Rookie Boomers impress in big win over NZ | Ralph Lauren

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There was a lot to like about the green-as-grass Boomers team that thumped a makeshift New Zealand outfit by 81-52 in their 2021 Asia Cup basketball qualifier in Cairns.

A year after New Zealand earned their first win over the Boomers in more than a decade, the Tall Blacks were forced by border and quarantine restrictions to field a squad with 10 uncapped players, all based in Australia, without NBL stars for what was a “home” game.

The Boomers likewise went without NBL players and had an average age of just 19 with the team made up largely of those on scholarship at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.

That set the tone for a fascinating match at Cairns Pop-Up Arena before a near-capacity 1614 crowd on Saturday night.

it was a chance for the young Boomers to show the future is bright and they did that in comprehensively beating a Tall Blacks team well led 37-year-old warrior Mika Vukona, a five-time NBL champion.

The exciting all-round talents of Bendigo’s Dyson Daniels, the hot three-point shooting of Tasmanian Reyne Smith and the impressive athleticism of Perth’s David Okwera were all on show.

Daniels ended with a game-high 23 points, six steals, four assists and three rebounds in a dazzling performance as he showcased high-flying talents, shooting ability and quick hands.

Smith’s shooting was spectacular as he knocked down six three-pointers on his way to 22 points while Okwera finished with 12 points and four rebounds.

Captain Matt Kenyon, 23, finished with six points and 10 rebounds while Taran Armstrong added six points and eight boards.

“I’m very proud and I really thought we dug in and played right. We played together and won the effort areas,” said Boomers coach Adam Caporn, who has worked closely with the Centre of Excellence players.

“Obviously we’re younger but we really brought it and competed so I’m proud of that. Everyone was really thankful for the support we felt from other Boomers, ex-Boomers and the basketball community.

“The boys loved that, it got them up and they were ready. I knew they’d compete but I’m really proud of how we went about it.”

Taine Murray top-scored for the Tall Blacks with 14 points with Houston O’Riley going 4 from 4 from three-point range for 12 points and five assists.


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