WINS to all four Victorian-based sides has given us a chance to top their pools heading into the final day of the group stage at the Australian Under-16 Junior Championships.
VICTORIA COUNTRY MEN
Keeping their hopes alive to top the pool, Vic Country Men surge home to take a thrilling 73-69 win over WA Metro.
In the match of the day, the Country boys had to find their way back to the front after squandering an earlier lead.
After a horror third term, conceding 9-25, it took everything in the tank to grind out the victory and showcase the never-give-in spirit that is native to all Vic Country teams.
It started on the edges as Coby Burgiell (11 points) and Darcy Jones (19 points) started swishing the treys.
Piece by piece, the tempo changed and allowed Vic Country to set the stage for the comeback.
The workhorses of the post Jack Hrehoresen (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Jamie Bottrell (16 points, five rebounds) outmatched the WA Metro talls and gave them plenty to worry about.
But when the game was in the balance, Darcy Jones had plenty to deliver. His late threes turned the game on its head and forced WA Metro to scramble to keep up. The last few minutes had their headaches, but all told it was the defining performance Vic Country would want four quarters of heading into the finals side of the week.
It was a well-earned win and it leaves Pool B as a fair logjam with Vic Country and NSW Metro on equal footing heading into the final day of pool games. It will be winner takes all though as the two sides battle it out for top seed from 5.30pm today (all times in ACST).
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN WOMEN
Running out yesterday’s double header in emphatic fashion, the Vic Metro Women didn’t take the foot off the pedal in their pair of strong victories over the hosts Northern Territory and NSW Country.
Sharing the success around, Vic Metro took out a 114-36 win over NT as Abbey-Lee Wood (21 points) hammered the three-ball while Tess Heal (20 points, 13 rebounds, six assists), Amy O’Hara (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Ella Mcintyre (13 points, 10 rebounds) shone with double-doubles. Emily Maltezos (eight points, nine assists) just fell short of a double of her own – further highlighting the team chemistry of this impressive Vic Metro group.
They backed up strongly in the evening to best NSW Country 68-42. Showing no signs of fatigue, despite returning to the court for the second time in a day, the Metro girls pushed up the court, unsettled NSW Country with the press and forced the error. On the flip side it was an emphatic shooting performance as well with the girls racking up a 23-7 quarter-time lead. From there it was more of the same strong performance as Tess Heal (17 points, nine rebounds), Ally Marshall (nine points) and Nyadiew Puoch (nine points) led fom the front.
With a 5-0 unblemished record heading into the final clash of the group, all eyes will be on the mega-clash between Vic Metro and fellow undefeated Pool A side Queensland South with the two sides squaring off from 3.30pm.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN MEN
Serving up a little too much of everything, Vic Metro comfortably claimed an 86-61 win over NSW Country. Too many options offensively, too much defensive pressure, too many ways to keep NSW County out of their rhythm. It was a textbook performance from the Vic Metro charges as they flourished from 1-10.
The interior power imposed by Jerome Pierre (16 points, eight rebounds, five steals), AJ Magbegor (12 points, nine rebounds) and David Amum (six points, five rebounds) left NSW Country with a fair few problems, while they were served up just as many issues to deal with on the perimeter from the likes of Beau Tranter (13 points, four rebounds), Jarryd Remy (13 points) and Kristian Ferronato (12 points). It was as emphatic as the dictionary definition as the Vic Metro boys continue their domination of the pool stage here in Darwin.
Running a powerhouse line-up with all 10 players featuring prominently on the final stat-sheet, Vic Metro looks a cut above in Pool A. Sitting atop the pool, Vic Metro has one last challenge in the group as they battle fellow high-flyers SA Metro from 1.30pm.
VICTORIA COUNTRY WOMEN
Clamping Tasmania out of the clash defensively, Vic Country blanketed everything their southern neighbours could muster in a 50-38 win.
The girls snuffed out Tasmania’s interior presence and hassled the opposition on every play. Stripping the ball back, forcing shot-clock violations, creating turnovers and hammering the defensive boards – it was every bit a strong performance in the defensive half for the young charges.
Myah Healey (16 points, 12 rebounds) continued her impressive state team debut campaign, with standout efforts at the coalface rebounding against the Tasmanians and proving just as lethal on offence. Dallas Loughridge (12 points) and Dyani Ananiev (10 points, five rebounds) also stood out on the stat-sheet for Vic Country.
The Vic Country girls remain in the right half of a lopsided Pool B, with SA Metro and NSW Metro right in the mix for top billing heading into the final day of pool stage action. They will face NSW Metro from 3pm on the main court to go for that top spot heading into the quarter finals.