U17 Men and Women take game 1 in FIBA Oceania Champ
The Australian U17 Men’s and Women’s basketball teams are one step closer to World Championship qualification, after both sides were successful in their game one match-ups with New Zealand tonight.
In the first game of the best-of-three FIBA Oceania Championship series, the Australian U17 Women’s team took the game 70-52 while the Aussie men ran away 36-point winners in their clash with the Kiwis, sealing the win 87-51.
In the U17 Women’s match-up, the Aussies took a slender five-point lead into quarter time after a tight first period. But the home side took control of the game in the second term, outscoring their trans-Tasman rivals by 18-10 to take a handy 13 point lead into the change rooms.
The Australians remained in control in the third period, pushing the lead out to 22 points with one quarter to play.
New Zealand made up ground in the fourth, but the deficit was too great going into the final stanza, the Australian U17 Women’s team sealing the 18-point victory and the 1-0 advantage in the best of three series.
Tiana Mangakahia top-scored for the Australians, finishing with 13 points, shooting 60 per cent from the field. Alicia Froling was also impressive, adding 11 points and 8 rebounds.
For New Zealand Stella Beck top-scored for the contest with 15 points while Shanara Nanai-Leifi finished close behind her with 14 points.
In the U17 men’s bout, a dominant 43-25 first half set up the victory for the Australians, eventually running away with the 87-51 win.
The Aussies controlled every quarter, and simply had too much fire power, with Dante Exum and Felix Von Hofe both top-scoring with 17 points each, while Jack Purchase was also impressive, finishing with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
For New Zealand, Tohiraukura Smith-Milner was the only double-digit scorer with 15 points.
The Aussie defense was impressive, as New Zealand were only able to connect on 33 per cent of their field goal attempts, turning it over 25 times for the game.
“We wanted to play some good extended defense and not give them any easy looks, and we wanted to respect their ability to penetrate off the dribble pretty well,” said U17 Men’s head coach Guy Molloy. "So I think it was contesting a lot of shots and trying to force them into a lot of turnovers, which we did,” he said.
“We executed our half-court offense very well for a limited time together, and we’re certainly pleased with the varied scoring input we had from a number of different players,” Molloy said.
Game One: U17 Women’s FIBA Oceania Championship
Australia 70 (Mangakahia 13, Froling 11) def New Zealand 52 (Beck 15, Nanai-Leifi 14)
Game One: U17 Men’s FIBA Oceania Championship
Australia 87 (Exum 17, Von Hofe 17) def New Zealand 51 (Smith-Milner 15)