Review of the 2019 U16 Australian Junior Basketball Championship Games
Twenty-six teams (13 boys and 13 girls teams) from across Australia travelled to Darwin in July to compete in the U16 Australia Junior Championships, including four Queensland teams. Competition was fierce, but Queensland exploded into action with every team comfortably winning their first game.
Despite a strong showing and several absolutely dominating performances during a gruelling eight (8) days of basketball, Queensland narrowly missed bringing home any medals.
U16 North Queensland Boys – Finished 9th (Wins 4 – Losses 3)
The North Queensland boys had a great start to the tournament, facing off against NSW Metro in the first round. Kane Runnalls lead the team to a 67 – 59 victory, racking up an impressive 22 points and 13 rebounds and denying NSW Metro’s shots four times. Luca Yates provided the X-Factor on the boards, pulling down an impressive 7 offensive rebounds to help his team.
Their next victory came against the NT squad in round 4, where they won with the highest difference in score between two boys’ teams this year. Not only did every Queensland player record 5+ points against NT, but most of the team also scored in double digits. The young Queensland squad controlled the ball with ease, allowing NT to steal the ball only 3 times. When the dust settled, the score was a lopsided 102 – 41.
Unfortunately, the boys were only able to secure two total wins in the pool, placing them fifth on the Pool B ladder. The North squad rallied in the crossover and 9/10 playoff game with two impressive wins against NSW Country and Tasmania, beating the latter by a robust 28 points.
Queensland had complete control on transition against Tasmania, allowing only 4 fast break points while scoring 16 for themselves. Finishing the game 93 – 65 and overcoming their opponents, the Queensland North Boys finished the tournament in 10th position.
- Luca Yates ranked top 3 overall in rebounds and 7th in scoring, averaging a double-double for the tournament.
- Rory Hawke broke top 5 in both points and assists, averaging 16.6 PPG and 3.71
- Reagan Crees had an impressive defensive effort against Tasmania in the semifinals, stealing the ball 4 times.
U16 South Queensland Boys – Finished 5th (Wins 7 – Losses 2)
The South Queensland team entered the tournament with high expectations, delivering a win in their first game against the ACT. Kobe McDowell-White put on a clinic in sharing the ball with 10 assists to go along with 15 points and 8 rebounds to push the South boys past the line.
Queensland built on their win with another victory over SA Metro, comfortably beating them by a dozen points.
The next game they faced the ultimate champions of the tournament, VIC Metro, in a nail-biting overtime thriller. With 32 seconds left, Kobe McDowell-White was able to sink in a long range three, bringing their score within one point of VIC Metro. The game came down to the wire, but Queensland was unable to overcome Vic Metro’s defense.
South Queensland Boys beat the two remaining teams in their pool, enjoying a comfortable double-digit difference in 3 of their 4 victories.
Entering the quarterfinals with confidence, the team encountered VIC Country. Queensland’s Javarne Hunt rebounded a missed VIC Country shot and connects on his first 3-point attempt after running the floor. The score remained close after half time, but our boys faced an uphill battle entering the fourth. Trailing by 6, Queensland’s Geordan Papacostas helped pull his team into overtime for the second time in the tournament against a Victorian team. Both teams started well in overtime and the scores remained locked for the first few minutes.
Shots began to dry up for our boys; however, and they allowed VIC Country to go on a 15 – 2 scoring run. Will Mahoney sparked a comeback attempt and was able to score 5 points in 15 seconds in the final 60 seconds of play. Despite their grit and determination, Queensland finished just short of VIC Country, 71 – 76.
South Queensland Boys began the 5/6 playoff game with a match against NSW Metro, eager for redemption. Papacostas had a big day on the boards, pulling down 16 total rebounds, including 7 offensive rebounds, resulting in Queensland dominating in second chance points. South Queensland boys stood victorious after the final buzzer, with a score of 68 – 56.
Their high-intensity performances throughout the tournament is capped off by a stunning comeback win over SA Country in their final play-off match. Down 12 points at the start of half time, Queensland outscored SA by 13 points to lead by 1 at the end of the third and finished with a final score of 87 – 81 and finished 5th overall.
- Geordan Papacostas led the tournament in average rebounds, with a formidable 13.2 a game.
- Kobe McDowell-White sunk 24 three pointers throughout 8 games, the most out of any other player.
- Queensland led their opponent in second chance points in every win during the tournament.
U16 North Queensland Girls – Finished 11th (Wins 2 – Losses 5)
The North girls began fiercely with a hard-fought win against WA Country in a high scoring affair. Lilly-May Walker led her team to a 79 – 77 victory with a jaw-dropping 38-point performance, the highest individual effort in the tournament. This was helped by a group defensive effort; the girls stole the ball 19 times which resulted in 27 points off turnovers.
Their competitiveness carried over to their next game against the formidable VIC Country, but after a slow start to the first quarter, the Queensland girls were unable to recover.
North Queensland’s next win came in the 11/12 play-off game against WA Country, their second against this team during the tournament. This time, the key to their victory wasn’t just a strong individual performance; every player on the Queensland side had points on the board after 40 minutes. Queensland’s defense was solid as well, allowing only 5 second chance points from WA Country. North Queensland Girls finished their final game against WA Country 63 – 54 and finished 11th overall.
- Paris Santacaterina lead her team in assists, rebounds and steals as well as averaging 9.3 PPG.
- Lily-May Walker’s 38-point game against WA Country gave Queensland the win.
- The North Queensland bench have scored at least 19 points in every game
U16 South Queensland Girls – Finished 7th (Wins 6 – Losses 3)
The most dominant team in the Pool stages, South Queensland Girls came to Darwin to send a message: don’t mess with us.
In their first game against ACT, the Queensland girls had complete control of the ball, blowing out their opponents by 66 points. The ball zipped around the court as every Queensland player got a piece of the action, with most players scoring more than 10 and 25 team assists. The girls shot efficiently across the board, averaging 44% as a team while also holding their opponents to only 10 made field goals.
The South Queensland Girl’s dominance continued into the next game against NT, dropping 143 points while allowing only 39. Transition offence contributed to more than half of their score, notching a total of 73 points on fast breaks.
Their winning streak continued next game against WA Metro, where our girls comfortably won by 21 points. The Queensland South girls were like a runaway train, no one was able to come close to their score in the first 4 rounds.
Their defense was rock solid, only SA Country was able to score more than 60 against them in the first four rounds.
Unfortunately, their streak ended when they came face to face with VIC Metro in the fifth round. Although Queensland’s defense held their opponents to under 70 points, VIC Metro was able to pull ahead. After trailing by only 5 entering the second quarter, Queensland allowed VIC Metro to go on an uninterrupted 18-point run.
Queensland met their match again in the quarterfinals against VIC Country. This time, Queensland was unable to stop VIC Country’s scoring efforts, and allowed the Victorians to notch 80 points. Although Queensland comfortably beat VIC Country in paint points, but the Victorian team made 12 threes shooting at 40% from outside the arc, resulting in a 68 – 80 loss for our girls.
Their next game concluded in another close defeat for the South girls against NSW Country.
Determined to finish strongly, Queensland rallied together for their last game against Tasmania. The Queensland defense once again became a force to be reckoned with, at least 5 players had 2 steals or more. Lil Dart was a standout during this game, hitting 75% of her 3-point attempts and recording 7 steals. After almost doubling Tasmania’s total, finishing 38 – 75, Queensland South Girls finished 7th overall.
- As well as having the highest point differential in wins, the Queensland South Girls team was also awarded the fair play award.
- Lil Dart topped the tournament in average steals (4.6), as well as being top 5 in average assists (3.6), scoring (15.3) and free throws made (30).
- Queensland’s biggest scoring run came against NT girls with 28 unanswered points, their biggest lead was 104 points.