18/04/2024

Daniel Johnson was instrumental in both of Australia's wins against New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago. (Image: @NBL - Twitter)

After several of the other Australian 3×3 basketball squads put on impressive performances, the Australian Men’s team did exactly that in their first two matches.

Men’s

Vs Trinidad & Tobago

Coming into the Commonwealth Games, the Australian Men’s team were among one of the favourites to take home the gold medal and they got off to an amazing start making light work of Trinidad and Tobago, winning 21-6 in a strong first performance.

The Aussies were great defensively, holding the Trinidadians and Tobagonians to six points, and restricting them to shooting poorly from the field, shooting three from 12 on one-point attempts and one from seven from two-point range.

The Australian trio of Greg Hire, Daniel Johnson, and Tom Wright started the game and struggled early on before they made a quick substitution swapping Hire for Jesse Wagstaff.

After both teams struggled to score early, Wagstaff opened proceedings, scoring the first three points, before Daniel Johnson scored a two-pointer after an offensive rebound. Australia went on a nine to zero before Steven Lewis scored Trinidad and Tobago’s first point.

The Aussies continued to get what they wanted offensively, with Johnson hitting another two-pointer and when Wagstaff hit another shot from outside the arc, it extend Australia’s lead to 15-4.

Daniel Johnson continued to cause headaches for Trinidad and Tobago, scoring another two points. The game ended with Jesse Wagstaff knocking down a free throw to secure Australia’s first victory of the Commonwealth Games, winning 21-6.

Daniel Johnson was unstoppable offensively, scoring 11 points on 100 per cent efficiency. While Jesse Wagstaff finished the game with eight points, shooting three from five from one-point range and two from three from beyond the arc, along with two rebounds.

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Vs New Zealand

The Australian Men’s team backed up their dominant performance from their first game, defeating Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, 21-11.

In what was a physical and fast-paced game to start with, Australia made substitutions quick and regularly to ensure its players were fresh.

New Zealand guards Richard Rodger and Jayden Bezzant caused havoc for Australia, using their speed consistently to get to the basket. However, on the other end, the Aussies were able to use their size and strength with Daniel Johnson and Jesse Wagstaff taking advantage.

There would have been worries in the Australian camp as it was trailing 6-5 with six minutes to go but a Daniel Johnson two-pointer helped Australia regain the lead and it never looked back from there.

New Zealand shot zero from 10 on two-point attempts, which didn’t help as Australia continued to build its lead.

Daniel Johnson led Australia in scoring with nine points while also grabbing five rebounds. Tom Wright was the team’s x-factor, holding it down defensively and finishing the game with five points and five rebounds.

Greg Hire looked to have injured himself and looked hampered for most of the dying stages of the match. Although he subbed himself out afterwards, the former Perth Wildcat was able to come back on and hit a critical shot.

Australia now sits on top of Group B and will face second-placed England on Monday at 6:10 am AEST. The clash appears to be pivotal with the winner to finish on top of the group and book themselves a spot in the semi-finals.

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