AUSSIE GIRLS MAKE INTERNATIONAL FINAL, BOYS FALL TO CANADA IN SEMIS
Semi Final: Asia Pacific v Canada Girls
The Asia Pacific girls had made it through pool play, defeated Africa & Middle East in the Quarter Finals and now it was time for their toughest competition, an undefeated Canadian side.
The Bulleen Boomers were coming off an incredibly hot shooting game and would be looking to continue their exciting playstyle into the Semi-Final, which was kicked off by Ally Marshall from the tip, laying on in and with that scoring the first points of the Jr. NBA Semi Finals.
Asia Pacific Girls’ Emma Koabel spins into a finish! Winner moves on to International Girls Championship. #JrNBAWorldChampionship pic.twitter.com/whswILrcwH
— Jr. NBA (@jrnba) August 11, 2018
Canada would prove to be a tough matchup in the first term, with the commonwealth rivals going shot for shot with the Asia Pacific team, but were able to find their range earlier than the Australians hitting two threes through the quarter while Bulleen opted to follow their game plan and use their size advantage to take more shots inside the paint.
Heading into the first break, a three from Canada’s Emma Koabel would her team up by one point (11-10) over the Asia Pacific side, assisted by two missed shots from the Boomer’s captain Tess Heal.
The second term would turn into a battle from the charity stripe as both teams accumulated fouls, including nine on the Asia Pacific side which would convert into six free points, five of which were hit by Heal.
Scoring from the field would dry up for the Boomers in the second, with only Ella McIntyre and Ally Marshall able to convert from the field while the Canadians outside shot was well protected by the Boomers, limiting the undefeated side to only eight points from the field in the second.
Asia Pacific would continue to trail Canada heading into the main break, with a late two from Marshall bringing the Boomers back to within one point.
Amisyn Leigh would kick off the scoring in the third with the Boomer’s first three pointer of the game, knocking it down from the left-hand wing, adding to the multitude of lead changes that had already occurred.
The flow of the game would continue with Canada and Asia Pacific exchanging baskets and free throws as Koabel from team Canada would prove a tough opposition for the Boomers as she put away six points in the quarter while the Boomers struggled to land a shot, with only Amisyn Leigh able to find her range, burying two more threes.
Canada once again were able to claw back a lead late in the third with Koabel once again putting away her final two buckets of the quarter to give Canada a 36-33 lead heading into the final break.
It would take two and a half minutes for the Boomers to finally catch up to Canada with Emily Maltezos hitting her fist field goal to tie the game before Ally Marshal finally found her range, knocking down eight points in under a minute to give Asia Pacific a lead of seven points, their biggest lead of the game.
Asia Pacific takes the late lead in the Girls International Semifinals! pic.twitter.com/b1CuaoOZtk
— Jr. NBA (@jrnba) August 11, 2018
The Boomers were able to lock down on defence, keeping Canada to only four points from the field in the final term while they continued to hit back on the scoreboard with another six points to close out the Boomer’s eight-point victory.
Ally Marshal was the lynchpin for the Boomers, finishing with 18 points an 10 rebounds, an impressive double-double performance. Ella Mcintyre was one of few Boomers who was able to shoot at a high percentage amongst Canada’s tough defence, hitting five of six twos for her ten points while assisting Marshall close out defensive possession with eight rebounds.
Asia Pacific’s victory meant they would progress to the International Championship, facing the winner of Europe and China.
Asia Pacific Girls move on to the International Girls Finals! #JrNBAWorldChampionship pic.twitter.com/fsTQJPbnfn
— Jr. NBA (@jrnba) August 11, 2018
Semi-Final – Asia Pacific v Eltham Wildcats Boys
After coming off a commanding win over Mexico, the Eltham Wildcats went into their game against Canada with confidence and a belief that they were able to compete with the talented Canadian side.
Asia Pacific began the game on fire, scoring the first eight points of the game unanswered. Zahn Agosta led his team with six of those points, including the first three pointer of the match.
Canada weren’t to be silenced though, working to bring the Wildcat’s lead back to four points midway through the first before a three from sharpshooter Anton Stratov restarted the scoring for Asia Pacific, giving the Australians a six-point lead heading into the first break.
Canada began the second like Asia Pacific did the first, scoring thirteen unanswered points to claw back the lead, as Eltham struggled to hold onto the ball totalling seven turnovers for the quarter.
Five points for the term would prove to be too little for Asia Pacific, as a late basket from Canada’s Rashane Smith would see Eltham trail by four points at half time.
Missed shots were the story of the third for Asia Pacific as they were unable to buy a basket, missing three from deep, along with seven from closer range.
Canada were able to capitalise on the lack of scoring from their opposition, extending their lead to 16 points at three quarter time.
Ten points was the closest Asia Pacific would come to Canada, a three from Brody Glenn helping to provide some momentum, however the talent of the Commonwealth rivals would prove too much as foul trouble plagued the Australians.
Nine made shots from the charity stripe proved to be the difference in the quarter for Canada, as they pulled away from Asia Pacific to complete their victory over Eltham, 63-52.
Zahn Agosta was the standout for Eltham, knocking down two threes for his 15 points, while a double-double from Kristian Ferronato would put an exclamation point on his terrific tournament so far.
Due to missing out on the International Final, the Eltham boys would compete in a ‘Positive Finish’ game where they would face a team from the U.S Pool and were matched up against the Northeast Boys.
It was clear the Asia Pacific boys were up for a little fun after a tough game in the Semi-Final, starting the shortest player in their team, Brody Glenn, in the starting jump.
Asia Pacific Boys Brody Glenn faces off against Northeast Boys Matt Filipowski for the opening tip of their #JrNBAWorldChampionship Positive Finish Game! pic.twitter.com/RnoJBhLAHL
— Jr. NBA (@jrnba) August 11, 2018
The Asia Pacific boys would lead Northeast until midway through the second, until the athletic U.S team were able to convert more opportunities than the Eltham boys to head into half time five points up, 29-24.
Northeast and Asia Pacific traded baskets through the second half, keeping the game close until the U.S side knocked down three from deep in the third quarter, and to extend their lead, with only the Wildcat’s Brad Moorey able to answer the long-range shooting contest.
Going down to the Northeast side by 10 points, 54-44, nearly every Asia Pacific player was able to make an impact on the scoreboard highlights by ten points from Moorey.
International Final – Asia Pacific v Europe Girls
After a hard-fought victory over Canada, the Asia Pacific Girls had another challenge ahead of them. Making it to the International Final, the girls from Bulleen would once again face a Europe side comprised of the best players from across the continent.
After narrowly losing to Europe in pool play, the Bulleen Boomers went into the game confident they could be highly competitive against their talented opposition.
It would take nearly three minutes and six missed shots between the two sides before Europe would initiate the scoring in the Final through scoring machine Raina Tomasicka.
Bulleen’s first points would also come from their own scoring dynamo Ally Marshall who found her first basket inside the paint.
Europe’s defence proved too good for Asia Pacific, with Marshall’s opening score the only for the quarter. The all-star team capitalised on eleven missed shots from the Boomers, converting three field goals of their own, along with three shots from the charity stripe to lead Asia Pacific 9-2 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw a change in momentum for the Boomers, with Ally Marshall and Tess Heal combining for ten points, along with the first three of the game for Asia Pacific, courtesy of Amisyn Leigh.
Asia Pacific was able to use their height advantage to out-rebound Europe 8-4 in the second period, helping to shift the game back into the favour of the Australians.
Scoring the first nine points of the quarter, the Boomers were able to claw back a narrow lead before Europe was able to reply with five points late in the quarter to bring the game back to a one-point difference to end the quarter, 16-15.
The main break proved to be detrimental to the Asia Pacific Girls as Europe scoring the first five points of the third to regain their lead before Sarah Calvisi was able to stem the flow with her first points of the game.
Europe’s stream of scoring was only briefly halted before they were able to once again make a serious impact on the scoreboard, piling on ten more points to Bulleen’s seven with Calvisi’s late three bringing Europe’s lead back to only seven, until Europe was able to make an impact on the offensive end, turning missed shots into second opportunities which they wouldn’t miss again.
A nine-point deficit to start the fourth would not deter the Bulleen Boomers as they were able to score eight quick points, led by their Captain who hit two threes to cut Europes lead back to only four points.
This would be as close as Asia Pacific came to Europe as the two sides traded baskets as the clock continued to be the worst enemy for the Boomers as their run came too late, with Europe coming away with a victory, after being challenge the entire way through the game.
Once again Ally Marshall was the standout for Asia Pacific, totalling 17 points, along with five rebounds. Captain Tess Heal had the green light through the game and was able to convert for 15 points and had an impressive eight rebounds.
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