The Australian Crocs leave Argentina with a sixth-placed finish in the FIBA Under-17 World Cup, falling short of their gold medal hopes or even a podium result.
In 2012 and 2014, the national boys team claimed the silver medal. But three of the Crocs’ four losses at this year’s tournament came by four points or less.
Basketball Ballarat’s Nathan Cooper-Brown is assistant coach for the team.
In the group stage, Crocs defeated Domincan Republic, lost to Turkey and defeated Puerto Rico. They went on to defeat Mali in the round of 16, but went down to Canada in the quarter-finals to miss out on a podium finish, before bouncing back to defeat Croatia in a semi-final.
The Crocs met Turkey a second time in their final battle for fifth or sixth positions after going down by two points in the group stage.
After looking hopeful and in front at half-time, the lead changed multiple times before the final siren sounded.
It was a one-point game with only six seconds on the clock, but the Crocs eventually went down by four points with the final score 77-81.
Now national hopes turn to the Australian Sapphires team, which aims to defend the 2016 gold medal when kicking off its under-17 world cup campaign on July 22 in Minsk, Belarus.
Ballarat will also be represented in this tournament with school student Georgia Amoore, who plays for Ballarat Rush in the South East Australian Basketball League, one of seven Victorians to be selected into the national girls squad.
Amoore is due to leave Australia with her teammates on Wednesday for a week of preparation.