ECSTASY and agony are two sides of the same coin.
The glory of victory can only be matched by the bittersweet nature of defeat. That flip-side proved the interesting point of yesterday’s action for our four under-18 sides. The lessons learned across that day will contrast starkly to say the least.
VICTORIA COUNTRY WOMEN
It took a buzzer-beater to beat our girls on Wednesday night.
The ecstasy from the NSW Country camp would have been a joy to watch… had their last-second shot not been put up against us in a 59-61 triumph.
After Vic Country women’s frenzied start, sinking them from everywhere, the NSW Country legion began to work their way back into the contest. Through the next 30 minutes it was a brawl for supremacy as neither side backed down from the contest. You could scarcely split them throughout the evening, as body-blows were traded evenly.
Georgia Amoore (19 points) was hitting them from everywhere as she proved hard to guard throughout the clash. Whether hitting the three-ball or slashing to the basket, Amoore certainly took the added responsibility of the 2018 campaign to heart as she embodied country leadership across the evening. Jade Melbourne (16 points, six rebounds) continued her scoring spree as she cut holes in the NSW Country defence at will while Agnes Emma-Nnopu (six points, 12 rebounds, five assists) was almighty in either key as she imposed herself on every rebound, whether she got it or not.
While the final scoreboard didn’t fall our way, there remains plenty to be excited about from this Vic Country roster as they look to defend this title earned in similar gritty, determined, workmanlike fashion in 2017. The Country women will battle a familiar foe on Tuesday evening as the battle-lines shift to SA Metro from 7pm. First versus second, this will be one you have to watch.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN MEN
Back-to-back blowouts left the Metro men in fantastic stead atop Pool A. The rout started first up yesterday with an emphatic 102-38 triumph over ACT. Pressure and the polish to finish the job helped Vic Metro immensely – forcing a 9-28 turnover discrepancy as well as stripping 17 steals to boot. Across a shared workload, the likes of Josh Bannan (17 points), Will Tattersall (16 points, nine rebounds) and Zac Triplett (11 points) had a field day. Kobe Williamson (10 points, 13 rebounds) notched a double-double to lead the Victorians under the ring.
The prospect of the dreaded back-to-back didn’t seem to faze the Victorians as they returned to the Arena later that night and delivered another superb victory – this time a 115-44 victory over SA Country. Blow-out stats can sometimes favour the individual rather than the team, but the impressive thing about this win was Victoria Metro sharing it around; each player had two or more assists. The Victorian crew ripped away 16 steals to lead another suffocating defensive effort in league with forcing SA Country’s 27 turnovers. On the other side of the ball Tattersall (28 points) continued a red-hot start to life in the state jersey alongside Williamson (16 points, nine rebounds), Triplett (15 points, seven rebounds) and Bannan (14 points, seven rebounds).
The boys will return to the court at 7.15pm tonight as they battle Northern Territory.
VICTORIA COUNTRY MEN
Backing up from their incredible one-point triumph over NSW Metro on Sunday night, Victoria Country continued to build momentum with an 84-56 victory over WA Country. Smart defence and steady work on offence won the day for the Victorians as their pressure forced the WA Country error… again and again. It was a strong showing for Broden Collins (17 points, eight rebounds) in league with Liam Herbert (12 points) and Jay Rantall (nine points).
In the midst of the Pool B table at the half way stage of the qualifying round, Vic Country has an important fourth versus third battle against Queensland North from 5pm on the show-court.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN WOMEN
Our girls excelled in a 116-28 win over Northern Territory. It was a complete performance from the high-flying Metro women as they built the walls around the basket to seize every rebound. A staggering 63-rebound performance showcased the might of the Vic Metro women under the ring as NT struggled to match our size or skill throughout the clash. To their credit the NT women toiled in every contest and made the most of the situation, but in the end Victoria Metropolitan showcased its calibre across the court. Sara-Rose Smith (26 points, 16 rebounds) had a field day alongside Abbey Ellis (18 points), Lara Edmanson (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Eliza Hollingsworth (12 points, eight repoints). A tantalising first versus second bout against Queensland South at 3pm will draw plenty of attention in Pool A as the Vic Metro ladies look to extend their unbeaten streak to five.
For all the results and livescores from the #AusChamps, visit the Basketball Australia website.