NSW Country’s hopes of winning the Australian under-16 Basketball Championships were ended on Thursday evening when they fell to Vic Country 68-55.
With Claire Hargreaves among the coaches, and with Amelia Raidaveta in the playing squad, hopes were high that the bush girls could progress towards a shot at the title.
But poor shooting plagued them in their ‘Elite Eight’ match-up, and ultimately it proved their downfall.
NSW Country dominated every facet of the game, bar the scoreboard.
They outrebounded their opponents and took more steals but their conversion lacked.
They nailed only 18 of their 57 shots from inside the arc, and only three of 20 three-point attempts for an overall shooting percentage of just 27 per cent.
Compare that to the Vic Country stats, which saw them hit 18 of 34 two-point shots and six of 18 from beyond the three-point line at an overall percentage of 46 per cent and it is easy to see how the game slipped away.
While the squad was disappointed to lose, their overall campaign didn’t end with the defeat.
In fact, it set up an ironic rematch that had plenty of interest for followers of Dubbo basketball.
The side was due to play Queensland South in a battle for fifth and sixth at 5pm (AEST) on Friday.
That meant another chance for Hargreaves and Raidaveta to lock horns with former Dubbo product Neve Tratt.
When the two sides met in the pool matches, NSW Country beat their northern rivals 81-71.