Aussie Hoopers dominate night 1 of 3×3 Basketball competitions

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Jake Stevens for Commonwealth Games Australia

 

3×3 Basketball made its Commonwealth Games debut with Aussies squads recording four victories.

 

The Australian 3×3 Basketball teams have made a perfect start on the first day of competition at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, recording four wins from four matches at the Smithfield complex.

The format, which makes its debut at the Commonwealth Games this year, was a hit with the crowd that saw the first pool matches from across both the able-bodied and wheelchair competitions.

In the women’s matchup, the foursome of Alex Wilson, Lauren Mansfield, Lauren Scherf and Marena Whittle were dominant, dismantling Scotland 21-9 before prevailing 21-15 against Kenya.

A late surge by Kenya was thwarted by the Aussies as they switched into overdrive during the final minutes.

In celebration, the crew raised the Aboriginal flag as well as the flag of Alex Wilson’s mob the Ngarrindjeri people of South Australia.

“I’m a proud Ngarrindjeri woman from South Australia and everywhere I go I try to represent my people on the world stage,” Wilson continued.

“I just think it’s great to give visibility to our culture.”

 

 

The team showed great versatility with Wilson earning game MVP against Scotland while Scherf top scored and took honours against Kenya, shooting 8/10 across all shots.

The Australian men’s wheelchair team started their Commonwealth campaign on the right note with an important victory over Canada 13-11.

The quartet of Lachlin Dalton, Luke Pople, Jake Kavanagh and Kurt Thomson held their nerve in their opening clash, prevailing thanks in part to some clutch shooting from Dalton.

A neck and neck battle in the final moments, two 2-pointers from Dalton in the final three minutes was enough to give the Aussies the edge.

“To come out for your country as a team and get a hard fought win – it’s unreal,” Dalton said.

“I was open and if you’re open, don’t hesitate to shoot – that was our plan all along,” he said of his game.

In the women’s wheelchair match, Hannah Dodd, Georgia Inglis, Ella Sabljak and Amber Merritt dismissed Scotland 12-5 in an impressive display.

Merritt was named player of the match, scoring five points in the 10-minute duel. Post-game, she spoke of the game’s dynamic format.

“To be able to come out here, have a bit of fun with my best mates is the best feeling in the world,” Merritt said.

“It’s a very different format, it’s very intense, it’s a shorter game, it’s more physical than what we’re used to but I loved it. We all loved it.”

The Australian men’s able-bodied team open their Games tomorrow against Trinidad and Tobago in the day session, before returning to court to face New Zealand.

Both wheelchair teams play again tomorrow, with the men playing Northern Ireland as the women face South Africa.

 

 

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