AUSTRALIAN UNDER-20 AND IVOR BURGE CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 2 REVIEW UNDER-20 WOMEN It was a tough day at the office for our Under-20 Women… but at the same time it…
AUSTRALIAN UNDER-20 AND IVOR BURGE CHAMPIONSHIPS – DAY 2 REVIEW
It was a tough day at the office for our Under-20 Women… but at the same time it was extremely impressive to watch a side relish those challenges.
They claimed a comfortable first up win under trying circumstances against Western Australia 91-35.
Chelsea D’Angelo (21 points, seven rebounds) and Steph Gorman (16 points, nine rebounds) did the heavy lifting in the offensive arc while the Victorian trio of Kiera Rowe (five points, 13 rebounds), Kobe King (six points, 10 rebounds) and Madi Puli (seven points, seven rebounds) toiled under the ring. Their job was made all the more difficult after injury forced the roster to reshuffle through the opening game – leaving the Victorians with only nine available players.
But they did what was needed and saved their energy as best they could for the bigger challenge ahead. Court 1, under lights against the old enemy. The Victorian girls had to return to the stadium that night to face their perennial rivals New South Wales Under-20 Women to create a staggering turnaround in a 75-70 overtime victory.
New South Wales, who were playing their first game of the day, had the home-state advantage, the home crowd at their back and the bench cheering fit to burst. Coupled with some exceptional players and fresh legs, it forced the best out of our Victorians.
The Victorians pushed out to a solid lead before the NSW contingent dragged it back in through the second term. From there the fatigue looked like it could win out, as the NSW advantage ballooned to 12 through the third term – but the tenacity and resolve of the group made up for it.
With an altered finals system – giving only the top two teams in the solitary U20 Women’s pool the chance to vie for the national championship – it made every win all the more crucial. One or two losses will be enough to see a side fall out of contention and with this in mind, the Victorians went to work.
Kiera Rowe (eight points, seven rebounds) and Madi Puli (two points, four rebounds) took to their deep defensive tasks once more, doing their utmost in the circumstances to negate NSW’s extremely tall tandem in Laura McSpadden (eight points, 15 rebounds) and Natalia Beaumont (nine points, nine rebounds). Coupled with the all-round threat of Jasmine Simmons (30 points, 10 rebounds) and it made for a huge hurdle for the Victorians just to stay in the clash, let alone fight their way back into it.
The third-term rally came late, but the best shone brightest at the right moments. Jaz Shelley (21 points), Kara Tessari (19 points) and Cassidy Gould (10 points, seven rebounds) led the charge to whittle away the NSW advantage. Chelsea D’Angelo’s (eight points) attack on the basket proved important as NSW fouls started to accumulate.
Tessari’s work from beyond the arc – nailing four-on-six three-point shooting – brought it back near enough to level pegging approaching the dying stages of the clash. It was the sort of game you had to see to believe as Victoria turned around a six-point gap in the last two minutes. With four seconds left in regulation time, trailing 60-61, Shelley made the match-defining steal as Cassidy Gould flew up the court, earned the free throws and levelled things up to force overtime.
The Victorian lead instantly ballooned in overtime as New South Wales valiantly tried to level things back up, but in the end there was nothing they could do to stop the determined Victorians taking the five-point triumph.
“It was a great effort by the girls – we had a bit of a size mismatch early on but it turned out our small-ball really worked well in our favour and they readjusted to us so that was a good lesson for us that we want to continue to dictate and play the Victorian way,” Victorian coach Katrina Hibbert said. “It doesn’t get any easier- we started with Tassie into Western Australia and then New South Wales and knew they would be tough – it’s their home state and they had a big crowd here, so on to Queensland tomorrow who are on top and another big contender.
“It doesn’t get any easier at 8am to back up an overtime game, but we’ll do our due diligence scout wise.”
There’s no time to savour the victory for the Victorians though as they go headlong into another monumental clash – facing Queensland at 8am today before facing ACT at 6pm for a second double-header day in a row.
Comebacks were on the cards for all our Under-20s as the men discovered earlier in the day against South Australia – turning a 15-point deficit through the second term into an incredible 76-70 win.
In similar circumstances to the women’s match, the men had to find their way back into it the hard way as early foul trouble and the sheer size of the South Australians left them at a disadvantage.
But piece by piece, Victoria slotted together the winning formula and found the right result after a trying 24 hours. After just falling short in their comeback against Western Australia on Wednesday, the Victorians made amends in emphatic fashion.
There were two possible scenarios following the Croweaters’ widening gap – a repeat of the narrow loss to Western Australia on Wednesday, or a thrilling comeback proving Victoria is here to play.
Keli Leaupepe (19 points) was dropping threes for fun and kept the gap under control in league with Tyler Robertson (12 points), Deng Dut (11 points) and Mitch Barry (11 points). It became a frenzied barrage as the third term emphatically went Victoria’s way – 28-9 to be precise – as the tempo shift rattled the South Australians. Forcing 23 turnovers out of South Australia proved telling as Victoria managed to drive home the six-point triumph.
“The 24 hours was trying to get the guys as best prepared as we can physically and from our scout perspective,” Victorian U20 Men’s coach Chris Anstey said. “That’s no secret – all we’ve tried to do is put together a full 40-minute game and they’ve played really well in patches and average in patches.
“Credit to South Australia I thought they shot the ball better than what we thought they would to start the game and probably more credit to our boys for the adjustment they made when they were down 17.
“To be in front at three-quarter-time after that was a huge accomplishment and some of the guys we brought off the bench really drove that home.
“I said to the boys I was proud of the way they fought, proud of the way they stuck to a game-plan we hadn’t practiced at all – cause we had to change it up – and it was a really disciplined second half.”
After finishing their pool in second, behind Western Australia on record, the Victorians will face ACT on Court 4 in the quarter finals from 10am today.
IVOR BURGE WOMEN
Maintaining their fantastic start to the #AusChamps, the Ivor Burge Women sealed a 124-14 win over South Australia. A 41-4 opening term set the stage for the Victorian onslaught, led strongly by Kaitlin Zonneveld (26 points, 16 rebounds), Dani Phillips (24 points, eight rebounds), Kate Leckenby (22 points) and Sam Williver (20 points).
The Victorian side was exciting to watch as they made the ball zipped from defence to offence in the blink of an eye, in a fantastic display of elite Ivor Burge basketball.
IVOR BURGE MEN
Unstoppable in most facets of gameplay yesterday, the Ivor Burge Men racked up another two centuries on the back of sublime performances against Tasmania and Western Australia.
In its closest game yet, the Ivor Burge Men had a 115-70 victory over Tasmania, spearheaded by Jake De La Motte (42 points), Frazer Dawber (16 points), James Myers (13 points) and another monster double-double from Cameron Slacik (13 points, 19 rebounds).
The Ivor Burge Men’s might then turned towards Western Australia in a 172-19 triumph at Central Coast Adventist School. Daniel Bell (32 points), Dawber (28 points, 10 rebounds), De La Motte (27 points), Ryan Briggs (23 points) and Slacik (21 points, 11 rebounds) all notched 20 or more in the complete team performance.