It was an admirable performance from the Australians at the first world championship for the U17 age group, with many of the players getting their first taste of basketball on the world stage at the event.
The Australian team stood up in their final game today, but ultimately the tough Serbs would not melt under the Australians’ pressure. The Aussies missed out on fifth place after the Serbians exploded for seven points in the final 2:34 minutes of play to take the win.
Australia’s Daniel Carlin played his best game at the tournament to score a game high 27 points to go with five rebounds and two steals. Mitchell Norton added 10 points but was the only other Australia to score in double figures. Serbia had four players score in double figures, led by Luka Mitrovic with 18 points.
The Australians went on a 6-0 run late in the first quarter to forge a one-point lead, 18-17, with 30 seconds remaining but Serbia converted a free throw and when Aleksandar Cvetkovic stole the ball from Taylor Dyson, he took it in for the layup and a three-point lead for Serbia at the first break, 21-18.
The Australians hung on in the second term but were stone-cold from 3-point territory, going 0-of-9 but nailing 58 percent of attempts inside the arc.
The Aussies were also losing the battle of the boards in the first half, outrebounded 19-14 to give Serbia six-point lead at halftime, 40-34.
The third quarter the Australians dragged themselves back into the contest with a 12-3 run midway through the term to level the scores at 52-all but Serbia got away once again to lead 56-52 at the final break.
In chase mode in the fourth quarter the Australians nailed two quick baskets to get within one point, 58-57, two minutes into the quarter.
Serbia broke away to an eight-point lead but the Australians were not finished; Carlin jammed it home to make it 67-64 to Serbia with 2:34 on the clock but the Australians were unable to score again.
The Australians finished with a four win, four loss record at the championship.
Earlier China survived a one-point thriller against host nation Germany, 65-64, to claim seventh. Still to come Canada will take on Lithuania in the Bronze medal playoff while the fight for the title of World Champion will be contested between the United States and Poland.
Quarter by quarter:
1: SRB 21 AUS 18
H: SRB 40 AUS 34 (19-16)
3: SRB 56 AUS 52 (16-18)
F: SRB 74 AUS 64 (18-12)
SERBIA 74 (L Mitrovic 10, A Cvetkovic 17, N Miljenovic 15) def
AUSTRALIA 64 (D Carlin 27, M Norton 10, J Fryar 8, O Odigie 8)