The Flyers did just that, they flew out the blocks creating a 17-5 lead at the end of the first period – Beks van Kuyk and Tegan Graham shared the first 10 points.
The Phoenix battled back to win the second quarter 11-10 but despite strong showings from Jaimee-Lee Tito (13pts/11 rebs) and Reanon Hetaraka-Sadler (12pts) they were eventually beaten 55-36 by the Flyers.
Graham led all scorers with 16 points and van Kuyk was highly efficient shooting 5/ 5 from the field on her way to 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Flyers.
Waitakere Lady Rangers continued their winning ways with a conclusive 79-61 win against Bartercard Taranaki Thunder. The Thunder kept the game tight in the early stages, only down 20-17 at the end of the opening period. However, the balanced Rangers offence, that had five players in double figures, dominated the middle stages of the encounter, the northerners in control 65-41 at three quarter time.
Once again Fijian international, Leba Koovou (14pts/12rebs) was impressive for the Rangers. Amber Bellringer recorded another double double (16pts/14 rebs) and the Kensington sisters Amber and Jemma both scored a dozen points for the Thunder
Rotorua Lady Vols found the going too tough against NZ Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats. It was all one-way traffic as the Wildcats recorded a comprehensive 74-24 victory.
Remarkably Awatea Leach scored 16 out of the 24 points that the Vols scored during the game.
Mary Goulding top scored for the Wildcats with 18 points and Connie Poletti mustered a handy 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Harbour Breeze secured a win at the third attempt at the expense of Tauranga City Coasters. All twelve Breeze players contributed to the 91-44 scoreline with Tall Fern Deena Franklin (16pts) and Kate Lacey (12pts, 4/7 3PG) leading the scoring. Georgina Richards (16pts) and Kelcy Ballantyne (13pts/11rebs) were the pick of the Coasters contributors.
Scoring just 15 points in the first half and shooting the ball at 13% hardly seems like a formula that would win many basketball games. Remarkably this is what Probands Nelson Sparks did as they came from behind to defeat Waikato Wizards 51-50 and remain unbeaten with a 3-0 record.
The Wizards looked in control at three quarter time as they led 40-31 but they failed to score in the first five minutes of the final period as the Sparks embarked on an 11-0 run. Leanne Walker followed by Krystal Leger- Walker broke the Waikato scoring drought with triples before Jess Bygate restored the Sparks lead with a pair of free throws with 2:58 to play.
Both teams had further scoring opportunities in the ensuing time but the score remained the same, the Sparks “out of another hole” acknowledged coach Tony Rampton, winning 51-50.
A converted shot from her own half by Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix point guard Freda Riwai to close the first half was a major highlight of the Phoenix encounter with the ACM Lady Hawks.
The Phoenix gave a much improved performance and only trailed 34-26 at half time. ACM pulled way in the second half to win 68-42 led by Jordan Hunter (16pts) and Lorelei Nathan (15pts).
The Phoenix will take heart from the performance but will miss the services of Riwai (18pts) for their double header on Sunday.
In their previous three games the undefeated Waitakere Lady Rangers had averaged 77 points a game so it was a surprise when the Aik Ho coached Rangers could only muster 15 points in the first half against NZ Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats. At the other end the Wildcats patient offence and disciplined offence was paying dividends as they led 32-15 at the half.
Things went from bad to worse in the third period for the Rangers they went eight minutes without scoring and scored just a solitary basket – to Wuanyei Ah-Hing. The Wildcats were in total control leading 46-17 with 10 minutes to play.
The final period was a formality; the Canterbury Wildcats easing to an impressive 61-33 win. Shea Crotty (12pts, 3 from 4 3PG), Connie Poletti (15pts/12rebs) and Darcy rose (7pts/8rebs) led a solid all round Canterbury effort.
Only Maria Milani with 12 points provided much scoring output for the Rangers.
Rotorua Lady Vols put together a solid half of basketball, their best of the tournament, against the Capital Flyers. The Vols trailed jut 27-22 against the more favoured Flyers at the main break.
It was different story in the third period as the Flyers zone defence stalled the Vols enabling them to get more production in transition to win the period 24-9 and eventually the contest 75-45.
Beks van Kuyk was at her best for the Flyers, dominating the paint at both ends to finish with 24 points and 18 rebounds. Awatea Leach (15pts) was again the best of the Vols.
Bartercard Taranaki Thunder found it hard going against Oceana Gold Rush Otago in the last round of the day. The Thunder failed to score double figures in any quarter as they went down 51-30. Even Amber Bellringer who was averaging over twenty points per game struggled offensively scoring just 9 points but still the top scorer for Taranaki.
Otago had five players score six points but Tall Fern Jillian Harmon was the stand out performer powering her way to a double double of 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Proband Nelson Sparks (4-0) maintained their unbeaten record but only just winning an exciting encounter 63-62. The Sparks appeared to be heading for a comfortable win entering the final quarter with a 53-42 lead against Tauranga City Coasters. However the Coasters surged back into the game with a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
When Kelcy Ballantyne (18pts) scored with 4 minutes remaining the scores were locked at 57 apiece. Kat Jones (7pts/8rebs) and Nikki Rampton (10pts/7rebs) restored the Nelson advantage only for Courtney Wilson to knock down a triple with 20 seconds remaining to bring the Coasters within a single point.
Unfortunately the Coasters were unable to get off another shot and must wait at least one more day for an historic first WBC victory.
4-0 Nelson Sparks
3-1 Waikato Wizards, Capital Flyers, Canterbury Wildcats, Waitakere Lady Rangers.
2-2 Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks, Taranaki Thunder
2-1 Otago Gold Rush
1-2 Harbour Breeze
0-4 Rotorua Lady Vols, Tauranga City Coasters, Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix