New Zealand under-18 basketballers settle for silver and Asia Cup qualification
It was a double dose of Australia verse New Zealand in both the girls and boys grand finals of the FIBA under-17 Oceania championships in Guam on Saturday, with Australia walking away with both titles.
Australia beat the New Zealand boys 93-55 in the final in Guam on Saturday and the Australian girls also beat the Kiwis in their final, 81-60.
The results were still enough for both New Zealand teams to qualify for the 2018 FIBA Asia Cup.
Manawatu players Cooper Boyce-Towler, Tama Faamausili and Oscar Oswald are all in the New Zealand boys team, and Palmerston North's Miles Pearce is the coach.
The New Zealand under-17 boys game had a lot to live up to, with both the 2016 and 2015 finals going down to the wire, with both countries claiming one victory each.
Australia was slightly more consistent, which showed on the scoreboard, as they led throughout the game.
Oswald, who scored 20 points in the final, and Kruz Perrott-Hunt, who scored 12, kept the Kiwis within reach.
Australia led 23-15 after the first quarter and then went on a run in the second as New Zealand put themselves under increasing pressure by missing shot after shot.
Finally Wellington's Joseph Ahie managed to step inside the defence for two points, while also drawing a foul for an and 1. That's when Australia's Kody Stattmann seemed to take it personally.
Stattmann, who high scored in this match with 23, went on a personal run of six points and suddenly the Kiwis found themselves trailing by 15.
New Zealand kept looking to the ever reliable Oswald as he managed to etch out a few more points, sneaking around the Aussies wall of defence, but it wasn't enough to bring the Kiwis any comfort and Australia continued to draw out their lead, going into halftime with a 48-26 lead.
New Zealand just could not reliably break through Australia's tall timber and by the time the third quarter ticked down the game was at risk of becoming a blowout with Australia leading 73-39.
The Australians just continued as they had done all game, proving more consistent in winning rebounds, offence and defence, and simply running through their systems.
The Australians never really felt threatened and eased slightly in the fourth as they cruised to victory.
New Zealand beat Samoa 96-58 in the semifinal.
In their pool games New Zealand thrashed the Marshall Islands 125-33, beat Guam 90-78 and whipped Tahiti 106-36.