Fine Win for New Zealand U18 Men

The New Zealand Under 18 Women finished with a 3-3 record at the conclusion of pool play at the Australian State Championships. The NZ team went down 83-68 against South Australia Country in their final round robin game. After an even opening quarter the South Australian women took a firm grip of proceedings winning the second period 32-17, giving them a massive 49-32 advantage at half time. The Kiwis mounted a spirited revival to close within 8 points late in the third period but the fight back couldn’t be sustained. The team missed their leading rebounder Connie Poletti absent due to injury but Wellington’s Tegan Graham stepped up big time grabbing 7 rebounds and adding 19 points. Porirua’s Shalae Salmon was also impressive with 18 points and North Harbour’s Tiarna Clarke collected 12 points but the poor second quarter cost the Kiwis any chance of victory. The New Zealand Men played South Australia Metro in their sixth and final pool game in Canberra. The Kiwis struggled offensively in the opening quarter, the team shooting just 4 from 21 to trail 19-11. A better second period saw the deficit reduced to just four points at the main break, 37-33. The consistent North Harbour swingman Matt Freeman was once again leading the way for the Kiwis as they went toe for toe with the South Australians in the third period, the lead changing hands on multiple occasions before a Joe Cook-Green basket and an Isaac Davidson triple opened up a 56-50 advantage at three-quarter time. The lead was built to 11 points early in the final quarter but when SA Metro tied the scores with 1:13 remaining it looked as if a memorable victory would be squandered. Fortunately Freeman restored the lead inside the final minute, SA missed two free throws to aid the Kiwis cause before Freeman iced the game with a three, final score 78-73 to the New Zealand Men. Freeman’s game high 25 points led the New Zealand effort but their were other eye catching efforts. Waitakere’s Isaac Davidson contributed 19 points including a blistering 6 from 7 from beyond the arc. Rotorua’s Logan Elers and Canterbury’s Shou Nisbet scored 9 apiece on a combined 8 from 12 shooting. The Men head into the quarter-finals with a confidence boosting 4-2 record.

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