Coming up against trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, the Rollers dominated the game from start to finish, posting the most convincing win of their tournament – a 94-18 destruction of the Kiwis.
After a series of slow starts in their Champions Cup campaign, the Rollers have become a fast-starting outfit, posting a 21-6 lead over New Zealand at the end of the first quarter. The Rollers continued to post big numbers on the offensive end, but it was their work on the defensive side of the ball that will have Head Coach Ben Ettridge most impressed.
After the first period New Zealand were outscored 73-12 as the Rollers put the clamps on their overwhelmed opponents. Justin Eveson led all scorers with 18 points (added six assists and four rebounds), while Shaun Norris had 17 points and six assists and Bill Latham finished with 12 points and five assists.
The Rollers win was despite not being at full strength as a food virus forced young gun Tom O’Neill-Thorne to watch on from the sidelines. They face the either Malaysia or China in the quarter finals to be played today.
For the Gliders it has been an equally dominant effort through the first five days of the Asia-Oceania Zone Championships, winning all five of their games, with just one more group stage fixture before Thursday’s semi-finals.
It was another commanding display from the Gliders on Monday, easily accounting for host nation Thailand 67-25. It was a bookend performance from the Paralympic Games silver medallists, racing out to a 23-8 lead at the first change, before outscoring their opponents 20-3 in the final quarter to seal the win.
Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy was the standout for the Gliders, posting a game-high 19 points, while Sarah Stewart (!2 points) and Amber Merritt (12 points and 5 rebounds) offered support.
It was a different challenge against a revitalised China, with the Gliders made to fight in a low-scoring, defensive-orientated game. The Gliders claimed a hard-fought 40-36 win over the Chinese, but will remain wary of a potential IWBF Asia-Oceania Zone Championship final meeting on Friday.
For all the latest news and results from the 2013 IWBF Asia-Oceania Zone Championship be sure to visit the BA website at www.basketball.net.au.