Youth international basketball preparation for the Australian Institute of Sport basketball in France

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) youth international basketball tour of Europe started with five games in Italy.

They lost the first two games but left Italy on a high with three victories.

The AIS is the equivalent of INSEP in France.

Although Australia are using this trip as preparation for the U19 World Championship, this tour party was only made up of players from the AIS.

For those who followed the Australian trip last summer there were eight familiar names on the roster:

Kelsey Ireland, Bree Farley, Stephanie Cumming, Rachel Jarry, Tess Magden, Alice Kunek, Georgia Minnear and Gretel Tippett.

All these players were members of the Australian Gem that won the 2008 edition of the U 18 Fougères youth international basketball tournament.

CFBB no match for AIS

 AIS 2009 Basketball at the home of the CFBB © FFBB

Their first match in France was against the CFBB.

The AIS had a slight advantage as they have some players who are in the 1990 age group in the roster while the oldest players in the CFBB are born in 1991.

The CFBB lost to the Canadian NEDA in March and continued their losing streak as they lost to the AIS (47-72).

It was an impressive victory for the AIS who flew in from Milan on the same day of the game.

AIS led (12-2) after five minutes and never allowed the CFBB to reduce the deficit for the rest of the match.

Rachel Jerry continued her love affair with France with another good performance to lead the AIS in scoring with 16 points and 9 rebounds.

She was followed by Liz Cambage's double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

It is likely that some of the players on the CFBB roster will play for France in the U19 World Championship and face the Australians as both teams are in the same group in the preliminary round.

Youth international basketball at Aix-en-Provence

 AIS 2009 Basketball at the home of the CFBB © Aix-en-Provence Basket

Aix-en-Provence has a good history with Australian players. When Kristi Harrower first came to France she played at Aix-en-Provence. Currently Renae Camino and Hollie Grima, both Australians and former members of the AIS, are on the roster.

Youthful exuberance and Gretel Tippet was enough for AIS to win the first game (74-64) against Aix-en-Provence.

Tippert is well known in France after her display last year.

However she is now stronger and has improved her ball handling skills (which had been good last year).

She scored 17 points and had 12 rebounds. Once again Cambage finished with a double-double 20 points and 11 rebounds.

We saw the Australians pressing game last summer. But they showed another side of their game as they played at a very fast speed.

Once they got their transition working they opened up an 11-point lead going into the final period.

Without Jerry who did not play Stephanie Cummings and Kelsey Ireland controlled the back court and kept the hosts at bay.

For the second game Aix-en-Provence decided to slow the game down and not allow the AIS to play at their pace as they went on to win (70-65) to tie the series.

Aix' plan worked as they disabled the young players who could not get into any rhythm and failed to execute simple plays or turned over the ball.

All the same Aix' advantage at the interval (34-30) was mainly due to Camino.

The third period was a scrappy affair but a learning experience for AIS as they battled in vain to get anything going.

Aix did not play any better but went into the final period leading (52-45).

Aix pushed their advantage up to 12 points at one stage, which forced Dean Kinsman to change his defensive strategy.

AIS applied a zone defense, which put a halt to Aix' progress.

AIS' deficit dropped to 4 points going into the final minute but the experience of Aix was more than enough for them to hold on to win.

Renae Camino © Ligue Féminine de BasketBallCamino scored 27 points for Aix while Tippert and Cambage scored 11 points each for the AIS.

The AIS ended their youth international basketball tour of Europe with a 5-3 record.

However this tour was about preparing for the U19 World Championship. All the players that were in France last June have been playing better.

Kinsman will have a tough time in selecting his final 12 because the 9 players that were in France last time around have all improved so we can only imagine that the competition for places will be tough.

While players like Cambage, Tippert and Jarry will make all the headlines for the games in France, yet Cummings is the player that holds this team together.

The three players not mentioned in this report from the AIS Jillian Haugton, Ashleigh Karitiana and Michelle Joy also played in all the games.

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Picture credits:
Ligue Féminine de BasketBall

Date created: 03 April 2009

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