The men and women representing New Zealand at the FIBA 3x3 Under 18 Asia Cup both earned podium finishes on Sunday night, with the men winning gold and the women securing silver.
Both teams played themselves into the knockout rounds with some impressive outings during pool play, and as the tournament went on each team seemed to get better and better.
The men squared off against Japan in their quarterfinal matchup and it almost ended on a sour note. They led 20-17 and were one point away from winning, but Japan fought back to tie it and had a chance to win the game. However, a game-saving block by James Moors kept New Zealand alive and they would go on to win 21-20.
They’d move on to play a skilled Mongolian team in the semi-finals, but a few adjustments helped them to a 21-15 victory. The men met China in the final and played tremendously. China had a narrow lead midway through the game, but New Zealand managed to click into gear and earn the win.
Men’s coach Karl Noyer was proud of his team’s effort and said it was a great experience overall.
“I am very pleased to have coached such an amazing group of boys. It has been a great experience in Malaysia for all of us and a great build up for the Youth Olympics next month in Argentina. I think it shows that NZ will be very competitive on the 3x3 world stage in years to come,” said Noyer.
The women began with a 20-13 win over Iran in the quarterfinals, which set them up against Indonesia in the semifinals. The girls were able to execute their gameplan and controlled the tempo of the game, helping them to a 21-15 win. The women would go on to face China in the final, a team that possessed great size and cohesion. New Zealand fought hard but ultimately fell 19-12.
Women’s coach Justine Reed praised the girls for their play throughout the tournament and is excited for New Zealand’s future in the 3x3 competition.
“I am proud that our girls never gave up and competed to the end,” said Reed.
“It was great to have both of our teams in the final. I definitely think that New Zealand has a great chance to make a name for itself in the 3x3 world. I hope that this opens up more opportunities for our players to be involved in this exciting game.”
New Zealand 3x3 Under 18 women’s team
• Arielle Williams-Mackey (Waikato Basketball)
• Briarley Rogers (Tauranga City Basketball)
• Emilee Tahata (based in Australia)
• Kay Phillips (based in Australia)
• Head Coach Justine Reed.
New Zealand 3x3 Under 18 men’s team
• Thomas Whyte (Basketball Auckland)
• James Moors (Harbour Basketball)
• Max de Geest (Canterbury Basketball)
• Matthew O’Connell (Taranaki Country Basketball)
• Head Coach Karl Noyer.
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/asia/3x3U18/2018
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.