Less Bang, more basketball on day 2
Basketball Queensland and the Brisbane Basketball Association put the focus on basketball on day 2 of the FIBA Oceania U-17 Championships. The half time entertainment feature some games of 3-on-3 basketball as well as some girls v/s the boys shooting competitions, and between the two games on the program for today, a number of the legends of Brisbane and Queensland Basketball were presented to the large crowd at the Auchenflower stadium.
The players themselves representing New Zealand and Australia picked up the theme and today's games were a much more even contest with New Zealand coming away with a highly prized victory over the Australians.
Australia 68 defeat New Zealand 54.
In the U-17 Women, Australia came away with their second win, this time a 68 to 54 victory over the New Zealanders, but at half time the scores were only 28 to 22 in favour of the Australians. Even midway through the third period, only eight points separated the teams. After allowing the Australians to take an 11 point lead mid way through the last period, the New Zealanders scored 12 to the Australian's 5 in rounding out the game.
Australia dominated the rebounding 48 to 37, but New Zealand scored 34 of their points inside the paint compared to Australia's 36. The New Zealand team shot 62% from the free throw line but their percentage outside the 3 point line was a lowly 9%, with Australia picking up 12 points outside the arc on 29% shooting.
For New Zealand, Georgina Agnew scored 16 points after 32 minutes of court time, Hana Wilkinson played 18 minutes for 9 points and Megan Craig again was a presence with 8 points after 17 minutes of court time.
Australia's Gretel Tippett saw 35 minutes of action and lead all scorers with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Captain Lauren Nicholson in 32 minutes of court time scored 14 points.
In summary, a much improved performance today from the New Zealanders and it will be interesting to see if they can make further improvement on day three and grab a win from the Australians, who with today's victory have already secured themselves a berth for the 2010 U-17 World Championships in France.
New Zealand defeated Australia 69 to 67.
If the New Zealand girls are looking for any inspiration for a win over the Australians, the New Zealand boys team showed today it can be done.
The euphoria was so great after the 2 point victory in today's game, that coach Doug Courtney had to stready the ship and remind the boys that it was the series which mattered not the game.
However, victories by New Zealand basketball teams over Australia are not enjoyed every day and this one was a character building one for the young Kiwis.
In game 1, the Australians were able to establish their authority early and then prevented the New Zealanders from eroding that lead. In today's game, after 5 miutes the teams were locked on 7 points. At the end of the period, again locked on 18 points and at half time the Australians held a slender 3 point lead, 33 to 30 over New Zealand. Australia's Carlin and Chircu who were dominant in Game 1 only had 11 points between them in game 2 at half time.
No single player dominated for New Zealand but Ngatai continued his form from game one to lead their scoreline at half time.
By the end of the third quarter the New Zealanders had recorded a 6 point turn around, to hold a three point lead which they stretched to 8 at one point in the final period before the Australians were able to bring the score back to level in the final minutes.
New Zealand had a great night from behind the arc, shooting 55% as a team. Michael Karena shot 3 from 4, Jordan Ngatai 2 from 3 and Tamaki Courtney 1 from 1. At the other end of the floor, Australia could manage only 23% from behind the arc. The Kiwi 3-point shooting covered some other weaknesses in their game. They pulled down 29 rebounds to Australia's 49 and whereas the Aussies recorded 17 second chance points, the New Zealanders could manage only 3.
However, fans were treated to an absorbing contest, with 20 lead changes during the game, and scores locked 11 times. With one victory each in the 2009 FIBA Oceania U-17 Championship for Men, the deciding game on Saturday is sure to be an absorbing match.