The Emus played a strong tournament to finish group play with a perfect 4-0 record, defeating New Caledonia, Samoa, Guam and the Solomon Islands by an average winning margin of 84 points.
Their strong group play, followed by a 78-point Semi-Final defeat over Tahiti, set up a gold medal showdown with New Zealand, where Tanner Krebs blasted 18 points (4-5 from behind the three-point arc) for the Emus, but it was the last second three from reigning Australian Junior Men’s Player of the Year Dejan Vasiljevic that sealed the Emus 84-81 victory.
Abi Akintola (13 points, 3 rebounds) also chipped in solid contributions as the Emus clipped their ticket to the FIBA U19’s Men’s World Championships in Greece next year.
Adam Caporn, Emus Head Coach, praised the unity of the squad throughout the tournament, and identified it as a strength of the team as they enter the next stage of their World Championships preparation.
“This group of impressive young men have stuck together every second of this journey and overcame some really significant challenges,” Caporn said.
“I could not be prouder of them. Credit to New Zealand, who are a very good and very well coached team. That game was a great battle and it was special to share it with this group."
The Gems also cruised through the group stage of the Championships with a perfect 4-0 records with victories against American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Guam by an average winning margin of 106 points, before defeating Tahiti in the Semi-Final to set up a gold medal clash with New Zealand.
Alanna Smith led the way for the Gems in their commanding 98-65 win over the Kiwis with 21 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 steals. She was supported in the scoring by Sydney Uni Flames guard Tahlia Tupaea (18 points, 5 rebounds) and emerging star Centre of Excellence star Anneli Maley (12 points, 17 rebounds) to advance to the FIBA U19’s Women’s World Championships in Russia.
“'It was a very humbling experience to win the qualification series and book a berth to the 2015 world championships,” explained Gems Head Coach Paul Goriss.
“We never take for granted how great it is for us to represent our country at a championship and test ourselves against the best in the world.
“The girls were extremely focused and driven throughout the tournament and the leadership and experience of our group showed throughout some tense times in the final against New Zealand.
“Our focus now is planning and preparation for Russia.”
The Emus became the last of sixteen teams to qualify for the U19’s Men’s World Championships whilst the Gems became the eleventh of sixteen teams to qualify for the U19’s Women’s World Championships.
U19’S FIBA OCEANIA MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS:
Australia 112 dft. New Caledonia 38 – Stats
Australia 130 dft. Samoa 26 – Stats
Australia 103 dft. Solomon Islands 18 – Stats
U19’S FIBA OCEANIA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS:
Australia 104 dft. Papua New Guinea 16 – Stats
Australia 125 dft. New Caledonia 22 – Stats