WA Metro Men have been crowned 2021 Australian Under-18 Champions following wins in their Gold Medal matches played at Eagle Stadium in Werribee (Victoria) on Saturday.
After the 2020 event was cancelled due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, 26 teams featuring the countries best young men’s and women’s basketball talent from across the nation eagerly converged on this year’s Championships.
Men’s Final – QLD North vs WA Metro
Perhaps an unlikely final heading into the Championships and after both teams finished third in their respective pools, but both QLD North and WA Metro secured their place in the big dance after a stunning run of results during the second half of the tournament.
WA Metro got off to a flyer, leading 8-2 after just three minutes and continued their ascendancy midway through the term, extending their lead to 11-points, 18-7.
Rory Hawke continued his excellent Championships and exerted his influence at both ends of the court for QLD North, helping his team to within five points at quarter-time.
With the score 18-13 at the start of the second, it didn’t take long for the Western Australian outfit to pull their lead back out to ten. But thanks to some silky link-up play between Jaylon Beecroft and Kane Runnalls, the deficit was cut to six after three minutes in the term.
As the quarter went on, WA pairing Thomas Gerovich and Ben Henshall turned things up a notch with a series of strong scores from both inside and outside of the arc, combining for a first half contribution of 21 points to help their side to a 35-25 lead at the main break.
On the back of Hawke and Luca Yates, QLD North levelled the scores 50-all with seconds remaining in the third quarter but a clutch 3-pointer by Gerovich on the buzzer meant WA took the lead into the last ten minutes of the tournament.
Henshall came out firing in the final term with five quick points, and was joined by teammate Ethan Elliott in helping their side go on a 12-2 run and a 65-52 lead.
While they never gave up, it was a margin that QLD North couldn’t claw back, with WA Metro claiming the 2021 Championship, 76-62.
WA Metro – 76
Ben Henshall – 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steels
Thomas Gerovich – 18 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steels
Ethan Elliott – 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steels
QLD North – 62
Rory Hawke – 23 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steel
Luca Yates – 17 points, 8 rebounds
Luc Longley Fair Play Award recipient
WA Metro Women
Basketball Australia would like to extend its gratitude to the Executive Committee and staff at Wyndham Basketball for hosting the 2021 Under-18 Championships and thank the many volunteers for their hard work in the lead-up and throughout the event.
For all tournament results and stats, click HERE.
2021 Australian Under-18 Championships Final Standings:
Place Under-18 Women Under-18 Men 1 SA Metro WA Metro 2 VIC Metro QLD North 3 VIC Country ACT 4 QLD South NSW Metro 5 SA Country VIC Metro 6 NSW Metro SA Metro 7 WA Metro NSW Country 8 NSW Country QLD South 9 WA Country VIC Country 10 Tasmania Northern Territory 11 ACT Tasmania 12 QLD North WA Country 13 Northern Territory SA Country
Photo Credit: Sports In Focus
Article Extract Credit – Basketball Australia