The NZ U15 Boy’s team have dropped a 89-100 decision to Australia at the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships in Guam overnight, in a thrilling showcase between the two top Oceania teams.
After taking a 31-25 lead after the first quarter, the Aussies clamped down on the Kiwis; limiting them to just eight points in the second period. Although New Zealand outscored Australia in the second half, they couldn’t erase the deficit in this one – despite a valiant effort from the young squad.
Oscar Goodman led New Zealand with 22 points, 7 rebounds – and one monstrous dunk on the Aussie squad – while Merrick Rillstone scored 17 points & 9 rebounds, Ihaka Cate had 11, Lachlan Crate 10, Hayden Jones 9 and James Matthews with 8 points.
For Australia, Indy Cotton had 18 points on a perfect 8-8 shooting, Dash Daniels also with 18; Harrison Beauchamp and Henry Sewell scoring 12 points apiece.
The first quarter saw NZ playing a beautiful brand of basketball, taking it straight to the Aussie big men without hesitation. Goodman led the way with a 15-point first quarter performance which had Australia on their heels; scoring 9 of NZ’s first 11 points, including a driving dunk plus the foul over multiple defenders that put the crowd into a frenzy. Australia were able to close the gap with a 5-0 run near the end of the quarter, bringing the score to 31-25 after one.
The Aussies bought a renewed focus on both the defensive and offense end in the second period – scoring 7 straight points to reclaim the lead, before Gus Dallow’s layup put NZ back out in front. With the Kiwis going cold and turning the ball over on multiple occasions – NZ with 9 miscues in the period after turning it over just 3 times in the first – Coach Haddleton was forced to call a timeout with Australia in front 40-35. The second period belonged to the Aussies, who outscored New Zealand 31-8 to build a 13 point lead heading into the second half.
New Zealand improved in the third quarter, with Rillstone scoring 9 points in the period as the Kiwis were able to outscore Australia 28-26. But they couldn’t reduce the deficit, despite some brilliant individual efforts down the stretch; Jones nailing a pair of triples along with 2 steals, Crate going on a personal 5-0 run with a triple and a layup. The final score of 89-100 going in Australia’s favour, in a game of two evenly matched teams that put on a show for the crowd.
Even with the loss, the Kiwis will have plenty to be happy about should they face Australia again in the Finals. Despite facing a team with plenty of height – three Aussies measuring at least 6’8” – New Zealand held their own on the boards, with both teams grabbing 39 rebounds. The Kiwis also had their best shooting performance of the competition so far, against an Australian team known for their defense; New Zealand hitting 50% of their shots and 35% from downtown (6/17).
The NZ U15 Boys have a day off tomorrow as they proceed directly to the Semis, while the NZ U15 Girls will face Guam in the quarterfinals tomorrow at 12pm NZT. Watch it on https://nz.basketball/tv/
New Zealand 89 – Goodman 22 PTS & 7 REB | Rillstone 17 PTS & 9 REB | Cate 11 PTS
Plumtree 3 PTS & 5 REB | Crate 10 PTS & 5 STL | Jones 9 PTS & 3 STL | Matthews 8 PTS | Dallow 4 PTS | Silberstein 2 PTS | Lepou 2 PTS | Reed 1 PT
Australia 100 – Cotton 18 PTS | Daniels 18 | Beauchamp 12 PTS | Sewell 12 PTS
Quarter scores: 31-25, 39-52, 67-78, 89-100.
Full box score: http://bbnz.link/eu3bs