The Junior Tall Blacks recently returned from their trip to China playing 9 games in 10 days facing China, Poland and Denmark. The Tall Blacks winning 5 of the 9 match ups in a valuable trip even with four losses.

One game was pushed to overtime and seven of the nine games were decided by 8 points or less. The team learned valuable experience about international basketball and the intensity needed in competition, before heading to Greece at the end of June for the Under 19 FIBA WC.

The trip to China showed the team playing through the tough moments and adversity with success and determination. The Tall Blacks put focus on offensive rebounds, transition and defended mismatches effectively.

The tour highlighted stand out performances from Samuel Mennenga (North Harbour), who is having a great tour; notching up a double-double, winning the rebound game and being NZ top scorer.  Along with Breakers development player Kruz Perrott-Hunt often running the point and getting the team involved.  

Junior Tall Blacks Results 19-29 April 2019:

– 19th April New Zealand 65-73 Denmark
– 20th April New Zealand 74-70 China B
– 21st April New Zealand 76-84 China A
– 23rd April New Zealand 63-60 Poland
– 24th April New Zealand 97-82 Denmark
– 25th April New Zealand 85-92 China A
– 26th April New Zealand 85-71 Poland
– 28th April New Zealand 112-82 Denmark
– 29th April New Zealand 99-105 China A (overtime)

The team will be working hard in the lead up and in preparation for Greece in just under 2 months at the Under 19 FIBA World Cup, with New Zealand playing in a tough Group A selection, coming up against the top two ranked teams in the world – America (1) and Lithuania (2). With just 16 teams qualifying, this is only the second time that the Junior Tall Blacks have qualified and are now ranked 28th in the world.

The Junior Tall Blacks have reason to feel excited, with their recent successes, finishing second both at U17 FIBA Oceania Championship 2017 and at the FIBA Asia Championship 2018.

U19 FIBAWC Tip Off is June 29th when the Tall Blacks have their first game facing America, before facing Senegal on June 30th and Lithuania on July 2nd.  The Tall Blacks have high expectations and aim to upset one of the top two teams to advance further in their campaign.

Written for BBNZ, original story link:

Leon Taylor
Basketball Yeti

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