Matt Mischewski showed that two is worth more than one, over and over again
Expect to see a little tinkering to rosters following the opening round of the 3X3 EXE Premier competition with the Gators and Lincoln Uni, two of the smaller teams in the competition, playing out a hard-fought final with the Gators claiming bragging rights 22-19
The first few games of the competition headed to overtime as teams felt each other out. ‘After the first couple of rounds we sort of realised if we utilise our 3-point shooters a bit more we’d be in better shape, and one game our shooter got double teamed a bit so if we can get that screen and roll to work, we will be better,’ said Gator Barclay Miller following the win.
Lincoln’s John “Buzz” Watson agreed, ‘going from 5 on 5, a little slower paced game, to the next day playing 3×3, a smaller ball and a way faster paced game and took a bit of getting used to.’
But as the tournament wore on it quickly became evident the ability to score in two’s (outside the usual three-point line) would form a winning strategy. ‘It helps having Matty (Mischewski), he’s a good shooter and we play a lot together, we feel we are a good size and balance, as long as we can rebound and box out, we can compete with the bigger teams,’ said Miller.
Canterbury Rams’ big man Brent Fisher led the University of Canterbury to an overtime victory against rivals Lincoln University 16-14 in their opening match, but after losing to Wolverines 17-13 in their second match, and LU beating Wolves 22-15, saw UC miss the cut of the knockout rounds.
It was the same in Pool A with Gators and Atami both losing one game each but going through to the second round on better total points being scored and Checkers, who had had a height advantage over the other two, knocked out and heading home early.
Gators then ran Wolves off the court in the first semi-final while Lincoln’s shooters came to the fore against Atami, with Atami looking to rush LU’s shooters with a number of double team attempts. LU were able to off load and diffuse Atami’s advances to win their semi-final 16-10. ‘I feel like because we have four guys in our team who can shoot the 3 it’s worth a lot more in this format than in 5-5 so I think that helps a lot. Even though we may give up the occasional 1 to a big man like Brent Fisher or something, we can come back and hit a two and if we can keep doing that we will win,’ Buzz added.
After a five-minute break the two sides went head to head in the first of the new competition’s finals to be held here in Christchurch with the Gators superior on both the board and buckets, claiming the round one title 22-19.‘It’s pretty exciting, good to see how we go down the track, but a good start,’ Barclay finished.
The top two teams after eight rounds of competition in the South island conference will both have their trips to Japan paid for. There they will compete in the final tournament, with teams from Korea and Thailand joining them.
Atami 10 Checkers 14
Gators 13 Checkers 12
Atami 22– Gators 21 (OT)
LU 14 UC 16 (OT)
Wolverines 17 UC 13
LU 22 Wolverines 15
Gators 21 Wolverines 13
LU 16 Atami 10
Gators 22 LU 19
Article provided by #WeAreCanterbury