clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:


Australia beat Marshall Islands, 166-3, which is normal in this bizarre tournament

International sports in Oceania are weird, bizarre, silly, and incredible in all the best ways. Currently the FIBA U17 Basketball Championships are happening in Guam, and the tournament, particularly on the women’s side, has devolved into Australia, New Zealand, and Samoa beating up on everyone else.

This culminated on Tuesday when Australia beat the Marshall Islands, 166-3. The box score is pretty incredible.

However, the beauty of tournaments like this is giving tiny nations, like the Marshall Islands (population 28,000) or Palau (21,000), an opportunity to play in a major tournament. It’s exposure and experience they wouldn’t get any other way, and these countries LOVE basketball. Over 1,000 people turned up to a tournament in the Marshall Islands last year, which might not sound like much until you appreciate that it’s almost 20 percent of their population.

On some level it feels wrong to laugh at what’s happened in this tournament. These countries are doing their best, but that feeling can’t be mutually exclusive from appreciating what’s happening at a large-scale, international tourney.

As of Tuesday morning, a total of eight games have been played in the women’s tournament. These are the scores:

  • Australia 163, Tahiti 13
  • New Zealand 139, Guam 3
  • Samoa 120, Marshall Islands 12
  • New Caledonia 118, Palau 29
  • Samoa 90, Tahiti 41
  • New Zealand 110, New Caledonia 31
  • Guam 96, Palau 34
  • Australia 166, Marshall Islands 3

It’s just a whole bunch of islands, big and small, playing each other in games with an average margin of victory of 104.75 points. FIBA knows the field of play problem; every sport does. The disparity among nations is such that winning Oceania doesn’t give you an automatic bid into larger international tournaments, both in basketball and soccer.

This tournament will end with Australia playing New Zealand, just like it always does and we can appreciate the simple things ... like a 110-31 win.