Under-14 Club Championships: Pool play wraps up after high quality day two

Under-14 Club Championships: Pool play wraps up after high quality day two

Day two of the 2019 Under-14 National Club Championships in Ballarat is in the books and the pool stage competition has come to a close, with the teams now divided into the championship and shield divisions.

Here are some of  Oliver Kay's highlights from another jam-packed day.

Boys

The undefeated Dandenong Rangers (VIC) faced the Norths Bears (NSW) looking to seal one of the top spots in Pool B. The first quarter was a low scoring affair, with the defence of both teams dictating terms.

The second quarter was much the same, but the Rangers found some late success with the drive and dish, extending their lead to 24-17, heading into the half.

After a tight and scrappy first half, the game opened up in the third quarter, with both teams looking visibly more relaxed. Ariik Pech gave the Bears some great minutes, relentlessly attacking the paint and working hard for rebounds.

The contest looked like it could go either way heading into the final eight minutes. However, the Rangers fast-break offence began to fire on all cylinders and they ran the Bears off the court, winning 50-40. Ryan Baker was the top scorer for the Rangers, with 18 points.

In the ultra-tough Pool D, the Geelong Supercats (VIC) and the Newcastle Hunters (NSW) took to centre-court to fight for a spot in the championship division. The first quarter was free flowing, as the Hunters slashed to basket and the Supercats let the three-ball fly.

Geelong’s three-point shooting dried up early in the second period, while the Hunters continued to do their damage in the paint, utilising their size advantage to great effect.

The contest remained tight in the third, with both teams refusing to take a backward step. The Hunters appeared to be on the verge of pulling away late in the quarter, but the Supercats shooting propelled them back within striking distance as they tied the game 52-52 heading into the deciding period.

The fourth quarter had multiple lead changes and both teams took turns going on offensive hot streaks. The final minute became a real arm wrestle, but some huge three-point plays from Kingsley Gyesi-Bisah got the rangers over the line, 74-68. Gyesi-Bisah had a monster game, finishing with 37 points, sending his team into the championship division.

Girls

The Sturt Sabres (SA) and the Frankston Blues (VIC), two of the top teams in Pool E, squared off in a physical contest on court four. The Blues were ferocious on the glass early. Their offensive rebounding was outstanding, and it almost seemed as though the Sabres wouldn’t get a chance to touch the ball in the early stages of the game.

The Sabres got some good early chances to get their offensive sets going, but turnovers repeatedly halted their momentum. The Sabres came into the second period looking like a team revitalised, as they went on a 4-0 run. The Blues looked good on offence but couldn’t get their shots to fall and didn’t score a point until two minutes in.

The third quarter was a similar story, but this time it was the Blues who landed the early blow with a 6-0 opening run. The Blues continued to edge ahead of the Sabres, thanks to their athletic efforts on the fast-break.

The Blues were able to continue their hot run of play in the fourth, winning 59-41. Elli Symonds was the leading scorer with 23 points.

The Melbourne Tigers (VIC) cemented their place as one of the teams to watch moving forward, as they capped off a dominant round one campaign with a win over the North Adelaide Rockets.

The tigers took off early, going on an 8-0 run in the first minute of action. Melbourne feasted on the offensive glass, getting a steady stream of second chance opportunities.

The Rockets were able to get their offence clicking in the second half but the damage had already been done and the Tigers cruised to an 85-28 win. Mackenzie Reddrop led Melbourne with 16 points.

For all the results from a jam-packed day two, check the daily dribble here.