Boomers late charge for win over China
Saturday June 9, 2012
The Australian Boomers have fought off a gallant China to clinch Game One of the three-game YouYi Games series, 66-55.
The first term was a physical scrappy affair, with points hard to come by in the early going. China opened proceedings with a pair of free-throws by Wang and a three-pointer from Sun saw China out to an early four-point lead.
From then the Aussies took control of the term, Peter Crawford leading the charge to see the Boomers get out to a seven-point lead. A couple of late buckets by Wang and Guo saw the gap bridged, the Boomers taking a slender two point lead into the quarter time huddle, 19-17.
China secured control of the game early in the second quarter, as the Boomers struggled to find the bottom of the net, scoring only six points in the second period. Consecutive hook shots by veteran big Han and some sharp shooting from range saw China take a seven-point lead into half time.
Although still struggling from the field in the third term, the Boomers put the clamps on China after the break, holding them to just 13 points for the quarter, a large percentage of those coming from the foul line.
The Boomers chipped away at the lead, and when Worthington cleaned up Barlow’s stray three-pointer in the dying seconds for a lay-up, the lead was down to one point going into the three quarter time huddle, setting up for an exciting final term.
The lead changed hands a coupe of times in the early stages of the final quarter before shooting guard Peter Crawford unloaded a barrage of three-point bombs, dropping four of them for the term to see the Boomers out to an 11 point lead with only a couple of minutes left to play.
The Boomers lifted their defensive intensity throughout the fourth quarter, and as China struggled to score, the Boomers made them pay, running away with the 11-point win.
Boomers head coach for the game, Andrej Lemanis said that defense is something that the team prides themselves on and that was the key to today’s big win.
“Whenever you play your first game as a group, there’s always some rust that you need to work through,” said Lemanis.
“I thought our defense stayed solid throughout the game. We gave up some easy looks by giving up dribble penetration, but they are good shooters so I think that’s one of the reasons we closed out so hard... but our defense kept us in the game in the first half when we only had 25 points,” he said.
“I thought in the second half we pushed the ball much better; we had a much better flow to the game. In the first half, we were one-paced and slow, but in the second half we were able to put some speed into the game and get some easy baskets and open it up a little bit by getting some stops and then running the basketball and not allowing China to get set in that zone defense,” he said.
Game Two of the YouYi Games series moves to Albany on Monday night, tip-off at 7pm AWST.
Australian Boomers 66 (Crawford 21, Worthington 11) defeated China 55 (Guo 15, Yue 10)
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