Spirit of Tasmania on show as Queensland North stunned by comeback

THE UNDER-18 and Kevin Coombs Cup National Championships began over the past few days, and there have been some nail-biting finishes from some of the brightest young talents in the opening matches.

Monday saw Tasmania take on Queensland North in one of the closest finishes to a game as we have seen to start the boys’ tournament.

Tasmania trailed by double-digits at various stages of the match, unable to contain Queensland North’s physically imposing presence in and around the paint. Things looked dire for the team from the Apple Isle, until a dominant finish to the contest ended up being the deciding factor of the match.

Tasmania (95) def. Queensland North (91)

Tasmania clawed its way to victory thanks to a powerful finish, but made it as difficult as possible thanks to a slow start to the match. Queensland North got off to a flyer, forcing the ball inside and using its size advantage to score at the rack and get out to an early lead. Tassie tried to produce similar offence down the other end, but struggled with the interior defence it faced.

The lead stretched out to double-digits, and remained at nine points heading into the final term. Although Tasmania looked better and was firing from behind the arc after a slow start in this department, the tournament’s northernmost team were still able to keep the opposition at arm’s length.

However, Tasmania kicked into gear in the final term, finding cohesion on both ends of the court and erasing the deficit in no time. After tying things up at 82 apiece, Tassie’s momentum continued, taking a six-point lead after Jasper Hay‘s lay-up was successful. Queensland North tried to bring things back at the free throw line, but Jacob Furphy helped seal things for Tasmania with some timely offence at the end of the match, capping off an impressive comeback.

Furphy was the standout player of the match, putting up a massive double-double and having a huge say on the result of the match. He posted numbers of 30 points, 18 rebounds, three assists and four steals in an emphatic display. Shooting 9/14 from the field, the 17-year-old was as impactful as anyone on the court. Also impressing for Tasmania was Oliver Baldock, who had 23 points on 8/16 shooting from the field, splashing home five three-pointers in the process.

On the offensive end for Queensland North, the team was led by the dynamic and damaging duo of Kynan McMahon and Tyson Crees. The pair combined for a 59 of their side’s 91 points, and tormented the defence with their ability to get close to the rim and create good looks, particularly in the first three quarters.

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