to try and overcome the New Zealanders and preferably take a lead, however, the first quarter scores were Australia 10 to New Zealand 16.
The second quarter started off very stressed and both teams were anxious as to who was going to win.
Jayden Bezzant from New Zealand was their star player in the first half. He scored 8 points for his team; a very crucial contribution to his teams score and what his team’s outcome would become.
The two star players from Australia were William McDowell-White and Abiola Akintola, they both scored 8 points for their team, a total of 16 points together which is more than half of the final score for the second quarter, making a massive difference to their score.
With 3 minutes left to go in the second quarter, Australia had just scored a 2-point lead over New Zealand, a time-out was called but they came back on the court. Luckily for New Zealand, Australia didn’t score any further points in this quarter.The final scores for the second quarter were Australia 26 to New Zealand 24.
The half time break was well deserved by both teams who fought it hard non-stop in the first half. They received a pep talk and it was well needed, with the match so close both teams and especially the coaches needed a strong plan to help their teams win with the games so close.
The game play and skills shown throughout the third quarter was fantastic, the way both teams handled themselves not just playing a great quarter, but their respect was of the utmost level.
The strong sportsmanship shown by both New Zealand and Australia is something the youth watching and observing the tournament should be looking up to and taking in.
New Zealand kept going hard and kept going at Australia with strong defense. Australia just kept shooting goals, more and more accurately each time.
The final third quarter scores were Australia 43 to New Zealand 31.
As the crowd, coaches and staff supporting each team started to become anxious, nervous and curious as to who would win, with Australia taking a 19 point lead with 8 minutes left in the quarter, New Zealand didn’t give up.
A time-out was called from the New Zealand coach and he pulled his team off to give them some inspirational and motivating words; New Zealand came back on after that time-out and showed Australia what they had to give.
But then as New Zealand started to make a comeback, the Australian coach called a time-out, obviously now worried about what New Zealand were going to bring to the table.
The area that let New Zealand down the most in the last quarter was their lack of accuracy, several unsuccessful attempts at three pointers were made.
The intensity grew at the end of the match with only a matter of minutes to go, more and more people were rocking up to watch, many more people were cheering and getting involved in the game.
Unfortunately for the New Zealand men’s team, Australia’s lead was just too much for them to overcome and Australia won, becoming the men’s gold medal winner for the Pacific Youth Basketball Championships.
The final scores were Australia 66 to New Zealand 49.
By Amy Sanderson of The Reporters’ Academy