BOTH Victoria Metropolitan teams are one win away from the championship after the semi-finals concluded at the Australian Junior Championships.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN MEN
Taking control of our semi-final quickly and comprehensively, the Vic Metro Men shone against NSW Metro 83-70 to return to the U18 gold medal clash after a one year absence.
Picking apart our northern neighbours’ defence, it was a free-for-all from beyond the arc as Josh Giddey and Mason Perry unleashed. Josh Giddey (23 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists) had a field day while and Mason Perry (10 points) also lit up the perimeter. It wasn’t just our outside presence causing headaches, NSW Metro could only watch our barrage inside unfolded too. Zac Taylor (17 points, eight rebounds) and Paul Tsapatolis (12 points, eight rebounds) crashed the boards and similarly threatened under the offensive basket to keep Vic Metro in the driver’s seat.
The Metro Men will face South Australia Metro in the gold medal clash from 7pm.
Vic Metro player Leyi Adebayo was taken to hospital early in the third term after falling heavily, but has been discharged from hospital with a concussion and a shoulder injury.
VICTORIA METROPOLITAN WOMEN
It takes more than a gutsy effort to roll our Metro Women as NSW Metro found out today in a gruelling 67-55 triumph.
Vic Metro and NSW Metro traded blows throughout the encounter but the game as the Victorians started going long to break through the NSW defence. Our bottom-age stars Luisa Fakalata (nine points) and Charlise Dunn (12 points, 13 rebounds) dropped some critical threes to give breathing space to our Metro crew.
The scoring spread was something to behold as the Metro Women shared the burden to put NSW Metro in the rear-view mirror through Emily Sewell (16 points), Gemma Potter (nine points) and Leia Hanafin (six points, seven assists).
The Metro Women will face Queensland South in the gold medal clash from 5pm.
VICTORIA COUNTRY WOMEN
Our Victoria Country Women will be battling for bronze tomorrow after a gut-wrenching 44-51 loss to Queensland South.
It was a gallant showing from the Country charges all the same as we dug in on every Queensland possession to keep hope alive.
The Country charges were phenomenal defensively, keeping Queensland South contained down the stretch… but our great successes up one end didn’t translate to the other. The ball found a way to trickle off the ring, bounce off the back-board and inevitably fall the other way a few too many times as the scoreboard pressure mounted.
Despite falling behind by 12 points through the third term, the Country Women kept their composure and battled back into the clash. They slashed the margin to six approaching the final term but in the end they were unable to shift momentum. Queensland South hit their shots and at the end of the day it was just too much for us to catch up in the dying minutes.
Paige Price (15 points, six rebounds), Piper Dunlop (six points, eight rebounds) and Jade Melbourne (five points, six rebounds) toiled under the ring defensively for Vic Country and sparked what they could offensively to keep the side motoring along.
Victoria Country will now face NSW Metro in the bronze medal match from 11am at Townsville Stadium.
KEVIN COOMBS CUP
Victoria played their hearts out in an extraordinary semi-final clash against Queensland South Rolling Thunder… but in the end fell short by the narrowest of margins 39-40.
Our junior stars showcased just what it means to wear the Big V as they dug deep to stay in the game under trying circumstances. Teisha Shadwell (11 points, 13 rebounds, six steals) rode the bumps from pillar to post as she brushed aside the Queensland South defence en route to another outstanding double-double.
Jaylen Brown (14 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists) was just as impressive on the stat-sheet while team skipper Campbell Fraser and Izzy Martin (six points) also played out a full-clash and thoroughly impressed with their tenacity and application on defence. All told it was a gallant effort from our new-look Kevin Coombs Cup side and they should be roundly applauded for getting this far with plenty of exciting talent for the future coming through the ranks.
The Victorians set the scene earlier in the day as they knocked over Queensland South Rolling Thunder 50-44. Our KCC charges excelled under the basket, reeling in 45 rebounds as Jaylen Brown (16 points, 15 rebounds), Teisha Shadwell (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Bailey Jankovic (10 points) shone.
The Victoria Kevin Coombs Cup team will face New South Wales in the bronze medal match from 1pm.
VICTORIA COUNTRY MEN
The Vic Country Men are through to the fifth place showdown after knocking over Queensland North 99-90 in overtime.
In a scoring spree Dyson Daniels (25 points, 15 rebounds), Patrick Ryan (21 points, eight rebounds) and Austin McKenzie (21 points, four rebounds) led the charge to take Vic Country through to final day as they returned to form.
They head into the second phase of the Classification 5-8 when the Country Men face Queensland South from 11am.