U17 Men’s Team Fall To Japan in Semis; To Play Lebanon For Bronze

The New Zealand U17 Men were beaten 99-79 by Japan in the semi-final of the FIBA Asian Championship in Doha on Saturday night.

Japan built a ten point margin by quarter time and twenty by half-time; although New Zealand were resolute in the second spell, they couldn’t mount a major scoring run to trim the margin below 17 points.

Nic Book was immense for the Kiwis adding 12 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 3 blocks to a team high 25 points. The Cantabrian is averaging an impressive 19.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game at the tournament.

New Zealand also enjoyed major contributions from George Turner (13 points), Hunter Trego (11 points) and Julius Halaifonua (10 points). The Kiwis face another quick turnaround with a 3rd/4th play-off game ahead of them in 24 hours.

Halaifonua scored the opening basket of the game but the slick, quick Japanese soon took control of the contest establishing a 29-13 lead by quarter time.

Seven points from Hunter Trego and a brace of scores from Halaifonua meant New Zealand were right in the contest – trailing by nine points (42-31) at the back end of the first half.

However, Japan finished the half with a 12-0 run to break the game open and head into half-time with a clear 54-31 lead.

Nic Book scored a massive 13 points in the third quarter to drag the Kiwis back into the contest. With George Turner knocking down a couple of triples the deficit was dragged back to 17 points but Japan had the last say in the quarter to lead 73-54 at the last break.

The Kiwis made regular scores during the final quarter but were unable to put a major dent in Japan’s advantage.

The final assignment for the team is the bronze medal game against Lebanon on Sunday night (3.00am Monday NZT). A bronze would equal the New Zealand performance at the last U17 championships back in 2017.


New Zealand 79 – Book 25pts & 12 rebs | Turner 13pts | H Trego 11pts | Halaifonua 10pts | Shortt 6pts & 6rebs | Matakatea 5pts

Japan 99 – Yuto Kawashima 38


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 L 99-79
  • Sunday June 19 v Lebanon – 3rd/4th play-off game (3am Monday NZT). Live streaming is this game will be available at nz.basketball/tv


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 full U16 Asia Cup fixture schedule can be found here.