Under-14 Club Championships: Quarter-Finals on tap, as pool play nears conclusion

Under-14 Club Championships: Quarter-Finals on tap, as pool play nears conclusion

The pointy end of the 2019 Under-14 National Club Championship nears. Day three saw the 48 teams divided into the championship and shield divisions.

Here are some of the highlights from Wednesday's 31 game slate.

Boys

The Northside Wizards (QLD) and the Willetton Tigers (WA) faced off in the morning for a thrilling Pool CC championship division game. The Wizards came into the game with an undefeated 3-0 record, while the Tigers entered the contest with a 2-1 record, following a loss to the Dandenong Rangers on Monday.

It was a tense game of basketball between two teams with attack first, ask questions later mindsets. The Tigers unleashed their shooters and rained down a hail of threes, making an incredible 13 triples for the game. The Wizards, however, took a different approach, opting instead to drive hard into the paint and look to draw contact.

The two teams went back and forth, setting up each quarter as a thrilling arm wrestle for control. When it looked like the Wizards were pulling away, Dylan Jorre De St Jorre and Nicholus Lahiri would halt their momentum with long range bombs, and when it looked like the Tigers were gaining the ascendancy, LeBron Brooks would explode to the basket for a slashing layup.

In the end, the Wizards relentless attack in the paint proved too much for the Tigers to withstand and they scraped past Willetton, 63-62. Lebron Brooks finished with 25 points.

The Geelong Supercats (VIC) and the Perry Lakes Hawks (WA) met for a thriller in Pool HH of the shield division. It was a fast-paced game early on with both teams scoring quickly and often. The Supercats once again showed off their long-range shooting, as their slick ball movement generated open looks.

However, the Hawks wouldn’t go away. Near the start of the second half they went on a 5-0 run, and shortly after took the lead. The Hawks defence soon began to make life more difficult for Geelong. They tightened up their presence on the perimeter and were active in the passing lanes, forcing turnovers that they were able to score off.

The Supercats weren’t to be denied, and their shooters started to find open looks, propelling Geelong right back into the contest. However, in the fourth period holes began to appear in the Supercats’ interior defence and the Hawks had great success scoring in the paint, eventually winning an absolute thriller, 65-63. Nicholas Worley led the Hawks with 24 points.

Girls

The Joondalup Wolves (WA) faced the Darwin Cyclones (NT) in the first shield game of Group GG. The Wolves’ hustle shone early as they went after loose balls and battled ferociously on the glass. The Wolves’ size advantage came into effect early on offence, as their guards threw the ball into the post repeatedly, letting their taller players go to work in the paint.

The Cyclones were able to have success of their own by driving to the rim, but due to that size discrepancy they were rarely able to get second chances on their misses. Darwin mixed things up with some outside shooting, but Joondalup's repeated attack down low reaped greater rewards.

The Wolves’ height and length proved to be a persistent thorn in the Cyclones’ side, and the constant threat of a long Wolves’ arm appeared to worry them into some unusual misses. The Wolves eventually cruised to a 73-45 win. Grace Evans’ work under the basket netted her 21 points.

In the championship division, the Nunawading Spectres (VIC) and the Newcastle Hunters (NSW) did battle in front of their passionate fan bases. The Hunters came out firing, throwing a variety of different offensive schemes at the Spectres, as they were able to get the early jump.

Nunawading adapted in the second quarter and pressured the Hunters with an effective full-court press. Their efforts were rewarded with a number of fast-break points on the back of Newcastle turnovers. However, it wasn’t long before the Hunters found their rhythm again, as the Spectres’ pressure began to subside.

Nunawading were able to go on some offensive runs in the third quarter, but the Hunters matched them with offensive bursts of their own, and their active hands yielded a number of openings on the fast-break.

Despite facing a double-digit margin heading into the fourth quarter, the Spectres didn’t relent. They dived after every fifty-fifty possession and fought admirably, but in the end the Hunters were able to win comfortably, 52-41. Saffron Shiels top-scored with 21 points.

For full results from day 3 and a lookahead to tomorrow's schedule, check the daily dribble here