New South Wales brings home gold in Under 18 final

AFTER delivering a strong performance in the final of the 2024 Under-18 Girls National Championship, New South Wales Metro claimed the gold medal by defeating Queensland South by 11 points in Ballarat on Sunday.

The girls tournament had seen several contenders stand up over the course of the week, but that list was trimmed down to just two with the best teams set to lock horns for the ultimate prize.

With nothing to lose, New South Wales opted to back itself from behind the arc, delivering a powerful shooting performance that was too much for Queensland to counter. The latter could not match that kind of efficiency from three-point land, as NSW Metro emerged 72-61 winners.

The win was set up by strong offensive performances from several players, sharing the scoring load and not relying on one player.

New South Wales Metro (71) def. Queensland South (62)

It was a tighytly contested first half, with proceedings tied at the main break, before New South Wales took over in the remaining two quarters, outscoring Queensland 33-22 to get the job done on the big stage.

Although it lost the game, Queensland actually won some of the key statistics of the game, showing just how much New South Wales took its chances, and the importance of the three-point offence in the modern game.

The team from the sunshine state won the rebounding count 53-46 and had eight more attempts from the field, but could not make them count as New South Wales put plenty of pressure on defensively, forcing the opposition into some tough looks.

From three-point land, the victors shot a remarkable 11/24 at 45 per cent, saving their best shooting performance for when it mattered most in the final.

It was an excellent team performance from New South Wales, with a quartet of players in particular standing up. Jessie-May Hall (19 points), Ruby Perkins (17 points, seven rebounds, five assists), Erica Finney (15 points, 5/9 3PT) and Abbey Valance (14 points, 4/8 3PT) were the difference with game-breaking outings.

“We had a bunch of incredible shooters and incredible rebounders, and even the kids that didn’t play much just incredible from the bench supporting,” said NSW coach Tim Hill.

For Queensland South, Prasayas Notoa fought hard to keep her side in the match, almost notching an incredible triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

It capped off an entertaining day of finals after Victoria Metro defeated South Australia Metro in the boys’ final.

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