Under 18 3×3 Asia Cup teams hope to continue recent success

Our National Under 18 3×3 teams will depart for Cyberjaya, Malaysia this weekend to take part in the U18 3×3 FIBA Asia Cup from August 22-24.

Success in the condensed format has been prevalent in the past 12 months, with last year’s men beating out China in the final and the women claiming silver after their loss to the same foe.

Both sides will feature multiple players who have performed well at the various National championships and respective premier domestic leagues.

Ella Bradley, Jordyn Maddix, Helen Matthews and Emme Shearer have all been rewarded with their selection after strong displays in the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC).

“All four player had a really strong WBC season and were key contributors on their respective teams,” said Under 18 3×3 Women’s Head Coach Justine Reed.

“They were able to gain invaluable experience playing with and against some very experienced and talented players which is good preparation for our campaign.”

All four players are in their final year at high school but each of them excelled in the more demanding environment of senior basketball. They all played every game for their respective WBC teams, emphasizing their fitness and durability – key components for 3×3 play.

Matthews was a standout for Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats. The youngest Wildcat played averaged 6.5 points per game on 17 minutes of court time.

Former Wildcats Head Coach Lori McDaniel is in no doubt that Matthews, in her final year at Kaiapoi High School, has made big strides during the WBC season.

“Helen has worked on her game steadily since before Worlds last year.

“Playing against such high calibre guards in the WBC this year has really helped her elevate her basketball IQ and strength with ball in hand.

“Helen’s ability to create her own shot will be key for this team and Justine has got a great group to work with.”

The “Worlds” that McDaniel referred to was the FIBA U17 World Cup in Belarus last year, a tournament also attended by Ella Bradley.

Bradley has a prolific record of winning championships at St Peter’s School, Cambridge and on Waikato age-group teams.

With that experience, Bradley was assigned a starting role with Waikato Wizards in the WBC this season, where she was the second-highest rebounder on the team (7.5rpg) and third-highest points scorer (11.8ppg), averaging almost 34 minutes per game.

She most recently led the Waikato Under 23 Women to their fourth-straight National Championship and was named the Most Valuable Player in the process.

Wizards Head Coach Leanne Walker said she is looking forward to seeing Bradley perform on the international stage again.

“Ella will be an asset to the team given her experience with the St Peter’s, playing on multiple championship-winning teams.

“Ella is fit, gutsy and has a never give up attitude. She will bring her competitive spirit and tenacity to this environment.

“I’m excited to see what this team can produce – good luck to them all.”

Maddix and Shearer are both at Westlake Girls High School. Shearer was a member of the Harbour Breeze team that went all the way to the WBC Grand-Final.

Maddix averaged 22 minutes per game for the Harbour Zephyr and was the second-leading scorer on the team, averaging 10.3 points per game. She also shot 38% from behind the three-point arc, a skill Reed can utilise in Malaysia.

Shearer performed well in her first season with the Breeze, averaging 8.8 points per game and 18 minutes of court time.

The guard will join her three teammates Cyberjaya following the Basketball Without Borders Asia camp in Tokyo, Japan, which has been running since Wednesday and finishes this Sunday.

The men are made up of Shalom Broughton, Mitchell Dance, Thomas Webley and Marvin Williams-Dunn, and are headed by coach Joshua Thompson.

Dance has a winning pedigree from his time at Rosmini College, where he won back-to-back Schick AA National Championships and MVP honours. The small forward started the year with the Taylor Bay Hawks, but transferred to the Taranaki Steelformers Mountainairs midseason in search of a bigger role and showed flashes of potential with the greater court time.

Williams-Dunn is in his last year at Rosmini and played a key role in Harbour’s winning of the Aon Under 19 National Championship. He along with teammate Webley, another year 13 student only out of Cashmere High School, were named to the tournament team.

Broughton is an athletic forward currently at Saint Kentigern College, who boasts a skill set that has shown to translate well to the three-a-side game.

Under 18 3×3 Men’s Head Coach Joshua Thompson said he had lofty goals for his team.

“Obviously there are high expectations are going in after last year and we’re going to do our best to lift ourselves to that level of play.

“You play to win, so we’re aiming to walk away with a medal and are hopeful that it’s gold.”

“Size is one of our advantages, so we’ll look to go to work down low and move the ball when needed.”

The women (ranked 6th) are grouped with Turkmenistan (#3) and a yet to be named qualifier, while the men (#7) will face Mongolia (#2) and Sri Lanka (#12) in pool play.

All matches streaming live at https://www.youtube.com/user/3x3planet