U17 OCEANIA GOLD MEDALS FOR AUSTRALIAN CROCS AND SAPPHIRES

U17 OCEANIA GOLD MEDALS FOR AUSTRALIAN CROCS AND SAPPHIRES

The Australian Crocs and Sapphires have finished the Under-17 Oceania Championships unbeaten, defeating New Zealand in their respective Grand Finals to claim the gold medals.

Sapphires vs. New Zealand

For the first time in the tournament, the Sapphires found themselves trailing as New Zealand began the game with a 12-4 run, hitting six of their first nine shots.

Isabelle Bourne utilised her height advantage under the rim to bring the Aussies into the game before Chelsea D'Angelo (18 points, 11 rebounds, six steals) came off the bench to match the opposition's intensity, tallying eight points and two steals to trim the margin at quarter-time to one.

It then took two minutes for either side to hit the scoreboard in the second period but Bourne (20 points, seven rebounds) was able to break the deadlock and give Australia the lead.

They held New Zealand scoreless for almost four minutes and then traded three-pointers with Miela Goodchild (17 points, four rebounds, three assists) knocking down a late one while Shyla Heal (13 points, nine boards, four assists) also showed off her impressive step-back to give the Sapphires a seven-point lead at the main break.

Out of half-time, Australia took advantage of their skills in the pick and roll to score consecutive baskets before Goodchild connected again from distance.

They began the third period on an 11-4 run but Charlisse Leger-Walker continued to impose herself at the other end of the floor for NZ, recording a block and ensuring Australia did not have it easy when driving through the paint.

However, Goodchild still found a way as she hooked up with Bourne for an alley-oop and the Sapphires then put the game officially beyond doubt early in the final term as they put together an 8-0 run.

Australia clinched the game 81-60 with seven players on the scoreboard, four in double-figures and every member of the team seeing court time.

Find the full stats here.

Capping off the successful tournament, Goodchild, Bourne and Emma Clarke were named in the All-Star Five while her performance in the gold medal game, not just offensively but defensively against Leger-Walker, earned Heal the Grand Final MVP.

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Watch a replay of the gold medal game below.

Crocs vs. New Zealand

Showcasing the efficient offence which they had displayed throughout this tournament, the Crocs knocked down 6-10 from the field through the first few minutes of the game, including two three-pointers to open up a healthy buffer.

Oscar Oswald brought New Zealand into the contest late in the opening period but Sean MacDonald's (16 points, five steals) hot hand and Samson Froling's (22 points, 13 rebounds) presence in the paint gave Australia an eight-point lead at the first change.

Froling's offensive rebounding helped the Crocs dominate the second chance points and extend their margin in the second term while Kody Stattmann's penetration resulted in numerous free-throws which he converted to give the Crocs a 48-26 edge at half-time.

New Zealand came out with a concerted effort and matched the Aussies through the first four minutes of the third period but they could not maintain that intensity as the Crocs stepped into another gear again.

Stattmann (23 points) got out into transition to keep the scoreboard ticking over and Tyler Robertson (six points, three steals) was able to knock down a couple of three's.

Aiden Krause then became the final member of the Aussies to score, exemplifying the all-round team performance that they had shown throughout the Under-17 Oceania's.

The Crocs went on to claim the gold medal, defeating New Zealand 93-55.

Find the full stats here.

In addition to their gold medal, Stattmann, Froling and MacDonald were named in the All-Star Five with Froling also filling out his trophy cabinet with the Grand Final MVP award.

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Watch a replay of the Crocs' gold medal game below.

The Crocs and Sapphires will now prepare for the Under-18 Asia Championships next year from while the top four teams will qualify for the Under-19 World Cup in 2019.

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