The Australia Emu’s, Basketball Australia’s Junior Men’s team have defeated New Zealand’s Junior Tall Blacks across three straight games at the FIBA Oceania U19 Championships at Porirua this week.
New Zealand kept it reasonably close until half-time, Wellington’s Tom Vodanovich banking a three-pointer just before half time resulted in the Kiwi’s only being down by one point 43-42 despite being down 10 earlier in the game.
From the start of the third quarter however the Aussie’s meant business and the Emu’s held New Zealand scoreless over five long minutes in the third quarter.
The Australian Emus eventually ran away to 93-60 victory, taking home the series and earning a berth in the 2013 FIBA Under 19 World Championships to be held in the Czech Republic. Many of the players involved in the under 19’s squad were on the silver medal winning Australian under 17 team earlier in the year.
Emu forward Dane Pineau led all scorers with 18 points, while Mirko Djeric who is currently looking to earn a roster spot with Serbian club KK Partizan put up 15, including 3/7 from three-point range for the Aussies. For the Kiwis, Andrew Kennerley scored 12 points.
The Junior Tall Blacks were out classed each of the three games against the Australian Emus going down 85-64 in game one and 95-70 in game two.
The Aussies shooting was impressive to say the least in the final game. The team were shooting 67 per cent from the field midway through the second quarter.
In the final quarter the margin grew beyond 30 points and that New Zealand lead, which lasted for all of 10 seconds, seemed a very long time ago.
Best for the Junior Tall Blacks were Andrew Kennerley with 12 points and Ana Haku who provided 10 points and 5 rebounds.
The Australian Emus led a balanced attack with Melbourne Tigers junior player Dane Pineau, who recently committed to attended St Mary’s NCAA program, led all scorers with 18 points (he also had 4 steals and 5 rebounds), Mirko Djeric’s scoring 15 points and 6 assists.
Gerard Martin who plays for The Scots College in New South Wales contributed 11 points and Australian Boomers squad member Dante Exum was impressive also with 10 points, 4 assists and 2 steals to his name at the games conclusion.
The Australian Gems, the under-19 women’s basketball team also defeated their counterparts, the New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns in three straight games, the final game seeing the Aussie trounce the Junior Tall Ferns 83-54. Australia’s Carley Mijovic led finished with game highs with 19 points and 13 rebounds in the final game.