Best for last at Aussie U16s
Tauranga City’s Kelcy Ballantyne has led the New Zealand girls to a victory in their final appearance at the Australian U16 Championships at Tamworth, defeating Queensland North 53-40.
But after trailing into the final quarter, the Kiwis kept their opponents scoreless for the final 8m 56s, rattling on the last 16 points of the game to secure the win. Key to their performance as their edge on the boards, where New Plymouth’s Connie Poletti continued to impress.
Already one of the top rebounders for the tournament, she helped her case with 12 in this encounter, including six at the offensive end.
Ballantyne led all scorers with 14 points (5/7 FG, 4/6 FT), while New Plymouth’s Kayla Manuirirangi had 10 points.
New Zealand finished 4-4 for the tournament and finished in ninth place.
Meanwhile, Waitakere West Auckland’s Rueben Porter had 28 points to guide the NZ boys to a 76-68 win over West Australia Metro and fifth placing.
The two sides were locked together 61-61 with 6m 09s remaining, but the Kiwis scored the next six points to regain momentum over the final stages.
The West Aussies actually created more scoring opportunities from the field, but attempted 26 shots from beyond the arc and converted only 39% overall. By contrast, New Zealand kept it close, taking just five long-range bombs – making one – but utterly dominated the paint, where they enjoyed a 58-24 advantage.
Porter also snatched eight rebounds, while Auckland’s Kane Keil had 14 points/eight boards and Waitakere West Auckland’s Geronimo Doyle chipped in 10 points/seven assists as their team finished 6-2 for the week.
Australian U16 Championships
Tamworth, New South Wales
New Zealand 76 (Reuben Porter 28, Kane Keil 14, Geronimo Doyle 10) West Australia Metro 68
HT 33-35 (10-17)
Q3 58-51 (25-16)
FT 76-68 (18-17)
New Zealand 53 (Kelcy Ballantyne 14, Kayla Manuirirangi 10) Queensland North 40
HT 23-19 (6-12)
Q3 37-38 (14-19)
FT 53-40 (16-2)