Day 2 of the IWBF AOZ U23 QT promised to show us more about the strength and depth of the more favoured teams.
First up hosts Thailand against Japan. Keen to recover from their poor showing against Iran yesterday, Thailand again came out strong and tested Japan’s defensive structure, drawing the fouls and pushing up Japan’s foul count, going into the bonus situation just over 2 minutes into the quarter, however they failed to capitalise and covert the opportunities they’d created into points. Although Japan’s methodical offense was also precarious early on they led by 7 at the first break. The second quarter both teams struggled to find the net, and the quarter was even. The half time break allowed Japan to regroup and they looked to settle themselves into the quarter at the beginning of the third, pushing out to a 14 point lead, with Thailand’s Pongsakorn Sripirom keeping the scoring ticking over for the hosts and stopping them from falling further behind. The last quarter saw the Thai team give it their all, as they clawed the deficit back to only five on the back of some solid shooting again by Sripirom along with Mongkol Tunsaard. It was thanks to an inspired last fice minutes by Renshi Chokai who rallied for Japan with another 8 points, helping them hold on to the win 56-48.
Chokai (15 points) topscored for Japan and was well supported by Takuya Furusawa (11 points) while for Thailand Sripirom (18 points), Tunsaard (16 points) and Mathee Yenkuan (10 points) were the main contributors. Download the box score
Big things were expected of the Iran and Australia clash, and it didn’t disappoint. Although it was Iran who took the initiative in the first half, as they out ran and out shot the sluggish Australian team. On the back of some strong shooting by Mohammadhassan Sayari, Iran jumped to a 20-9 first quarter lead and then doubled it to go into half time 41-21 ahead. Sayari already notching up 30 points to his name and providing a masterclass on how to make room in the paint and finish off once there. Australia looked to have no answers at this time, however boosted by team captain Tom O’Neil-Thorne, shooting home 19 points in the third quarter, they dragged themselves back into the game to go in to the last break only 13 points in arrears and with the momentum in their favour. The Australians managed to keep Sayari to only two points for the third quarter, and then when he was fouled out mid way through the last quarter the Australians sensed they had a real chance of a comeback.. O’Neil-Thorne continued his scoring streak with another 15 points in the quarter, but the Australians shooting percentage let them down, especially from the foul line, as they fell 4 points short in the end, going down 65-61.
For Iran, Sayari finished with 36 points and had support from Ali Karimi Kerdabadi (10 points) and Reza Eivaz (6 points) while O’Neil-Thorne (38 points) remained the main scorer for Australia he needed more back up than Jontee Brown and Jake Fullwood’s 7 and 6 points, respectively. Download the box score
Game three pitted India against China. After yesterdays’ defeat by Japan, the Chinese wanted to show that they will still play a key role at this tournament. They came out all guns blazing to win the opening quarter 18-2, Zhu Zhencong the major scorer with 10 points. India lifted their defensive work rate in the second quarter, and matched up to the Chinese on the scoreboard, as Augustus Arul scored 6 of his teams’ 8 points for the quarter, China only managing 10. China then put the game beyond doubt with a 24-7 quarter thanks to some clean shooting from Zhu, who added another 14 points to his tally, with all of India’s points coming from the foul line. Once again India tired in the final quarter, as China fine tuned their game plan in readiness for future opponents, running out easy winners, 83-21.
Topscorer for China was Zhu with 31 points with Qin Xulei, Zhu Haiming and Chen Aodi all adding 12 points a piece, while for India Arul finished with 8 points and was supported by Venkatram with 7 points. Download the box score.
The final game of the day matched Japan and Australia, with much interest in how Australia would pick themselves up after their tough game that morning. The game opened very defensively, with Japan pressing and Australia looking to contain in the front court, however it was some wayward passing from Australia that allowed Japan to take advantage to finish the period up by 8. Japan maintained their press in the second quarter, and the defensive pressure started to tell as Australia struggled to find clean passes and in turn missing crucial shots when they did break free. Japan’s Renshi Chokai was again starting to influence the game as he moved into double figure scoring, but a big three point shot from Tom O’Neil-Thorne just before the half time break kept the Aussies in touch, trailing by 12 points at the interval.
Japan dominated the third quarter thanks to an outstanding performance by Chokai both offensively (with 12 points) and defensively as the lead widened to 23 point at three quarter time. Australia rallied in the final term, but was all a little too late Japan were too strong winning by 19 points at the end, 60-41. Chokai finished the game with 20 points and top scorer for Japan, backed up by Furusawa with 10 points as all Japanese players filled the points scored column. Once again O’Neil-Thorne was the leading scorer for Australia with 13 points, while Fullwood and Brown each provided support with 8 points a piece. Download the box score
Australia now face a challenging game against the host nation, Thailand, tomorrow, while both Iran and Japan look to have comfortable games. The final standings could go down to the last game of the day when Thailand and China face off against each other.
Day 2 Scores:
- Japan 56 – 48 Thailand
- Iran 65 – 61 Australia
- India 21 – 83 China
- Australia 41 – 60 Japan
Day 3 Schedule
- 9:30 – China vs Iran
- 11:30 – Australia vs Thailand
- 15:30 – India vs Japan
- 17:30 – Thailand vs China