The Junior Tall Blacks have been knocked out of title contention at the Under 19 World Cup, following a 72-65 defeat to Germany in the Round of 16.
The Kiwi side had already made history by simply qualifying for the tournament, and performed credibly throughout without ever finding the spark which could have spurred them onto a 2002-type run.
An inconsistent victory over South Korea was followed by a very competitive defeat against France, and a tight loss to Argentina as the JTBs were in every contest but couldn't quite execute late to get that vital second victory in the pool stage.
Such a victory would have seen them favoured to beat Egypt and make the quarterfinals, but instead their chances of a deep run into the event were culled by an efficient German side.
The game was ultimately decided in the opening stages, where Germany quickly opened up a 23-7 lead. The Junior Tall Blacks took four minutes to get on the scoreboard, and were struggling to penetrate against the smothering length possessed by the German defence.
As has been the case throughout the tournament, the Junior Tall Blacks have been a challenge for any side when their best players are on the floor, but largely haven't been able to match their fancied opposition for depth.
Against Germany, that bench lineup only compounded the starters' struggles early on, causing coach Daryl Cartwright to tighten the rotation and lean more on his starters.
That, mixed in with some effectively sporadic use of a zone defence, gave the JTBs some signs of life. Tai Wynyard (14 points, nine rebounds) started to dominate inside, while forward partner Sam Waardenburg (11 points, 12 rebounds) gave things a jolt as the Kiwi side got back within eight by halftime.
The promising duo helped New Zealand to a 45-32 advantage on the glass, but that was negated by a poor shooting display. They connected at just 32 per cent from the field and 18 per cent from deep, with starting guards Quinn Clinton and Isaac Letoa shooting a combined 3/21 as they struggled to find good looks.
With Wynyard sitting on the bench - possibly for too long - due to foul trouble, Germany were able to keep their lead at a manageable distance, but the JTBs stuck around.
Showing their propensity to make every game a tight battle, the defensive pressure intensified, and Germany's lead was cut to three with just 50 seconds to play.
However, an unsportsmanlike foul on Clinton - automatically assessed for fouling before the ball was inbounded - released the pressure, with Germany closing things out for a deserved victory.
Germany move on to play the USA in the quarterfinal, while the Junior Tall Blacks are set to play Mali in the bracket for the minor seedings.