Under-14 Club Champs: Medals decided in thrilling final day
Here are some of the highlights from the day’s action.
In the shield division, the Kilsyth Cobras (VIC) and the McKinnon Cougars (VIC) vied for the gold medal. The Cougars got off to a fast start, burying three triples to open their scoring account, while the Cobras were slow to respond to the onslaught.
The Cobras defence came to life in the second quarter, they were active in the passing lanes, getting a hand on any errant pass the Cougars left out there. The Cobras defence appeared to frustrate the Cougars and they abandoned their great ball movement from the first quarter, opting instead for low-percentage isolation possessions.
Kilsyth piled on the points in the third quarter and brought themselves within six points of McKinnon heading into the deciding quarter. The Cobras began to put enormous pressure on the Cougars’ interior defence, driving hard into the paint in search of contact. The Cobras looked like they were building momentum but the Cougars put the game out of reach with some great shooting, winning 63-60.
Jude Fountain led McKinnon with 16 points.
The North Bears joined the Cougars and Cobras on the podium as the shield division bronze medalists.
In a game worthy of the championship gold medal, Hawthorn Magic (VIC) met the Hills Hornets (NSW) on centre court.
Nerves were on display early in the first quarter. Some easy shots were missed and some basic errors were made by both teams.
After a jittery introduction, the Magic and Hornets began to settle into their respective grooves. The Hornets zipped the ball around the court, maximising the speed of their guards in transition. The Magic did well to recover defensively and made sure every Hornet basket was earned, while returning the favour with their offensive opportunities.
The fourth quarter was a real arm wrestle. The Magic were able to get their noses in front thanks to some great slashing drives, only for the Hornets’ to muscle in a basket to tie the game.
The final minute of the fourth was glorious chaos.
Both teams went toe-to-toe, each having chances to land the knockout blow only for the other team to swing back. With 0.2 seconds left on the clock, the game was tied 47-47 with Magic in possession of the ball. The Magic were able to tip the ball in off an inbound pass, but after a discussion between the referees, the points were waved off after the shot was deemed to have not got off in time.
The Magic were the first to take the lead in overtime, but, as had become a persistent pattern, the Hornets quickly tied. Hills then took the lead thanks to a fearless drive from Ashton Pahanel, and summoning the last of their energy, the Hornets were able to get some clutch offensive boards and clawed their way over the finish line, winning 52-49.
Bailey Thom finished with 25 points.
Earlier in the day, the Northside Wizards defeated Southern District Spartans to win the championship division bronze medal.
The girls’ gold medal games began with a shield division showdown between the Mackay Meteorettes (QLD) and the Hills Hornets (NSW). The Hornets looked like the stronger team early in the first quarter. Their defence shut down the Meteorettes on their very first offensive possession, forcing a shot-clock violation. Hills’ defence remained strong but Mackay was more efficient, enabling them to take an early lead in the early stages.
Mackay really began to pull away in the second quarter. The Meteorettes applied intense full-court pressure and the Hornets structure began to crumble.The Hornets had a good scoring patch in the third quarter, but couldn’t stem the tide of Mackay points at the other end.
In the end, the Meteorettes were able to register a comfortable 56-38 win. Claire Fraser stared with 18 points.
The two teams were joined on the podium the North Adelaide Rockets.
The Hawthorn Magic (VIC) were again in contention for championship gold when they faced the Melbourne Tigers (VIC).
It was a scrappy game throughout. Points were hard to come by and became worth their weight in gold as the game progressed.
The Tigers got off to a difficult start. They were able to get good looks at the basket but were struggled to convert on their easy opportunities. It wasn’t until the last minute of the first quarter that they finally hit the scoreboard.
The Magic went through a cold patch of their own in the second period. The Tigers took advantage of the moment and went on a 5-0 run to bring themselves within three points of Hawthorn at halftime.
The difficulties came back in a big way for the Tigers in the third period. They were unable to score for the entire quarter. Meanwhile, the Magic kept creeping ahead.
The Tigers eventually found some rhythm in the fourth, but by that point, the damage was already done and the Magic won 44-26. Georgia McBean led Hawthorn with 18 points.
2018 champions, the Gold Coast wave took the bronze medal.
For final scores and standings from day six, check the Daily Dribble here
Saturday witnessed the Under-14 National Club Championships reach its climax. Gold, silver and bronze medals were earned, as the last teams left standing battled it out.
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