Australia have put together a stunning performance in the Semi-Final of the 2018 Albert Schweitzer Tournament, defeating Italy 84-51 to book a spot in the gold medal game against host nation Germany.
It was a battle between the second best offence and Australia’s tournament-best defence in the Semi-Final and the Aussies suffocated Italy with a brilliant defensive display.
They won every quarter convincingly, holding Italy to 28% shooting while the competition’s leading scorer, Federico Miaschi tallied half of his average with just 12 points on 4-18 shooting.
The Italians also managed to hit just 20% from beyond the arc as a team and they could never get their offence in gear, trailing by 14 at half-time.
They came out of the main break with a renewed energy but Australia tightened their defensive structures and held the opposition to eight points for the quarter on 2-17 shooting as they clinched an impressive victory.
Aiden Krause (16 points, nine rebounds, two assists, four steals) and Isaiah Lee (nine points, eight boards, two assists, one steal, one block) were active all night with their ability to crash the glass and defend the ball up the court proving vital.
Keli Leaupepe also played some big minutes, collecting three points, two rebounds and two rejections.
At the other end of the floor, Callum Dalton was unstoppable with a game-high 30 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists.
He hurt Italy from all areas of the floor, drilling four three-pointers and shooting 13-22 overall while Alex Ducas (12 points) and Samson Froling (ten points, seven rebounds) were also integral.
Finishing with a +10 advantage in assists, Australia’s slick ball movement could not be contained and their team work has led them to a confirmed position on the podium.
Find the box score here.
Australia now meet host nation Germany in the final at 12.15am AEST early Sunday with Germany the only team to have beaten Australia at the tournament so far.
The Germans are the defending Champions as well but the Aussies have a strong history at the tournament, winning the title in 2010 while also claiming a silver medal in 1998 and bronze medals in 1994 and 2008.
The official Albert Schweitzer Tournament website will stream every game with commentary and you can find links to all games here or here.
Australia’s Schedule for the 2018 Albert Schweitzer Tournament (all times AEST):
April 8 Gold Medal Playoff: Australia vs. Germany at 12.15am