The Aon New Zealand Under 15’s have placed second at the FIBA Oceania Championship in Papua New Guinea. Despite the loss in the final, both the boys and girls have still qualified for the Under 16 Asian Championship next year.
The boys held a 17-point lead during the third quarter, but Australia fought back in the fourth. They would outscore New Zealand 17-5 in the final quarter to run away with the victory. It was a crushing defeat for the boys, especially considering they beat Australia earlier in the tournament and came into the final unbeaten, but they still had a fantastic tournament and have plenty to build off of.
Joshua Book led the scoring for New Zealand with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from three. Tafara Gapare added 12 points with four rebounds and three steals, while Sataan Tawera scored 10. The teams were fairly evenly matched across the board and that makes sense given the close final score.
Australia proved too good for New Zealand on the girls’ side of the draw, claiming a 110-30 victory in the final. The girls were held to just 23.1 per cent shooting from the field and 2-of-18 from three; they also committed 36 turnovers. Melika Samia finished with 12 points and two 3-pointers, and Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu concluded her strong showing at the event with nine points and six rebounds.
The loss in the final stings for each team, but a second-place finish is still a superb effort. They now set their sights on the Asian Championship next year and will be hoping to qualify for the world champs with some success there.
The full box score from the boys’ game can be found HERE, and the box score from the girls’ game is HERE.
- See FIBA’s tournament website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/oceania/u15/2018
- More basketball news at www.nz.basketball
and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook,Twitter, Instagram.