The Australian Boomers secured a win in the first leg of the two-game Oceania Championship last night at the State Sports Centre at Sydney Olympic Park with a 74 to 67 defeat of the New Zealand Tall Blacks, writes FIBA Oceanai Secretary General Steve Smith.
The teams now move to the TSB Arena in Wellington, New Zealand for the second and final game in the series.
The Australians go into that game with one victory and a seven point buffer. They are important numbers after last night’s game.
With the added advantage of a home court and a supportive local crowd, the Tall Blacks could easily turn the table on the Boomers. In that case, with a win apiece, the winning margins will come into consideration in deciding who takes out the Oceania Championship, who gains the trans-Tasman bragging rights, who gets to hold the Ramsay Shield and who gets the Oceania number 1 ranking going into next year’s World Championship.
Because of the outcome of last night’s game, even if they do not win the second game in the series, the Australians would be able to take the total prize pool, with a loss by less than 7 points.
On the other hand, despite losing the first game, the Tall Blacks can make amends and gain a winner-takes-all jackpot if they can secure victory in the second game and prevail over the Boomers by more than 7 points.
In the event that the points difference in game 2 is the same as in game one (7 points), but with victory to the Tall Blacks, it will be necessary to use the FIBA system for breaking a tied game, except in this case, it will be a tied series.
An extra period of five minutes will be played until the points difference is more or less than 7 points. If the Tall Blacks are in the lead at the end of the extra period, but by more than 7 points, they take the series, the Ramsay Shield and the #1 qualification spot. If the Tall Blacks are still leading at the end of extra time but by less than 7 points, all prizes go the Boomers.
If one extra period does not yield a series winner, successive periods of 5 minutes will be played until a clear series champion is known.
These interesting and historic possibilities became possible when organisers decided last year, to respond to a request from Basketball New Zealand and Basketball Australia to each host a round of the Oceania Championships.
In the past, the Championship has been played as three game or sometimes best of three game series, played in either Australia or New Zealand. The new format provides each basketball federation the opportunity to host at least one guaranteed international game in their country each year.
The chance to redeem yourself after a first game loss should add some extra incentive to the coming game between the two friendly neighbours, but intense sporting rivals.
Organisers have decided to use exactly the same competition format for the Oceania Women’s Championship which will get underway in Wellington in just over a week’s time.
With Australian sporting teams falling spectacularly short in Cricket and Rugby in recent days and one of those losses to New Zealand, Boomers supporters will be hoping for a victory in the FIBA Oceania Basketball Championships to restore some national pride and trans-Tasman kudos.