Early games on Day 1 at WBC

New Zealand Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats are staring down the barrel of elimination early on day one of the WBC tournament in Porirua.

The Wildcats went down 67-66 in overtime against the Waitakere Lady Rangers and now face a must win game against Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks in the late game on Thursday.

The Wildcats trailed 51-47 at three quarter time but fought back to level proceedings 61-61 at the end of normal time. Wuanyei Ah-Hing made a couple of key baskets in the extra five minutes to put the Rangers 4 points ahead. A Shea Crotty triple with 1:03 remaining gave the Wildcats hope and when Maia Wilson missed a pair of free throws for the Rangers Hayley Gray had the final shot to win the game. Unfortunately for the Wildcats the game’s leading scorer couldn’t connect. Gray finished with 18pts well supported by Crotty (16pts) and Tessa Boagni (15pts/10rebs).

Te Oramae Solomon (15pts/11 rebs) and Natasha Hall (13pts/11rebs) were major contributors to the Waitakere success.

The Waikato Wizards face a similar scenario after being defeated 75-65 by North Harbour Breeze in Section B, now needing to beat Oceana Gold Rush Otago to stay alive in the Championship.

The Breeze established a 40-37 half time advantage that extended to 60-50 with 10 minutes remaining. Wizards guard Krystal Leger-Walker (17pts) scored three of her five triples in the final period but Harbour paced by youngster Tera Reed (18pts) held firm to maintain a double digit lead and secure a vital win.

Becks van Kuyk (14pts) and Anna Lacey (13pts) provided inside, outside threats for the Breeze, Miriam Stevens (11pts) and Jess Tuki (13pts) tireless for Waikato.

WBC title on the line this week

The third and final tournament of the Women’s Basketball Championship begins on Thursday July 31st in Porirua.

The first two tournaments involved all nine provincial teams playing each other to determine placings for the Plate and Championship competitions . The top six teams to contest the championship are divided into two pools.

Pool A features the Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks, New Zealand Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats and Waitakere Lady Rangers.

The Hawks have an all international starting five that includes current Tall Ferns Natalie Taylor, Jordan Hunter and Kalani Purcell. Not surprisingly the Hawks are the leading offensive team in the competition averaging 63 points per game. They also boast the leading rebounder in the competition Charmian Mellars who has hauled in 15.5 boards per game and will likely progress from their pool unbeaten .

The Canterbury Wildcats will have the same squad that served them well in the previous two tournaments. Guard Shea Crotty captains the team that perhaps relies a little too much on centre Tessa Boagni who is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds a game. Forward Bridgette Lawn and Laken Wairau will provide good support for Boagni, the red and blacks strong contenders for a sem-final spot.

The Rangers look as if they will be without the services of Emma Bergin and Penina Davidson. Davidson has headed to the University of California, Berkley to begin her College basketball career. The team will miss her 15 points/9 rebounds per game contribution, meaning the likes of Wuanyei Ah-Hing, Natasha Hall, Millie Nathan and Stevee Theyers will carry a heavier workload. However they will be boosted by the addition of guard Te Oramae Solomon, back from Junior College in the USA.

In Pool B Waikato Wizards, North Harbour Breeze and Oceana Gold Rush Otago each have a nice blend of youth and experience on their rosters.

Only ACM Hawks have scored more points than the Wizards, the Waikato team boasting the best shooting percentage from behind the three-point arc (36.7%). Rhaiah Spooner-Knight has contributed 15 points a game and has been ably supported by Jess Tuki, Natasha Lenden veteran Leanne Walker and daughter Krystal Leger-Walker (10ppg).

Harbour Breeze welcome back forward Rebecca Van Kuyk to their line up. The only teams to defeat ACM Lady Hawks, the Breeze have been blowing hot and cold in the competition to date. With Kuyk, Deena Franklin (leading offensive rebounder), former Tall Fern centre Karlene Kingi and young tyro Tera Reed in the front court they possess enough firepower to trouble any team in the competition. Consistent performances from their guards will be key to a strong Harbour showing.

Double international Suzie Bates is not only New Zealand White Ferns leading run scorer in recent times but also the leading points scorer in the WBC this season, averaging 16 points per game. Powerhouse Samara Gallaher (16pts/9reps per game) and Janet Main were outstanding for Otago in the last tournament, the southerners swarming defence giving up just 50 points per game. Otago comfortably beat North Harbour the last time the two teams met, Bates, Gallaher and Main all contributing double-digit points hauls. A repeat performance would likely carry Otago into the semi-finals.

The teams finishing bottom of pools A and B will contest the Plate competition with last year’s tournament winners, Capital Flyers, Probands Nelson Sparks and Rotorua Vols. Playing on their home court and with Stella Beck back in their line-up the Flyers start as slight favourites to lift the minor silverware.

Auckland Counties Manukau and Waikato Wizards are the likely finalists in the Championship.

The players will have the added incentive of playing for international as well as provincial honours. At the conclusion of the WBC tournament a squad will be named to attend Tall Ferns trials. The Ferns are likely to be contesting a four team tournament in China during late August.

Tall Blacks are 35 Days away from the World Cup

The Tall Blacks enjoyed a reasonably light final training session prior to a late night flight to South Korea on Saturday night.

A couple of veterans, Casey Frank and Nick Horvath sat out the session to rest niggling injuries. They were rewarded with the dubious honour of having to referee the twenty-minute scrimmage at the end of the practice, not a task anyone relishes.

The white team got off to a 12-3 start and led until the buzzer went off at the end of the game. Unfortunately for them a Jarrod Kenny three entered the net at the same time as the buzzer went sounded, the black team grabbing the win.

The white team were ex Westlake Boys plus BJ Anthony. The Webster brothers, Penney, Loe and Abercrombie built a double-digit lead.

Everard Bartlett scored 8 straight points to lead the black team comeback. He, Vukona, Wynyard, Kenny, Fotu and Tait headed to the airport with the broader smiles.

Some random thoughts:

Could we see an all ex Westlake starting five at some stage of the campaign?  Webster T, Webster C, Penney, Abercrombie and Loe would have to play small ball but it would be quick and exciting.

Tony Webster was coaching North Harbour Under 23’s over on court two at the Breakers as the Tall Blacks were being put through their paces on court one. As a parent you would be extremely proud to see one son (or daughter) put on the black singlet but to see both boys suit up must be a special feeling. Congrats to Tony and Cherry.

Tai Wynyard continues to impress. The 16 year old has a great feel for the game and is blessed with, size, agility, and strength. Some of his finishing at the hoop was classy and eye catching. If Pledger doesn’t make it surely think Tai will.

Talking of big Alex, he is moving a lot better. He’s still wearing a cushioned boot to protect the injured big toe but he feels he is making good progress. It’s a race against time for the seven footer!

With thirty-five days to go before the Tall Blacks face Turkey on the opening day of the World cup in Spain there is still plenty for the players and coaches to contemplate.

Breakers News

Dean Vickerman arrives back from the USA this week having attended the NBA Summer League. Continue reading

Tall Blacks Squad

Tall Blacks head coach Nenad Vucinic selected the following 14 for the Tall Blacks trip to South Korea and China. Continue reading

Cedric Jackson Stats

Cedric Jackson stats after  just 65 games in two seasons and position on Breakers all time list:

Assists 432 – 4th all time

Steals 164 – 4th all time

Defensive rebounds 286 – 12th all time

Total rebounds – 367 – 13th all time

Double doubles 11 – 6th all time

Another two seasons will see him surge up the all time list in the above category with a chance of being the all time leader in steals and assists.

 

 

 

Bits and Pieces from the NZ basketball scene

The Tall Blacks play a rare home court three game series against South Korea this week.The squad of 17 players are all likely to suit up at some stage during the three tests in Wellington (Tuesday), Tauranga (Thursday) and Auckland (Saturday). Continue reading

Auckland Counties Manukau win U17 Boys National title

Auckland Counties Manukau scored the first 15 points of the U17 Boys Final, seven of them to Connor Woodbridge, before Nathan Curran put Harbour on the board. Continue reading

North Harbour win U17 Girls National Title

After 123 games over four days the Under 17 National Championships reached their climax at North Shore Events Centre on Saturday afternoon.

The Girls Final featured North Harbour and Porirua. Continue reading

Semi-Final Results at Under 17 Nationals

Day 3 at U17 Nationals featured quarterfinals and semi-final games, a busy day for players, coaches, referees and all associated with the tournament. Continue reading

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