OUR Metro charges and Country girls remain undefeated through the first two days, as our Victorian high flyers have made their marks early on the Under-16 National Championships.
UNDER 16 VICTORIA METROPOLITAN BOYS
Pumping the other states emphatically, Victoria Metropolitan boys swept aside Northern Territory and South Australia Country… but had to put in a bit harder to see off NSW Metro.
Starting with a bang, the Metro men saw off NT 123-45 as Josh Woodford (21 points), Zac Taylor (20 points), Luke Cleary (18 points), Leyi Adebayo (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Lucas Faili (nine points, 13 rebounds) opened their under-16 accounts in style as the Victorians surged ahead comfortably.
Similarly, the 116-61 outcome against South Australia Country kept the percentage high as
Darrien Herbert (18 points), Leyi Adebayo (17 points) and Paul Tsapatolis (16 points, eight rebounds) took the game on in league with Josh Woodford (14 points), Oscar Berry (13 points) and Zac Taylor (nine points, 12 rebounds).
The hardest clash of the opening stanza for the Metro men came in a likely finals preview against NSW Metro. Tsapatolis (nine points), Taylor (nine points), Berry (eight points) and Woodford (eight points) pushed aside the northerners to keep the unbeaten spree going heading into Monday’s third day of competition.
UNDER 16 VICTORIA COUNTRY GIRLS
Pushing past QLD North 66-49, the Country girls started the tournament on the right note as Piper Dunlop (16 points, 13 rebounds), Karli Bruce (10 points, 10 rebounds) while Jade Melbourne (nine points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) worked her way towards a triple-double.
It was smoother sailing on Sunday morning as the girls cantered past WA Country 83-50. The even spread was evident again as Piper Dunlop (14 points), Jade Melbourne (14 points) Olivia Pollerd (13 points) lifted the side across the line.
Sunday evening proved difficult. A lot more difficult. In a frenetic scramble to the line, Jade Melbourne (15 points) hit the match-winning lay-up… with 1.31 to go. In a 66-65 clash, neither Vic Country or New Zealand could hit their shots in the dying seconds, leaving an enthralling finish to go all the way to the line. Vic Country had shared the lead with New Zealand throughout the clash, but the Kiwis threatened to pull ahead late, but Melbourne and Olivia Pollerd (10 points) clinched the victory through their hard work on offence. Alisha Knights (16 points, six rebounds, six assists) also starred in the trenches for Country.
UNDER 16 VICTORIA METROPOLITAN GIRLS
Bringing out the big guns early, the Metro girls sent the broadside through the ACT roster with a 94-45 demolition. There was no reprieve as Gemma Potter (21 points), Zoe Jenkins (13 points), Erin Riley (12 points) and Alex Keating (12 points) led from the front.
Similarly comfortable on Sunday, the girls saw off NSW Country 57-36 on the back of Gemma Potter (30 points, 10 rebounds). Potter held up her end of the bargain, slashing her way through the Country contingent in league with Zoe Jenkins (nine points).
UNDER 16 VICTORIA COUNTRY BOYS
The Country boys suffered on opening night at the hands of New Zealand, taking a 65-89 loss. The Kiwis exploded early on the back of Harrison Payne (23 points), Mac Stodart (19 points) and a double-double performance from Reihana Topia (11 points, 10 rebounds). In an even spread, Liam Porter (11 points), Ethan Fiegert (10 points) and Jordan Michel (10 points) flew the flag.
Redemption came in the form of a thrilling two-point triumph on Sunday night as the Country boys held off Act in a 59-57 epic. Caleb Connick (12 points), Oscar Hide (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Luis D’Angelo (eight points) pushed the Country lads across the line and kept their tournament chances ticking along.
Basketball Victoria will ramp up its coverage of the event starting Tuesday, so stay tuned for all the videos, galleries and insights into our four teams heading towards Saturday night’s grand finals.