More than 280 of Australia’s best junior basketballers descended upon Brisbane for the last weekend of July to participate in the 2013 National Under 18 Australian Junior Championships which tipped off at NAB Stadium in Auchenflower.
The competition featured 28 teams, 26 boys and girls teams from Australia and two from New Zealand who battled it out to become the best in Oceania.
After 110 games the grand finals were decided with Victoria Metro facing the defending champions New South Wales Metro in the Men’s final and Queensland North taking on Victoria Country in the women‘s final.
NSW Metro reached the final behind the spectacular play of Jonah Bolden, son of NBL Legend Bruce Bolden, who led the way by averaging 18 points and 13 rebounds for the tournament. New South Wales stepped into the game clear favourites after winning the past three titles in a row.
Jonah Bolden, son of NBL Legend Bruce Bolden
Victoria Metro reached the final after a much more evenly based attack having five players who were all scoring between 9 and 11 points per game, Melbourne Tigers players Dejan Vasiljevic (11ppg, 2.4apg), Thomas Wilson and the team’s captain Geremy Mckay (11ppg, 8rpg) being a big part of that Fab Five unit.
As expected NSW came out strong and controlled the first half, opening up a 13 point lead at one stage before a strong comeback by Vic Metro, who closed the gap to be a mere 27-23 NSW lead at halftime.
Vic Metro Captain Geremy McKay (12 points & 10 rebounds) continued to work hard in the 3rd Quarter as Vic Metro went on a 22-11 quarter to hold a slender lead at the last change. Dejan Vasiljevic (15 points & 2 assists) hit a number of clutch baskets, whilst Thomas Wilson (9 points & 11 rebounds) and Joel Smith (13 points & 4 rebounds) rounded out an even attack for Vic Metro which was incredibly hard to stop down the stretch and enabled Vic Metro to gain a 3 point lead with 8 seconds to play. New South Wales had a chance to steal victory with a side ball play that resulted in a 3 point attempt which ultimately missed and ensured that Vic Metro claimed an emotional 63-60 win to claim the title.
Jonah Bolden (21 points & 8 rebounds) and Jaden Weldon (15 points & 3 rebounds) were stand outs for NSW Metro.
“I am unbelievably proud of what we achieved in Brisbane. To come back from 13 points down in the Gold Medal Game was a fantastic effort and proved that the players were playing solid team orientated basketball and would not give in” said Nick Abdicevic, coach of the championship winning Victoria Metro team.
NSW Metro Women who had won the past five national championships in a row were unable to make the final which saw the finest talents from Victoria Country face Queensland North.
In another game which went right down to the wire way three point victors also behind spectacular play from Townsville sisters Alicia and Keely Froling. Keely Froling poured in an impressive 26 points and 18 rebounds whilst Sister Alicia added 17 points and 16 rebounds.
Seventeen year old identical twin sisters Alicia and Keely Froling, come from quite a basketball pedigree. Dad Shane played 271 games in the NBL and was also an Assistant Coach for several years with the Townsville Crocodiles. Mum Jenny is a former AIS basketballer and 4 time WNBL champion. They both made their WNBL debuts with the Townsville Fire earlier in 2012.
Q&A with Alica and Keely Froling
Standouts for runner-up Victoria Country were Gippsland pair Danni Pearce (15 points) and Rachel Antoniadou (12 points) who are representatives for Traralgon and Warragul Basketball Associations respectively.
2013 U18 Australian Junior Championship Grand Final Results
U18 Vic Metro Men defeated NSW Metro Men 63 – 60
U18 Qld North Women defeated Vic Country Women 55 – 52
2013 U18 Vic Metro Men’s Team
Abi Akintola – AIS/Diamond Valley
Lachlan Anthony – Waverley
Geremy McKay – Melbourne
Fraser Pearce – Waverley
Jock Perry – AIS/Melbourne
Joel Smith – Keilor
Marek Toman – Knox
Dejan Vasiljevic – Melbourne
Michael Wearne – Dandenong
Thomas Wilson – Melbourne
2013 U18 Queensland North Women’s Team
Kee’ahn Bin Dol – Townsville
Caitlyn Biondi-Howarth – Townsville
Natalie Bruce – Townsville
Eqxelle Evans – Cairns
Alicia Froling – Townsville
Keely Froling – Townsville
Brittany Fuller – Townsville
Tahnee Guinea – Gladstone
Ainsley Walsh – Townsville
Tiarna Wood – Townsville