Maryborough's Matthew Dellavedova's dream of winning an Olympic basketball gold medal was quashed by the United States in Thursday's semi-finals in Tokyo.
Dellavedova and the Boomers led by 15 points in the second quarter and appeared set to cause one of the biggest upsets in Australian sporting history.
However, in the blink of an eye the powerful USA team blew the Boomers away.
The USA launched a stunning 48-14 run that led to a 97-78 final scoreline, leaving Australia to face the loser of France and Slovenia in the bronze medal play-off.
"We're scrappers and a team that gets the most out of what we've got," Australian coach Brian Goorjian said.
"I loved the way we played; we did it right.
"The problem was, trying to do that for 40 minutes against a team like that."
Australia's swarming defence was too much for the US for most of the first half, with Gregg Popovich's side lacking penetration and missing their first nine three-point shots.
Kevin Durant (23 points, nine rebounds) had 15 first-half points to keep the US close though, before Australia blinked and the three-time defending champions lifted.
The US won the third quarter 32-10, Zach Lavine intercepting a Matisse Thybulle pass and running away for an uncontested dunk to finish the term and put an exclamation mark on their dominance.
"It was a very good win against another outstanding basketball team with great culture and great tradition," Popovich said.
"They're like a machine and that really bothered us to start the game; they just sliced us and diced us, we looked like we'd never played together before.
"But in the last five minutes (of the half) ... we understood that was what it was going to take to beat a fine team like that."
Boomers captain Patty Mills (15 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals) topped Australia's stat sheet, Dante Exum (14 points) was strong at both ends early, with Jock Landale adding 11 points and 6 rebounds.
"We put this game behind us and move and don't let there be a hangover,'' Landale said.
"Obviously we're disappointed because we came here to win gold but, at the end of the day, we still have the opportunity to make history in our country and win a bronze medal.
"It would be selfish of us to carry this into the next game, we've got to be ready to roll. I'm already motivated and trying to put this behind me."
The bronze medal match is scheduled for 9pm on Saturday night (AEST).
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