Winning start for U16s
New Zealand opened its account at the Australian U16 Championship with convincing wins for both the girls and boys at Tamworth on Saturday.
NZ U16 Girls, coached by Sue Pene, overwhelmed West Australia 24-5 in the second quarter en route to a 71-33 victory. They pressured their opponents into 40 turnovers and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds to create 33 more scoring opportunities from the field.
Waitakere West Auckland’s Maia Wilson and Tauranga City’s Kelcy Ballantyne led the Kiwis’ scoring effort with 12 points each, while Connie Poletti of New Plymouth dominated the boards with 13 rebounds, including eight at the offensive end.
They face Victoria Country in the next round on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, the NZ U16 Boys reeled off 18 unanswered points in the first and second quarters to take control of their encounter with Australian Capital Territory. They built a 29-point lead soon after halftime, but had to withstand their rival’s spirited second-half comeback to scramble home 79-62.
Waitakere West Auckland’s Reuben Porter starred with a fine 25 points/12 rebounds double double, while Waikato’s Nikau McCullough had 14 points. ACT actually enjoyed a possession advantage and had more field goal attempts, but couldn’t match the Kiwis’ 58% conversation rate.
Coached by Blake Moore, New Zealand scored 68 of their points inside the paint and couldn’t connect from the three-point arc.
The boys face Victoria Metro, also on Sunday morning.
Australian U16 Championships
Tamworth, New South Wales
New Zealand 79 (Reuben Porter 25, Nikau McCullough 14, Liam Stanley-Tasi 12, Matthew Freeman 10) Australian Capital Territory 62
HT 43-16 (22-5)
Q3 61-42 (18-26)
FT 79-62 (18-20)
New Zealand 71 (Kelcy Ballantyne 12, Maia Wilson 12, Georgia Perrott-Hunt 10) West Australia Country 33
HT 38-17 (24-4)
Q3 51-25 (13-8)
FT 71-33 (20-8)