The Monash 3x3 men’s basketball team have returned home silver medallists after finishing second in the FISU 3x3 Continental Qualifying Tournament in New Zealand.
The tournament peaked with a thrilling final against Sydney University, where our Monash side went down in heartbreaking fashion, 18-21.
Nevertheless, the Monash team of Mitchell Blackburn, Tom Carroll, Josh Cleary and Noah De Bortoli proved themselves the second best side across Australasia with the dominant performance.
Even more impressive, it came after a surprise first-game loss in the tournament to Canterbury Uni.
But from there, Monash went on a four-game winning streak to secure a finals berth against arch-rivals Sydney, who twice beat Monash at UniSport Nationals earlier this year.
This time, Monash had knocked off Sydney 21-18 on the first day of the New Zealand tournament and there were high hopes a similar dose could be repeated in grabbing a gold medal.
After finding themselves trailing for most of the match, Tom Carroll narrowed the margin to just one point with less than two minutes to play.
Tom Carroll commented on the experience stating:
"Representing Monash at the FISU 3x3 Oceania Qualifiers was an awesome experience with a great group of guys. Having not competed in the National Championships to qualify for this tournament, the boys were very welcoming and helpful in integrating me to the team.
We were very lucky to have Monash staff member Matt Sheldon-Collins come along with us to make sure everything ran smoothly and for some extra support from the sidelines. It was interesting to see the different play styles and physicality of the teams from New Zealand and Papa New Guinea as well as getting a glimpse of their respective cultures.
Overall, FISU and AUT hosted a very well run tournament over the two days with everyone there being positive and welcoming."
Congratulations to Sydney University for proving too strong in the end. You can watch all the action - including the desperate final minutes - here.
Meanwhile, you can check out all the scores from the Championship here.