The Australian Boomers continued their road towards the 2023 FIBA World Cup, as they took on Kazakhstan to kick off the fifth window of qualifiers on Saturday.
Heading into the game, Australia were undefeated with an 8-0 record.
The Boomers were on fire early in the opener as they took control of the game right away. It saw Kazakhstan struggle to get on top of Australia’s strong offence.
Despite a comeback from the Snow Leopards in the second half, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Boomers who dominated for the majority of the game.
A momentous 47-point win helped the Boomers book a spot in the World Cup next year.
The Inner Sanctum takes a look at the talking points of the game.
Boomers first quarter blitz
Australia’s early lead in the opener went a long way during the game and helped it guarantee a spot at next year’s FIBA World Cup.
Right from the jump, Australia’s defence dominated, holding its opponents to only eight points.
Australia ended the first term with a 31-point lead. Dejan Vasiljevic was among the contributors to the lead, with eight points in the first term.
Todd Blanchfield also shone in the first quarter with five points. Whilst Angus Brandt and Nick Kay also contributed in the first quarter with five points each.
Alex Toohey, Mitch Norton, Jack McVeigh, and Rory Hawke also added scoreboard pressure on Kazakhstan early.
Sam Froling stands out
Sam Froling stood up when it mattered for the Boomers. The 22-year-old was consistent in his 25 minutes of court time. He proved to be critical offensively in the 47-point win.
Froling scored a team and game high 18 points. He finished the game shooting 60 per cent from the field.
Froling also finished with 11 rebounds, two assists, and a steal to his name.
Australia bound for the World Cup
The win against Kazakhstan means that Australia has booked its spot in the World Cup next year.
At present time, Australia is ranked third on the global FIBA world rankings, only behind Spain, and the United States which sit as the top-ranked team.
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Key absences no issue
Despite the absences of both Luke Travers (workload management) and Xavier Cooks (injury) who withdrew from the team, it seemed to have little impact on the team.
Coming in for the injured Cooks was his Sydney Kings counterpart, Jaylin Galloway. The inclusion once again reinforces the talent that continually comes through the ranks of Australian basketball.
While Froling was the player of the match for the Boomers, a look at the stats shows that every player on the squad made some sort of contribution.
Following Froling, the next top scorer for Australia was Dejan Vasilljevic who finished the game with 13 points. Involved in some important passages of play, the 25-year-old also recorded three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes.
Rounding out the Boomers’ top three scorers was Jack McVeigh (two rebounds, one assist) and Angus Brandt (six rebounds, one assist) who both scored 10 points.
Young guns shine on the court
Both Alex Toohey and Rory Hawke impressed on the night against Kazakhstan.
After a big week committing to Gonzaga Bulldogs in the NCAA recently, 18-year-old Toohey was all class. Playing 15 minutes, the sharpshooter scored six points on the night, while also finishing with four rebounds and an assist.
Meanwhile, Hawke played 16 minutes and scored seven points. He also had two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
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