The New Zealand Women (2-0) had a double header at the U18 Australian State Champs in Canberra on Saturday.
The first game was against the powerful Victoria Metro outfit. The early signs were good for the Kiwis trailing just 19-15 at quarter time.
The second period was more of a struggle, Victoria Metro building a commanding 44-31 half-time lead – Connie Poletti (8pts) and Kelcy Ballantyne (6pts) the only significant scorers for the New Zealander’s.
The deficit increased to 62-43 by three-quarter time and was extended further in the final period, the Vic’s eventually winning 77-54. Poletti (13pts/8 rebounds) and Ballantyne (12pts/5 rebounds) were the only Kiwis in double figures although Porirua’s Shalae Salmon (7pts) made her largest scoring contribution in the tournament to date.
In their second game of the day the New Zealand Women led ACT 26-23 at half-time both teams shooting less than 30% from the field in the opening half. Kayla Manuirirangi led all scoring with 8 points at the main break.
The Kiwi Women opened the third quarter with a 12-2 run eventually closing the period 54-39 ahead on the scoreboard and 45-25 on the rebound count. The NZ Women further extended their lead in the final period to run out comfortable winners 81-55 and take their record to 3 wins-1 loss. All ten players contributed points, Tauranga’s Kelcy Ballantyne, Otago’s Aleisha Ruske and Manuirirangi scoring double figures.
Despite a 17 points, 16 rebounds performance from Matt Freeman the Under 18 Men lost 82-70 against NSW Metro, their record now 2-2.
The scores were tied 54-54 at three-quarter time and when Canterbury’s Shou Nisbett scored with 4:55 remaining the Kiwi Men trailed just 66-63. Three turnovers were then conceded in the next three minutes and the chance of a prized scalp was lost. Waikato’s Nikau McCullough (18pts) led the New Zealand scoring effort with Rotorua’s Logan Elers (11pts) the only other double digit scorer other than Freeman.