The Junior Tall Blacks have moved to 2-0 at the FIBA Under 18 Asian Championship with an 89-47 win over host-nation Thailand on Monday night.
New Zealand got off to another hot start, scoring the first 10 points of the game before Thailand finally got something to go. NZ won each of the first two quarters, but it was in the third quarter when they really found a rhythm and built a big lead, outscoring Thailand 35-10. The final quarter was deadlocked at 14 apiece, but by that stage the damage was already done, and New Zealand had themselves another victory.
Sam Mennenga led the way with 18 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from three for NZ. James Moors had another solid outing with 10 points and seven rebounds, while Tomas Higgins also managed double figures with 11 points. Kruz Perrott-Hunt just missed out on a double-double with nine points, 12 rebounds, two assists and three steals.
New Zealand didn’t shoot as well as they did in their previous game against Bahrain, managing a 37.8 per cent clip from the field and 28.6 per cent from three, but they did commit just 15 turnovers overall – an area that the coaching staff wanted them to focus on.
In their first two games at the FIBA Asian Championship, New Zealand has showed flashes of an explosive offence that can put up points in a hurry and doing that consistently will be the key to their success in Bangkok.
Assistant Coach Miles Pearce said the boys showed some good effort in what was a solid win overall.
“It was a great hit out and it was good to get everyone playing. We didn’t shoot the ball overly well, but I think we did a great job on the glass with 40 offensive rebounds, which really shows the effort of the guys.
“It’s always fantastic to play in front of the home nation in these sorts of things. It just adds another element to the game,” said Pearce.
Rivals Australia are on the docket for the Junior Tall Blacks tomorrow and Pearce said the boys are really looking forward to it.
“It’s always a grudge match and a great time going up against the Aussies. We’ve got some great guys that are going to match up really well with some of the guys from Australia, so it should be a good one.
Tip-off for Tuesday’s game against Australia is scheduled for 3:30pm NZT.
All of the games will be livestreamed on FIBA’s Youtube channel, and you can also watch New Zealand’s games on the Basketball New Zealand Facebook page.
Team schedule (all times NZT):
August 5 vs. Bahrain – 94-62 (W)
August 6 vs. Thailand – 89-47 (W)
August 7 vs. Australia @ 3:30pm
August 8-11: Classification and Finals
2018 Junior Tall Blacks (New Zealand Under 19)
Flynn Cameron, New Zealand
Matthew O’Connell, Taranaki
Tama Faamausili, Palmerston North
Max DeGeest, Canterbury
Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Harbour
Oscar Oswald, Palmerston North
Maxim Stephens, Waikato
Max Darling, Canterbury
Tomas Higgins, Canterbury
James Moors, Harbour
Sam Mennenga, Harbour
Nathan Hanna, Otago
Gavin Briggs - Head Coach
Miles Pearce - Assistant Coach
Leyton Haddleton - Assistant Coach
Charles Maaka - Team Manager
Dawn Chalmers - Team Physio
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: https://www.fiba.basketball/asia/u18/2018
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.