It took one coaching move to spark the Boomers last night.
Curiously, it was a call from the China bench, not those draped in green and gold, that turned a misfiring Australian basketball team into a well-greased machine in the final YouYi Games clash at Challenge Stadium.
Australia won game three in the series 78-55 with Daniel Kickert (20 points) and Julian Khazzouh (16) leading the scoresheet. Sun Yue top-scored for China with 12.
Yet for the first 15 minutes of the Olympic warm-up clash it seemed the ring had shrunk for the hosts.
Despite getting of plenty of open looks Australia couldn’t match China’s offensive efficiency and as the Boomers went 0-8 from three-point range the visitors shot at a 55 per cent accuracy to set up a 28-22 lead midway through the second quarter.
Then the thunder , at least a verbal barrage from China’s American coach Bob Donewald Jr, rocked the Jungle. It was too much for the referees to take and whistleblower Tim MIlls reacted to the torrent of abuse by calling consecutive technical fouls, forcing Donewald to exit the arena.
It appeared Donewald succeeded in his task because he spent much of the time allowed in the match to demonstratively criticise the officials.
If it was a plan to inspire his players it failed miserably because it was the Boomers that got a spring in their step from their opponent’s departure.
After struggling to find the hole, suddenly Australia couldn’t miss. Long-range bombs dropped with ease as Adam Gibson and Kickert exerted their influence on the contest.
By the half Australia, on the back of a 16-0 run, took a 40-33 lead and were on course for a 3-0 sweep of the series.
The Boomers went into the contest with just 11 of 12 players as swingman David Barlow returned to Melbourne this morning to be with his wife following the birth of their first child last week.
The Australian squad heads to Victoria for another camp at which they will be joined by the overseas-based members of the 18-man squad.
A Boomers Olympic team will be announced next week.