In a hard-fought contest between the Australian Boomers and the New Zealand Tall Blacks in game one of the Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers, the visitors have come out on top defeating the home side, 108-98, for the first time since 2009.
Despite the loss, Boomers Todd Blanchfield led from the front for his team, finishing up with 17 points, six rebounds and one block. Cam Gliddon and captain Nathan Sobey also had strong outings, both scoring 13 points, and grabbing four rebounds. Despite Sobey’s higher turnover tally, he brought experience and leadership to the court amongst the six debutants.
All five Boomers starters scored double digits with 33 points off the bench. From the bench in his debut representing the green and gold, Kyle Adnam closed out the match with 12 points, two rebounds and two assists.
The Tall Blacks, however, were too much for the Boomers to match, with Shea Ili and Reuben Te Rangi both finishing on 21 points and five rebounds. Rob Loe also had an impressive outing, finishing just one rebound short of a double-double (19 points, nine rebounds, two steals and three blocks).
The home side came out strong in the opening quarter, managing to knock down nine points before the visitors even made a bucket. The Boomers would finish the first quarter up 31-27.
At 5:42 in the second quarter, New Zealand managed to take the lead for the first time in the game after Dion Prewster made a pressured layup. New Zealand would hold the lead until halftime, with the score 52-46.
In the third quarter it looked that there was no stopping the Tall Blacks as they continued to maintain nearly a double-digit lead for the first four minutes and maintained a momentum that the Boomers couldn’t match closing out the third in the Kiwi’s favour, 82-73.
However, in a fast paced fourth quarter, Boomer debut Adnam came out in full throttle to control the offensive rhythm for the green and gold.
It would come down to the wire with only a five-point difference in the last minute until Tall Blacks centre Loe made an open shot from beyond the arc which cemented the win for the visitors.
The Boomers will match up against Hong Kong on Sunday at 12:30 (AEST) at Nissan Arena.
Tickets available here.
Australian Boomers – 98 (Sobey 13, Gliddon 13, Adnam 12)
New Zealand Tall Blacks – 108 (Ili 21, Te Rangi 21, Loe 19, Jordan Ngatai 19)