The New Zealand Under 17’s created history at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Argentina on Sunday morning, beating China 62-57. It was the Kiwis first ever win in the tournament and easily the team’s best performance as China struggled to keep up with New Zealand’s hot shooting. They shot 44.8 percent from the floor and were 7-of-16 from 3-point range.
New Zealand jumped out to a 17-8 lead after the first quarter, and it was their hot start that helped set them up for the remainder of the game.
Mitchell Dance followed up his 30-point performance against Serbia with another fine showing. He finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 35 minutes, shooting 10-of-21 from the field and 2-of-5 from three.
Marvin Williams-Dunn had his best game at the World Cup, totaling 17 points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals on 6-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 from three. Anzac Rissetto added eight points and eight rebounds in his 26 minutes of work.
Head Coach Dave Bublitz was thrilled with the performance.
“The boys started really positively and put them on the back foot early. We never lost the lead, but China clawed it back at the end of the game.
“The team finally got a decent field goal percentage which helped. Marvin’s shooting was massive for us.
“It was on the defensive end where we managed to make a real difference. A real grind that the boys can be proud of,” said Bublitz.
New Zealand was hoping to cause a boilover in the quarter finals, but were smashed 48-88 by eventual runners up France.
France’s length and athleticism were tough to overcome, as they held New Zealand to 30.8 percent shooting from the field and 4-of-19 from three. They also forced 27 turnovers, New Zealand’s highest mark during the tournament.
Kainoa Lepou led the team in scoring with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, while Marvin Williams-Dunn added nine points with two 3-pointers. Anzac Rissetto had another solid game for New Zealand, posting nine points, eight rebounds and two assists on 3-of-5 shooting.
Head Coach Dave Bublitz was pleased with the team’s effort against one of the world’s top squads.
“Our goal was to try and play the game at our pace. We managed to do this for parts of the game. Our consistency and ability to stay disciplined for the full 40 minutes let us down.”
“Keeping a team like France under 90 points was a great effort but we feel it could have been closer to 80. Their length and athletic ability caused problems as we turned the ball over too many times, leading to transition buckets for them,” Bublitz conceded.
Following the French fall, New Zealand battled Serbia in the 9-16th consolation round and were defeated 51-78.
New Zealand remained within striking distance through three quarters, but a 28-12 run by Serbia in the fourth quarter was enough to propel them to victory.
Mitchell Dance was fantastic with 30 points, six rebounds and one steal in 33 minutes, shooting 12-of-25 from the field and 2-of-8 from three.
However New Zealand’s inconsistent shooting held them back from making a real run in this game. They shot just 26.1 per cent from the field and were 6-of-30 (20 per cent) on 3-point attempts. Serbia also enjoyed a significant advantage on the glass, out-rebounding New Zealand 62-34.
Head Coach Dave Bublitz was happy with the team’s defence against the third best team in Europe.
“Defensively we did a great job by limiting them to 76 points. Our bigs got into ️foul trouble and we had no Shalom Broughton.
“Everyone’s ability to put the ball in the basket, except Mitch Dance, was the glaring difference.”
New Zealand lost the 13th-14th playoff 51-73 to the Philippines. New Zealand was strong defensively out-rebounding the Philippines 60-43, but once again were left to rue an inaccurate shooting display. New Zealand only hit 15-of-55 from the field, losing every quarter of the match.
Once again Mitchell Dance produced a noteworthy performance collecting 12 points and 11 rebounds. Shalom Broughton was the only player to score double digits reaching 10 points while Anzac Rissetto was tireless on the boards collecting 12 rebounds, over a quarter of the entire Philippines total.
The tournament was won for the fifth consecutive time by the USA who thrashed France by a record score of 95-52 in the final. Isaiah Stewart headed four US players in double digits by contributing 15 points and nine rebounds. The USA have won 37 games in row stretching back to the inaugural tourney in 2010.
Jalen Green a guard from Fresno, California was named tournament MVP. Green led the USA in scoring with 15.7 points per game while also averaging 2.3 rebounds and over an assist and a block per game. Green scored 25 points in the quarter final and 27 in the final.
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