Iran repeated their success at the previous AOZ U23 tournament by defeating Japan in the final game today. Iran got off to a solid start against Japan’s press,  Sayari looking a threat with his height in the key troubling the smaller Japanese. But Japan stuck to to their game plan and a tight first quarter saw only one point separating them at quarter time. Through-out the second and third quarters momentum was with Iran, as Sayari scored at will in the paint and Japan had could not find a response. The Japanese outside shooting which had been so consistent all week finally deserted them as their shooting percentage dropped below 30%. Renshi Chokai did his best to keep Japan in the game, but with only 10 minutes remaining they trailed by 13 points. Iran held their nerve in the final quarter and ran out winners by 16 points, 67-51. Mohammadhassan Sayari causing most of the damage for Iran with 36 points but was well supported by Motjaba Kamali with 16 points, while  Renshi Chokai was the only Japanese player to reach double figures scoring 24 points.

In the earlier Bronze medal game, with not only a bronze medal at stake but a ticket to the U23 World Championships, Thailand leapt out to an eight point lead before Australia found the net, but some determined defence and conversion from the free throw line, Australia to a one point lead into the first break. Thailand struggled in the second period as Australia tightened their press and Tom O’Neil-Thorne found some range with his shooting, pushing the Australian’s lead out to seven points at the half. Sripirom was again holding Thailand together with 17 first half points. Jontee Brown found some outside range in the third quarter hitting 13 points to put Australia in a comfortable 19 point lead with 10 minutes. The final quarter saw Australia hold on for a 73-49 win, the bronze medal and place at the U23 World Championships in Canada later this year. Sripirom led all scorers with 31 points, backed up by teammate Mathee Yenkuan (11 points) while for Australia O’Neil-Thorne (22 points) and Brown (21 points) led the scorers but had good support from Jake Fullwood (16 points).

Final Standings

  1. Iran
  2. Japan
  3. Australia
  4. Thailand
  5. China
  6. India

All Star Five (Pictured below from left to right)

Pongsakorn Sripirom (Thailand), Tom O’Neil-Thorne (Australia), Renshi Chokai (Japan), Rin Kawahara (Japan), Mohammadhassan Sayari (Iran)

Tournament MVP and Top Scorer – Mohammadhassan Sayari (Iran)