The New Zealand Under 16 Men remained on course for a top two place in their pool at Australian State Championships in Melbourne on Tuesday by beating Queensland South 73-58.
Both teams had lost just once entering the contest but it was New Zealand that started the strongest taking the opening period 22-14. The Rosmini College trio of Joseph Hylton, Marvin Williams-Dunn and Mitchell Dance contributed 16 of the points.
New Zealand continued to hold the upper hand in the second with Kainoa Lepou and Dance making threes as the lead stretched to 40-25 at half-time.
Despite not scoring in the last three minutes of the third the Kiwis, with Logan McIntosh scoring 5 points in the quarter, led 58-41 at the last break.
When Tom Cowie made a basket to give the Kiwis a 65-47 lead with 5:50 to play it appeared a comfortable win was secured. However Queensland South had other ideas and mounted a 9-0 charge inside two minutes to close within 9 points.
Coach Dave Mackay was forced to use a couple of quick timeouts. His words obviously did the trick as the free scoring Dance responded with 8 straight points, including a pair of threes, to ease the New Zealand nerves.
Sam Broughton corralled 10 boards as the Kiwis edged the rebounding contest 48-42 whist Dance led all scorers with 27 points. His scoring splits of 59% (10/17FG), 50% (4/83PG), 75% (3/4FT), make fine reading.
Next game is Wednesday against Northern Territory.
NZ Scorers; Mitchell Dance 27/8, Shalom Broughton 10/10, Logan McIntosh 7, Joseph Hylton 6/7, Tom Cowie 6/3 assists , Marvin Williams-Dunn 6, Kainoa Lepou 5, Jared Thornton 2, Morgan Trott 2 Ezrah Vaigafa 2
Full stats here.