Under 17 Men impressing on tour of China

Under 17 Men impressing on tour of China

The Australian Under 17 Men’s team have ended the first leg of their Chinese tour with a comprehensive victory over Slovenia’s Under 19 national team 75-54 on Monday – a just reward for a strong start to their four-nation tournament.

The 12-strong squad bounced back from narrow defeats against China and the USA to produce a strong performance against the Europeans and record a much-deserved 21-point win.

Isaac Humphries was the standout for the Australians, posting a team-high 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Dejan Vasiljevic continued his outstanding tour with 14 points and Harrison Froling chimed in with 10 points.

Head Coach Mark Watkins could not have been more impressed with his team’s start to the tour, producing a gutsy performance in the opening game against the China Under 19 national team – eventually going down 70-68 in a nail-biter.

The loss was not without a hint of controversy, with the Australians hitting what they thought to be a game-winning three-pointer as time expired only to have the shot waived by the officials.

After more than 30 hours of travel leading into the first game, the Australians came from 20 points down with seven minutes remaining to come within a whisker of snatching an unlikely victory.

Vasiljevic was the standout for the Australian team, posting a game-high 21 points, finding support in Kouant Nai (15 points).

Less than 24 hours later, the Australians faced a team of US college players, going down in a hard-fought contest by just one point 65-64 on Sunday. Fresh from their strong finish against China, the Australians raced to a 21-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The USA team quickly got themselves back into the contest, but still had to overcome a six-point deficit heading into the final period to carve out the win. Vasiljevic led the scorers with 14 points, while Thomas Wilson and Humphries had 9 points each.

The next stop on the tour is Meizhou in the Guangong Province, with the Australians to again suit up against China on Thursday.