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Game #161: Shield Bronze Medal- Illawarra Hawks Girls 35 defeated by Southern District Spartans Girls 45
A shot for shot game from the outset, neither team was able to garner a comfortable margin until right at the end with the lead also swaying between both clubs. Illawarra impressed with their outside shooting but the Spartans benefited from their defensive flair and those stops eventually proved the difference down the stretch in a great game from both sides.
Game #162: Championship Play-Off- Kalamunda Eastern Suns Girls 28 defeated by Gold Coast Waves Girls 52
Gold Coast were off and running and leading 12-0 before you could blink. Kalamunda settled themselves before draining consecutive perimeter shots, going on a 12-2 run, and at quarter-time the Waves led 19-14. Gold Coast reapplied their pressure, restricting the Suns to a two-point quarter for a 33-16 half-time lead. Gold Coast’s defence was in overdrive again and Kalamunda, unable to convert under pressure, had another two-point quarter and trailed 42-18 at the last break. Eastern Suns did not lie down and matched it with their Queensland opponents in the final quarter but the Waves, led by Lilly Rotunno (19 points) and Skye Mason (13), rolled to victory.
Game #163: Championship Play-Off- Diamond Valley Eagles Boys 60 defeated Horsham Hornets Boys 56
The Hornets displayed their strong offensive structures in the first half while a couple of defensive stops helped them get into their running game. Diamond Valley never let Horsham get away from them though and began to reel in the margin as the game wore on. Their man-to-man defence worked a treat and their ability to draw fouls on their drives to the lanes proved the difference.
Game #164: Championship Play-Off- Hawthorn Magic Boys 65 defeated Canberra Gunners Boys 39
A clean game saw little fouls called in this contest which made for a fast-paced contest with both clubs having to prove their fitness on the last day of a gruelling tournament. Turnovers proved the scourge for Canberra while their perimeter defence could not contain Hawthorn’s hot long-range shooting with Oliver Dempsey (14 points) leading the way for his team that hit nine three’s.
Game #165: Championship Play-Off- Canberra Capitals Girls 57 defeated by Nunawading Spectres Girls 49
Nunawading edged out Canberra in an overtime thriller to secure ninth place in the Championship Girls division. The Spectres led 14-9 at quarter-time but the Capitals surged back with a late second-quarter run to trim the deficit to 22-21 at the half. A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Lucy Vaughan (12 points) gave the Spectres a 34-27 edge after three quarters but Jasmyn Boutzos (nine) and Abby Solway (15) sparked a Canberra run to level the scores 36-36. Led by point guard Luisa Fakalata (20), Nunawading led 47-43 in the final minute, but baskets by Canberra’s Claudea Andrews and Solway locked it up 47-47 to send the game into overtime. Lexiie Leloudas and Lucy Wales made big buckets in the extra period to steer the Spectres to an eight-point win.
Game #166: Shield Bronze Medal- Townsville Heat Boys 48 defeated by Newcastle Hunters Boys 59
Townsville had the aggression from the outset and played hard right throughout the match but the Hunters’ proved too big in the paint while their offensive rebounds were critical in the victory. With the starters showing some signs of fatigue in the second, Newcastle were then able to look to their bench for a spark as they finished off the Heat to win the Shield bronze.
Game #167: Championship Play-Off- South Adelaide Panthers Girls 31 defeated Sturt Sabres Girls 28
This was a torrid affair from the outset, as both teams used defensive pressure to force errors and create transition opportunities. South Adelaide led 12-8 after one quarter. The Sabres turned the defensive screws early in the second quarter and finished well at the offensive end to take a 21-16 lead at the half. As with the first two quarters, the lead continued to change in a low-scoring third quarter and Sturt led 26-23 heading into the fourth. Maisie Van Der Jeugd (10 points) put South Adelaide in front 27-26 midway through the final period and the Panthers maintained a narrow lead until the final buzzer.
Game #168: Shield Play-Off- Willetton Tigers Girls 71 defeated Darwin Cyclones Girls 48
Darwin impressed at the defensive end early, picking up a couple of steals while their physicality was enough to match it with Willetton. However, foul trouble began to creep up on them and their role players could not keep up the intensity against the Tigers with some nice long-range shooting getting the job done for Willetton.
Game #169: Shield Play-Off- Geraldton Buccaneers Girls 29 defeated by North West Tasmania Girls 42
This was a low-scoring affair and points were at a premium with both teams looking to assert themselves in the paint. Geraldton were effective in the post but fouls began to hurt them and North West, combined with an impressive defensive presence, hit their free-throws when it counted to secure the victory.
Game #170: Championship Play-Off- Townsville Flames Girls 35 defeated by Melbourne Tigers Girls 41
Townsville led 11-7 at quarter-time but a Mali McLeod three-pointer jolted Melbourne to life in the second quarter and the Tigers roared back on a 13-0 run to seize control. Melbourne led 24-17 at half-time then stretched that to 31-21 midway through the third quarter courtesy of baskets by Isabella Hughes, Scarlett Wihongi and Georgia Watkins. The Tigers appeared to be cruising, leading 34-23 at three-quarter time, but the Flames found their spark with a 10-0 run to start the fourth, forcing a Melbourne time out. The Tigers steadied themselves with baskets by Laura Hamilton and Trinity Skenderis and went on to win. Tylah Hooper (10 points) and Watkins (nine) led Melbourne’s scorers, and Chailee Ward (15) and Shaylee Browning (10) contributed the bulk of Townsville’s points.
Game #171: Shield Gold Medal- Southern Tigers Girls 21 defeated by Manly Sea Eagles Girls 46
Both teams looked to have evenly matched starters through the opening of the game and behind a raucous crowd, it looked to be anyone’s to win. Southern Tigers were efficient in the first half offensively but out of the main break, Manly stepped up their pressure and suddenly the Tigers could no longer find any avenues to the basket. Felicity Henderson hit two three-pointers and Millie Prior top-scored with 14 points as the Sea Eagles ran away with the game in the second half. Abby Beeche was inspirational for the Tigers.
Game #172: Championship Play-Off- Sturt Sabres Boys 77 defeated Norths Bears Boys 52
Sturt’s size was always going to be an issue for the undersized Norths, though the Bears’ patience and offensive execution meant that this was going to be a contest. Sturt lifted their defensive intensity, giving them a seven-point lead at the first break. Norths adjusted their ‘D’ to counter the presence of Sturt’s Hans Clieves (20 points) and Aimable Rukundo Ciza Rutayisire (19). That opened up the perimeter, and Keanu Rasmussen (19) and Will Nash (six) hit from down-town to take the Sabres to a 34-20 half-time lead. Norths began the third quarter in full-court pressure, creating opportunities via forced turnovers, cutting Sturt’s lead to five after two minutes. Sturt rallied and Rasmussen supported the bigs to head to the final quarter up 52-43. Sturt were able to work through Norths’ pressure and maintain their lead to the end of a physical fourth period.
Game #173: Shield Play-Off- South Adelaide Panthers Boys 62 defeated Cairns Marlins Boys 47
The Panthers jumped out to an early advantage which would prove decisive as the Marlins could never catch them. Cairns’ passing meant they were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over but South Adelaide were dominant under the rim while their post play could not be contained.
Game #174: Shield Play-Off- North West Tasmania Boys 33 defeated by Joondalup Wolves Boys 58
While North West were able to attack inside and draw fouls, out-scoring their opposition from the charity stripe, Joondalup finished with 15 more field goal makes as their rebounding opened up several chances down the floor. Will French and Tarkyn Whitehouse combined for 16 points but they could not contain the likes of Victor-Gabriel Chadinha whose 15 points led nine Wolves players on the scoreboard.
Game #175: Championship Play-Off- Norwood Flames Boys 59 defeated Willetton Tigers Boys 47
Willetton scorers Blake Nielsen (nine points) and Jett Ng (23) bared their teeth with early three-pointers to give the West Australians a 17-10 lead, forcing Norwood to the bench for a time out. The talk did the trick as the Flames, led by post powerhouse Matthew Thomson, cut the deficit to 19-18 by quarter-time. Thomson, who poured in a game-high 45 points, and team-mate Callum Iseppi (10) dragged the Flames back into the game and by half-time they led 31-28. Thomson knocked down four from four free throws in the last minute of the third term for a 47-40 Norwood lead at the last break. Ng scored underneath then nailed a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 55-47 with three minutes to go but Thomson responded with a basket to push Norwood’s lead back out and secure fifth place.
Game #176: Shield Gold Medal- Southern District Spartans Boys 51 defeated by Coffs Harbour Suns 63
Both teams’ point guards looked to take control of this game but the tempo swung between the clubs. Coffs Harbour were the ones to settle first and that proved important, getting into their running game behind some fast-break opportunities. The Spartans were well drilled at the offensive end too, showcasing their passing to never let the Suns get too far ahead with Tristan Lacy scoring 12 points. Lachlan Mihai got off the leash in the second half though, finally putting Southern Districts away with 21 points, leading four Spartans players in double-figures.
Game #177: Shield Play-Off- Northern Tasmania Tigers Boys 43 defeated Geraldton Buccaneers Boys 34
Northern Tasmania got the jump on the Geraldton, racing to a 7-3 lead at the first break. The Tigers settled into their half-court offence, executed well, and Sejr Deans (17 points) and Joshua Garwood-Besanvalle (15) led all scorers. Northern Tasmania applied defensive pressure, which enabled them to skip ahead by double digits, and their patience at the offensive end meant they entered the main break up 22-8. Geraldton did not give up though as consecutive stops pegged the gap back to nine with five minutes to play. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, they could not continue their run and the Tigers held their nerve to win.
Game #178: Shield Play-Off- Maitland Mustangs Girls 25 defeated by Newcastle Hunters Girls 38
Fittingly, the tournament came to an end for these two clubs in a match-up of the 2016 Under-14 hosts. Maitland had the speed up the floor, using their back court to get the jump on Newcastle but the post-work of the Hunters proved more damaging on the scoreboard while their dominance on the glass meant the Mustangs did not get many second chance opportunities if they missed.
Game #179: Shield Play-Off- NT South Suns Girls 38 defeated by Northern Tasmania Girls 63
Both clubs struggled to get into a rhythm in this game but the see-sawing affair meant that NT South were never truly out of the contest. They were adept at drawing fouls and certainly had the advantage from the free-throw line but once Northern Tasmania got a run on from the field, the margin was finally big enough to be comfortable. 33 points from Lauren Wise was an exceptional end to an impressive tournament.
Game #180: Championship Bronze Medal- Diamond Valley Eagles Girls 52 defeated Hornsby Spiders Girls 45
Hornsby led 8-3 in the opening minutes and 12-10 at the first break as twin towers Alana Goodchild (15 points) and Genevieve Audette (14) combined well inside. Diamond Valley, led by Jade Dunne (13) and Abby Hildebrand (10), responded to level the scores 14-14 and 16-16 before the Spiders steadied and took a 22-18 lead into half-time. Hornsby extended their advantage to 24-18 early in the third but Dunne and Paige Andrews (eight) sparked a 17-2 Eagles run as the Victorians took a 35-26 lead into the final break. The Spiders got no closer than seven in the fourth quarter and the Eagles soared to victory to secure the Championship Bronze Medal, ensuring Victorian clubs filled the top three positions.
Game #181: Shield Play-Off- NT South Suns Boys 54 defeated by Darwin Cyclones Boys 69
These NT cousins were always going to test each other to see who will go home with bragging rights. At the first quarter, Darwin had built an eight-point lead as the game became a foot-race. Deijahnelle Vaha menaced the Darwin defence in the second half, amassing 22 points before the end of the third quarter but the Cyclones’ Bayden Collins (11 points) and Billy Paterson (12) held the fort and the Cyclones led 46-42 at three-quarter time. Vaha fouled out with 3:28 on the clock and the Cyclones took advantage by finishing off the game in style.
Game #182: Championship Bronze Medal- North Adelaide Rockets Boys 66 defeated Knox Raiders Boys 54
Riley Real set the tone for the Rockets early, draining a three-pointer near the end of quarter-time and sparking his side to eight straight points. Ryan Fairchild (16 points) helped Knox respond and the game was tied nearing half-time before another Real three gave the Rockets a slim advantage. Fiston Ipassou (18 points) joined in for North Adelaide in the third term, threatening to blow the game open while Dylan Marshall’s defensive intensity ensured things were tough for the Raiders at both ends. Harry Johnson (14 points) tried desperately to keep Knox in the contest but once the lead jumped out to double-digits, it was too far to come back from. Real capped off his spectacular performance, hitting eight three-pointers for a game-high 27.
Game #183: Championship Gold Medal- Bendigo Braves Girls 46 defeated by Knox Raiders Girls 51
A defensive tussle was finally broken open by Ellie Vlaeminck for Bendigo who was the first player to hit the scoreboard but Knox were able to respond well, leading by as much as eight in the first term with Alannah Chatfield connecting from distance. The Braves were able to regroup to cut the margin to one but the Raiders’ range of offensive weapons began to take their toll as Matilda Hardy and Paige Price joined in. Down by eight nearing three-quarter time, Bendigo had one last run left in them as Madeline Marks and Piper Dunlop (14 points) helped to combine for ten straight points and with 1:45 remaining in the game, the scores were tied. Charlisle Dunn (17 points) broke the drought for Knox and Chatfield (15 points) put the finishing touches on an intense game as Knox finished the tournament undefeated and deserving gold medallists.
Game #184: Championship Gold Medal- Sydney Comets Boys 68 defeated Hills Hornets Boys 50
An all-NSW affair capped off the week in the Boys tournament and the crowd was electric with great support for both clubs. Sydney settled the nerves with a 5-0 run to begin the game but Hills did not let their opposition get too far ahead, keeping the margin at that distance by quarter-time. Mitchell Smith and Eoin Fitzgerald (23 points) combined in the second term to pull the Hornets back to within a point but Jordan Roman was inspirational for the Comets, hitting three three-pointers in the space of two minutes to give his club a healthy advantage. Joshua Gillon and Isaiah Reyes kept up the tempo for the Hornets in the second half but Sydney would not relent behind Angus Ole (13 points) and Ignatius Mitchell (10 points) as they went on to record a strong victory in the gold medal game.