The U16 Australian Junior Championships were back with all teams and better than ever in Warwick, Western Australia.
The Championship highlighted some of the immense talent coming through the ranks and offered a glimpse into the future of Australian basketball.
After some tightly contested matches in the group phase, the top teams were ready to face off in the semi-finals on Saturday.
The first semi for the girl’s competition was South Australia Metro up against Victoria Country.
It was a team effort from Vic Country, with three players scoring 12 points each: Sophie Taylor, Indiana De Dios and Grace Larkins.
However, SA proved too strong for the Vic girls, with Lucy Wootton top scoring with 19 points, a double-double from Zahlia Niemann, (14PTS, 13REB) and a handy 18 points from Coco Hodges saw SA get the win (82-57) and advance to the gold medal match.
The second semi saw Vic Metro take on NSW Metro.
A double-double from Vic Metro’s Sitaya Fagan (16PTS, 10REB) wasn’t enough to topple NSW, with Jessie-May Hall having a prolific performance with 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead her team to a 72-53 victory.
In the boy’s competition, the first semi between reigning champs, Queensland South and hometown, WA Metro was a closer match.
Cyril Mulot had an impressive day out, finishing on 19 points for WA. But the Queensland boys showed why they were the reigning champs and got the job done 76-62, with an impressive 22 points from Indy Cotton.
Finally, Vic Metro took on SA Metro to round out the semis. Sam Hughes was dominant for SA, finishing on a massive 29 points. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Vic Metro, with captain, Harrison Beauchamp putting up a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Leading the Vic team to a solid victory, 91-61.
In the gold medal match between SA Metro and NSW Metro girls, SA led by as much as 7 points at one point in the second quarter and finished the first half up 39-34. But NSW kicked into another gear and proved to be too strong for SA, winning the championship 89-61.
Huge effort from NSW’s Ruby Perkins who finished on 21 points. Jessie-May Hall once again proved why she is the guard to watch, playing 40 minutes and scoring a massive 26 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds, seven steals and three blocks.
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Then, it came down to the last match of the tournament, the grand final between Queensland South and Vic Metro boys. Harrison Beauchamp dropped 24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks to lead Vic Metro to the gold medal.
Vic Metro were up by as much as 24 points, but Queensland fought hard to bring it back. Vic proved to be too strong in the end, prevailing 85-70.
Gold– NSW Metro
Coach: T. Hill
Assistant: M. Monk
Silver– SA Metro
Coach: T. Hilbig
Assistant: S. Turnbull
Bronze– Vic Metro
Coach: J. O’niell
Assistant: H. Ryan
Gold– Vic Metro
Coach: S. Christiansen
Assistant: J. Kieser
Silver– Queensland South
Coach: S. Carroll
Assistant: M. Devitt
Bronze– WA Metro
Coach: B. Ramsay
Assistant: M. Van Lit