Despite a combined 41 points from Southland guard Tom Cowie (25 points) and Joseph Hylton (16 points) New Zealand Under 16 Men were beaten 79-68 by Victoria Country at the quarter-finals stage of the Australian State Championships in Melbourne on Thursday.
Cowie scored five early points and off loaded a couple of assists to forward Shalom Broughton as New Zealand shaded the first quarter 15-13.
Coach Dave Mackay constantly shuffled his substitutes in the second period as the previously free scoring Kiwis struggled to make baskets. Forward Morgan Trott executed a block and then converted at the offensive end but New Zealand, managing just 12 points in the period, trailed 34-27 at the main break.
New Zealand slipped to 14 points behind early in the third before Marvin-Williams Dunn landed a three to reduce the Vic advantage to eleven, 45-34.
Hylton carried the New Zealand team on his back either side of three-quarter time. The Harbour swingman scored 13 of New Zealand’s 15 points although they trailed 58-49 with six minutes to play.
The next two minutes proved decisive as New Zealand failed to score on four successive possessions allowing Vic to stretch out to a 15 points advantage, 64-49.
Cowie, the Kiwi’s leading scorer on the night, scored 7 late points and Logan McIntosh scored from beyond the arc but it was not enough as New Zealand slipped to a disappointing 79-68 loss.
New Zealand will now play-off for places 5-8 on the final two days of the tournament.
NZ Scorers ; Tom Cowie 25/5 assists, Joseph Hylton 16/9, Shalom Broughton 7, Kainoa Lepou 6, Logan McIntosh 5, Mitchell Dance 4, Marvin Williams-Dunn 3, Morgan Trott 2