Australia was tested early by New Zealand during a FIBA U15 Oceania Championship Pool A game Wednesday at the University of Guam Calvo Field House in Mangilao but the Aussies held on to beat the Kiwis 100-89.
Both teams entered the game undefeated — something had to give.
Behind a 15-point, first quarter performance from Oscar Goodman, New Zealand dominated Australia and led 31-25 after the first 10 minutes. But the Australians regrouped in the second quarter, outscoring New Zealand 27-8 in the period, taking a 52-39 lead into the halftime break.
In the second quarter, Australia’s defense held New Zealand to just four baskets, while the powerful Aussies dominated inside the paint and behind the 3-point line. Nash Walker and Sam Hughes each drained long-distance buckets from the left wing.
New Zealand cut the lead to 7 points in the third quarter, but that was as close as they got, as Australia began pulling away in the fourth period. A jump shot, then a layup from Australia’s Indy Cotton brought the lead back to 15 points.
Whenever New Zealand cut into the lead, Australia made the buckets down the stretch.
Leading Australia, Dash Daniels and Cotton scored co-team-high 18 points. Teammates Henry Sewell and Harrison Beauchamp each scored 14 points.
For New Zealand, Goodman scored a game-high 22 points. Merrick Rillstone scored 17 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Rounding out New Zealand’s scoring, Ihaka Cate scored 11 points and Lachlan Crate chipped in with 10 points.