The NZ U17 Men’s dream of securing a berth at the U17 Men’s FIBA World Cup in Spain next month, finally came to fruition in Doha on Saturday morning (NZT) – with the Kiwis defeating Iran 72-66 at the quarter-final stage of the FIBA Asian Championship in Doha.
New Zealand joins Australia, Japan and Lebanon as semi-finalists at the Asian Championship – and with it, passage to the World Cup in Spain in July.
New Zealand led at every quarter against the tournament’s second seeds. Once again, energetic forward Nic Book led from the front with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
The Cantabrian was well supported by wing Dante Matakatea (17 points) point guard Hunter Trego (15 points – 3/6 3PG), Will Shortt (8 points) and Julius Halaifonua (8 points).
New Zealand grabbed the lead from the outset – Matakatea and Book knocking down threes for a 6-2 advantage, extended to 17-12 at quarter-time. The advantage hovered around the 6-point mark for most of the second period until Hunter Trego and Shortt scores extended the lead to 40-27 at half-time.
Iran had marginally the better of the third but the advantage was still with the Kiwis at the three-quarter break, ahead 57-46.
With Halaifonua and Matakatea producing the opening scores of the final stanza, the New Zealand lead was up to a comfortable 62-48. The Kiwis still led by nine points inside the final two minutes – Iran made a couple of dents in the deficit but nothing major – the players and travelling supporters able to celebrate a notable New Zealand win.
New Zealand will next meet Japan in the Asian Championship semi-final on Saturday night.
New Zealand 72 – Book 17pts & 8rebs | Matakatea 17pts | Hunter Trego 15pts | Halaifonua 8pts & 9rebs | Shortt 8pts & 3 blocks
Iran 66 – M Khosravi 26
New Zealand Schedule/Results:
- Sunday June 12 v Kazakhstan W 92-67
- Tuesday June 14 v Korea Lost 79-73 AOT
- Thursday June 16 v Kuwait W 107-57
- Friday June 17 v Iran W 72-66
- Saturday June 18 v Japan (3am Sunday June 19 NZT)
- Sunday June 19 The Final and 3rd/4th play-off games will be dependent on the results of games played Saturday.
U17 Men’s National Team
Kaia Berridge – Tauranga City Basketball
Nic Book – Canterbury Basketball
George Grant – Basketball Otago
Julius Halaifonua – Harbour Basketball
Dante Matakatea – Basketball Auckland
William Passi – Counties-Manukau Basketball
Kalid Petzer – Basketball Auckland
Brody Perry – Franklin Basketball
Will Shortt – Basketball Auckland
Hunter Trego – New Zealand
Phoenix Trego – New Zealand
George Turner – Counties-Manukau Basketball
Head Coach – Darron Larsen
Assistant Coach – Chris Tupu
Assistant Coach – Jack Williamson
Team Manager – Scott Richardson
The U16 Asia Cup fixture schedule can be found at www.fiba.basketball/asia/u16/2022
Live streaming will also be available at nz.basketball/tv