The New Zealand U15 Boy’s team have registered an emphatic 104-44 victory over Samoa, on day one of the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships in Guam.
After leading by 42-25 at the break, the Kiwis broke away in the third with a 15-0 run to start the quarter, outscoring Samoa 62-19 over the second half. New Zealand dominated on the boards with a huge 69 to 29 advantage – including 29 boards on the offensive end – while their defense was also in sync; the Kiwis holding Samoa to just 35% shooting from the field and forcing them into 35 turnovers.
New Zealand was led by Merrick Rillstone with his 20pts – on 7-9 shooting – 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, while Troy Plumtree had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds (7 offensive) and Oscar Goodman tallied 12 points and 9 rebounds. Jameer Reed chipped in with 9 points & an impressive 8 offensive rebounds, while Lachlan Crate registered 9 points & 5 of New Zealand’s 24 steals.
For Samoa, Tristan Aufai led the way with 21 points while Bailey Nooroa and Dahtanian Okesene scored 5 apiece.
The game began with New Zealand setting an aggressive tone; the Kiwis winning possession and captain Hayden Jones immediately driving to the rim for the one-handed flush. The game swung back and forth in the first several minutes, before New Zealand was able to build a 17-12 lead on a pair of free throws by Goodman – Samoa guilty of 12 fouls in the first quarter alone.
With the Kiwis leading 25-20 heading into the second period, they were able to open up a 17 point lead thanks primarily to the play of Rillstone and his 14 first half points. The floodgates opened in the third as New Zealand went on a 15-0 run to start the period – part of the 28-0 run bridging the two quarters – to extend the lead out to 57-25; Samoa held scoreless for the first 6 minutes of the third thanks to the relentless Kiwis defensive pressure.
New Zealand continued to pile on that pressure in the fourth, with a 12-0 run to start the period. Turning to its bench saw the Kiwi’s efforts continue to be rewarded; the duo of Gus Dallow and Liam Cullen Van Der Hayden combining for 10 of the Kiwi’s 19 points in the final six minutes – the final score-line giving New Zealand a 60-point win in their first game.
Although the Kiwis will be happy with their defensive effort in this one, they will hope to improve in two key areas heading into their next game; reducing their turnovers (23) and improving their shooting – New Zealand hitting 45% from the field but only 20% (6-30) from downtown and 55% from the charity stripe (16-29).
Rillstone shared his thoughts after the game.
“Samoa came out really strong, so we had made the necessary adjustments to get the fast breaks, get the easy lay-ups and shut down their main players,” Rillstone said.
“Looking ahead to the rest of the tournament, we need to keep looking for the open shots and not trying to force any layups or anything crazy and if you’re open, don’t be afraid to just shoot it.”
Next up for the U15 Boy’s is a date with Guam at 10pm NZT tomorrow – watch it live at https://nz.basketball/tv/
New Zealand 104 – Rillstone 20 PTS & 5 REB | Goodman 12 PTS & 9 REB & 4 AST | Plumtree 10 PTS & 14 REB & 4 AST| Reed 9 PTS & 8 REB | Crate 9 PTS & 5 STL | Silberstein 8 PTS | Dallow 8 PTS | Jones 7 PTS & 7 REB | Van Der Hayden 6 PTS & 8 REB | Matthews 6 PTS & 4 STL | Lepou 5 PTS | Cate 4 PTS
Samoa 44 – Aufai 21 PTS | Nooroa 5 PTS | Okesene 5 PTS
Quarter scores: 25-20, 42-25, 73-30, 104-44.
Full box score: http://bbnz.link/205h8