SOARING into Sunday with a fleet of wins across the opening two days, our four Victorian under-16 teams have showcased our might quickly at the Australian Junior Championships.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN GIRLS
A deadest thriller greeted our Metro girls to tip off the championships as they scraped home 49-48 against Queensland South.
To the wire against Queensland South, it was an incredible battle between these two titans but in the end the Victorians proved victorious.
There was nothing in it all game as the both sides aimed to start their campaigns on the strongest possible note. It was deadlocked through the first three terms, setting the scene for the impeccable efforts down the stretch of Tess Heal (16 points), Meg Robinson (11 points) and Charlise Dunn (10 points, 12 rebounds). In a term where points were impossible to attain, Heal’s three cracked the gap open before Dunn’s back-to-back lay-ups extended the margin. In the end Queensland South forced their way back into it and had a shot on the buzzer to win it, but it missed its mark leaving the Victoria Metro girls triumphant.
Its second clash on Friday proved much smoother sailing as the girls knocked over ACT 97-29. Forcing the tempo and clamping down on the ACT offence – with a whopping 28 steals and 12 blocks – the Vic Metro charges put the earlier escape behind them with the comprehensive 68-point triumph. Charlise Dunn (22 points, seven rebounds), Jade Dunne (15 points), Luisa Fakalata (12 points) and a near double-double from Georgia Kitchell (nine points, 11 rebounds) led the Metro charge to cap off day one.
Saturday proved a far happier hunting ground for our VM women as they brushed aside Western Australia Metro 52-37. Georgia Kitchell (14 points, 19 rebounds) latched onto anything near the ring in league with Meg Robinson (11 points, nine rebounds) and Luisa Fakalata (10 points).
VICTORIA COUNTRY BOYS
A superb start to the championships has greeted out Victoria Country under-16 boys as the lads have shone in their opening three clashes. Brushing aside Queensland North, WA Country and Tasmania, the Country crew has put the screws to the competition early as it looks to work its way back into medal contention.
Getting the jump on Queensland North 89-38, the Country boys chucked it around to have everyone notch five-or-more points in the victory. In an all-roster performance, Christian D’Angelo (14 points), Ben Hobbs (12 points, six rebounds) and Jordan Michel (10 points, seven rebounds, five assists) were well on top while Hamish Carey (1eight points, 11 rebounds) reeled in plenty of rebounds.
They started just as strongly on Saturday morning with a 39-point lashing of WA Country. It was another all-around effort from the Country boys as Ben Hobbs (15 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) went close to a triple-double while Dylan McCauley (13 points) and Patrick Burgoyne (12 points) also shone.
Finalising the triumphant start to life on the Sunshine Coast, the Country boys notched a 91-54 win over Tasmania. Patrick Burgoyne (17 points), Christian D’Angelo (13 points, seven rebounds, five assists) and Tonga Matapule Otutaha (13 points, six rebounds) made light work of our southernmost neighbours to complete the trifecta.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN BOYS
Brushing aside Queensland South and South Australia Country, the weekend’s start suited the Vic Metro boys perfectly.
After a nervous wait to tip off on Friday evening, the Metro men wasted no time asserting their dominance with a 76-47 victory over SA Country. Jyelin Moli (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Jerome Pierre (15 points, 10 rebounds) were involved in everything up and down the court. In league with Jeffrey Ofoedu (five points, seven rebounds), the Vic Metro men shone under the ring to start the tournament on the right note.
It only got better from there for our Metro boys as kept the clean-sweep going in an 86-49 win over Queensland South. 19 offensive rebounds, 23 assists and 24 steals highlighted the Victorian dominance as Jack Dammers (19 points), Jyelin Moli (17 points, seven rebounds) and Jerome Pierre (14 points, seven rebounds) stole the show.
VICTORIA COUNTRY GIRLS
The Country girls have started with mixed results following the first two days as they knocked over Western Australia Country 100-57 before a gut-wrenching four-point loss to Queensland North on Saturday afternoon.
The WA Country clash proved a walk in the park for our regional stars as Gemma Simon (18 points), Emirson Devenie (15 points), Paige Price (13 points, eight rebounds) and Piper Dunlop (12 points, 10 rebounds) surged from an even-spread across the board.
It wasn’t – taking on Queensland North star Shaneice Swain (28 points), the best efforts of the Country girls were on show but they fell just short in an four-point epic. Piper Dunlop (18 points, 20 rebounds) was extraordinary as she pushed herself to the brink in the valiant cause. In league with Emirson Devenie (14 points) and bottom-age phenom Dallas Loughridge (eight points), Dunlop led the charge back from a third-quarter deficit. Her efforts pushed Country ahead late in the final term alongside a Meg McCarthy driving lay-up but in the end a pull-up three-pointer from Swain proved the difference.
Basketball Victoria will be at the championships from Sunday afternoon, bringing you all the pictures, videos, interviews and match reports from the final Australian Junior Championships event of the year. Head to our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/BasketballVictoria – and our Twitter – www.twitter.com/Basketball_Vic to find all of our content throughout the week.