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Basketball: NZ U17 Men defeat Samoa to advance to Oceania Grand Final

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The AON Under 17 Men beat Samoa 95-37 in the semi-final of the FIBA U17 Oceania Championship in New Caledonia on Friday.

Paced by double-doubles from Mac Stodard (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Reihana Maxwell-Topia (11 points and 11 rebounds) plus 16 points (5/11 3PG) from Connor Ngan New Zealand eased to a grand-final showdown with Australia.

The North Harbour duo of Maxwell-Topia and Sean Murphy scored triples to open the scoring but sloppy New Zealand turnovers presented Samoa with some easy scoring opportunities and they were very much in the contest at the first break trailing 21-14.

The Kiwis stepped up the defensive pressure in the second keeping Samoa to just nine points in the period. At the offensive end they were dealing almost exclusively in threes for a time as Ngan, Alex McNaught and Mac Stodard all landed from deep. Cantabrian forward Stodard, returning to something like full after illness kept him side-lined for the first two games, scored 9 points in the frame as New Zealand built a 49-23 lead at half-time.

New Zealand maintained their defensive discipline in the third period but the offense was faltering before a Stodard dunk sparked the Kiwis into action again. Ngan knocked down a couple more threes to take his tally from beyond the arc to five and fellow Auckland guard McNaught made his second triple. Harrry Payne and Stodard joined in the scoring action as the New Zealand lead increased to 75-30 at the three-quarter mark.

On a good perimeter shooting night for the Kiwis Zeke Stallworth dropped a couple of threes as New Zealand cruised to the win in the final quarter. Stallworth was amongst seven New Zealand players that contributed to a collective 14 made threes from 41 attempts at 34%.

The victory also confirms New Zealand’s place at the FIBA Under 18 Asian Championship in 2020 where they will be the Oceania representatives alongside Australia.

New Zealand will meet Australia in the grand final on Saturday (8.00pm) after Australia beat Tahiti in the first semi-final earlier on Friday.

Final Score: New Zealand 95 Samoa 37

NZ 95 - M Stodard 18/10r, C Ngan 16, R Maxwell-Topia 11/11r, S Murphy 10, Z Stallworth 9, H Payne 9, A McNaught 8/7a

Samoa 37 - H Scanlan 14, D Matautia 8

Under 17 Men's Squad:

#0 Alex McNaught

#5 Robbie Coman

#6 Ezrah Vaigafa

#15 Reihana Topia

#12 Mac Stodard

#11 Harrison Payne

#31 Sean Murphy

#43 Fin Lally

#7 Zeke Stallworth

#9 Rishon Royce

#4 Connor Ngan

#24 Campbell Atkinson

The top-two finishers at the FIBA Under 17 Oceania Championship advance to the FIBA Under 18 Asian Championship in 2020, which is the official qualifier to the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup.

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