AusChamps – Day 1 Review Returning to the nation’s capital for another bumper Australian Junior Championships, the Australian Institute of Sport played host to some fascinating basketball on day one…
AusChamps – Day 1 Review
Returning to the nation’s capital for another bumper Australian Junior Championships, the Australian Institute of Sport played host to some fascinating basketball on day one as our sides endured, persevered and are set to prepare for even more to come.
Two-from-two was the perfect way to start the tournament as the Victorian Under-20 Women were superb against NSW and WA on Wednesday.
Taking top billing in the pool from the get-go, Victoria’s Under-20 Women felt right at home in Canberra. With eight athletes from the Centre of Excellence included in this side, this is a week effectively played on our home court in many ways as the Victorians surged from the first tip-off.
New South Wales proved a challenge to start things off, but in the end the Victorians shone in a 79-65 triumph. The outside shooting of Olivia Pollerd (19 points) shone through in their first clash of the day, as she nailed five threes. Coupled with the strong inside-outside performances from Gemma Potter (19 points, nine rebounds) and Agnes Emma-Nnopu (11 points, nine rebounds) and it proved the perfect combination to take down the NSW contingent.
Putting on an absolute clinic in the night session, the Under-20 Women showcased the absolute arsenal at their disposal in an 86-36 win over Western Australia. Sharing the workload, the likes of Agnes-Emma Nnopu (14 points), Lily Scanlon (13 points) and Jade Melbourne (11 points) ensured the Western Australians would go home empty handed yesterday.
First cab off the rank were the Victorian Under-20 Men in a thrilling 91-99 defeat against the NBA Global Academy. It was a back and forth affair, but in the end the Victorians couldn’t halt the Academy’s prowess across the court.
Zac Triplett (25 points) was on fire – nailing three treys on the trot through the fourth to keep the Victorians in the contest. His hot hand kept the clash alive for Victoria, in league with Kobe Williamson (19 points) as well as Sam Taulapiu (15 points, four steals) coming off the bench.
Returning to the AIS, this time in the Under-20 Men’s team, Triplett flourished and started his final state campaign in emphatic fashion. But for everything we had in the tank, the NBA Global Academy had that little bit more.
Featuring Victorians Dyson Daniels (12 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) and Bol Dengdit, the Academy usually also features Josh Giddey (14 points, 12 assists), but he’s back this week for Victoria and proved potent in his first outing of the 2020 championships.
UNDER-20 A MEN
Starting with a big scalp, The Under-20 A Men took the win 107-91 over New South Wales to commence the championships in the best possible fashion. It began emphatically for the Victorians with a 28-17 first term setting the tone for the morning’s barrage. Kingsley Box (34 points, seven rebounds) stole the show in an impressive debut performance in the Victorian colours. Alongside Brody Nunn (15 points), Kai Daniels (15 points) and David Okwera (14 points), the Victorian A Men let everyone in the competition know they aren’t here to make up numbers. So far so good in that respect for the junior stars who look prepared to upset the rest of the competition this week.
UNDER-20 A WOMEN
Mixed fortunes were served up to the Victorian Under-20 A Women on Wednesday, with an early loss to Queensland turned around in the evening with an emphatic win over South Australia.
The 61-67 defeat to Queensland left room for improvement, in spite of the best efforts of Keeley Evans (13 points, 17 rebounds) – raking in a monster double-double – and Elly Morgan (13 points).
But that was the morning session and the Victorians turned about face to record an impressive 80-71 win over South Australia. Battling to make amends for some wayward shooting in the morning, the Victorians started to hit their threes and force the tempo. Casey Valenti-Paea (18 points, seven rebounds, six assists) was superb across the court and she made the South Australians struggle on defence alongside Kayla Salmons (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Annabel Deerbon (11 points, five assists).
IVOR BURGE WOMEN
Shining across a 111-23 win over South Australia, the Victorian Ivor Burge Women showcased their skills in the best way possible to tip off their Australian Junior Championships campaign. Kaitlin Zonneveld (32 points) was in sublime form from only 16 minutes court-time and alongside Montana Haag-Witherden (18 points, eight rebounds) and Kaitlyn Papworth (18 points, 14 rebounds) were too mighty for the South Australians.
IVOR BURGE MEN
Making light work of the home side, the Victorian Ivor Burge Men excelled in a 121-44 win over ACT. Jake De La Motte (49 points, eight rebounds, five assists, seven steals) stole the show as he returned to the championships in emphatic fashion alongside Nick Cluning (20 points, eight rebounds), Daniel Bell (16 points) and Frazer Dawber (12 points, seven rebounds).