Both the Aon Under 17 Men’s and Women’s teams were beaten by Australia in the FIBA Under 17 Oceania Championship on Tuesday in New Caledonia. The Men lost 86-63 with the Women going down 79-53.
The results mean both teams finish second in their respective Pools meaning automatic entry to the semi-finals on Friday and a day’s rest on Thursday.
Reihana Maxwell-Topia gave New Zealand men an early three point lead and it was 11-11 at the mid-point of the first quarter before Australia put together a 15-2 run to rattle the Kiwis and establish a 27-13 lead after ten minutes.
New Zealand regained their composure in the second but still trailed 45-28 at the break – Robbie Coman the best of the Kiwis with 8 points.
Mac Stoddard made a welcome appearance after missing the opening two games due to illness but despite the Cantabrians rebounding hustle and a four-point play from Harry Payne the three-quarter score was 71-46 in favour of Australia.
To their credit the Kiwis played with determination in the final quarter winning the stanza 17-15. They also won the rebounding count 38-33 but there was a glaring difference in the perimeter shooting.
Australia made 6 from 14 (43%) threes with New Zealand just 5 from 24 at 21%.
New Zealand 63– R Coman 15/10r, H Payne 14, R Maxwell-Topia 9/6r, C Ngan 7, S Murphy 6, E Vaigafa 5/5r/4a, R Royce 4, F Lally 3
Australia 86– J Giddey 26, T Wigness 13
An Arielle Williams triple gave New Zealand Women an 8-7 lead although Australia had gained a 22-16 lead at quarter time.
An 8-3 New Zealand run to open the second quarter trimmed the Australian lead to three points and prompted an opposition timeout. The Aussie response was a 7-0 run of their own and by half-time led 43-30, Emilee Tahata with 8 points for the Kiwis.
The Kiwis showed plenty of spirit in the third quarter closing to within six (49-35) before eventually trailing 54-44 at the three-quarter mark.
Ashlee Strawbridge became the third Kiwi into double figures but a series of New Zealand turnovers allowed Australia to take a grip on proceedings and boss the final period to close out a comfortable win.
Despite the 79-53 score line it was a gutsy performance by the Kiwis but they will have to address the rebounding and turnover count before the upcoming semi-final and potential final.
The Kiwis were thumped on the boards 58-37 and committed 26 turnovers to Australia’s 18.
New Zealand 53– E Tahata 12/6r, A Williams 12, A Strawbridge 10, O Williams 5, E Paleaae-Cook 4, C Marama 4, H Matehaere 2, R Fourie 2, P Mason 2
Australia 79– M Prior 13, G Potter 13
Both teams get a day off on Thursday before semi-final action on Friday.
The top-two finishers at the FIBA Under 17 Oceania Championship advance to the FIBA Under 18 Asian Championship, which is the official qualifier to the FIBA U19 World Cup.