News about our Tall Blacks overseas


Kenny makes important contributions to Wildcats victories

Most of the recent basketball news in New Zealand has centered around Corey Webster’s magnificent 39 points haul against Melbourne United but plenty of other Tall Blacks have been making their mark in other parts of the world in the past seven days. Kenny was key for the Wildcats, Bailey helped the Pirates steal a win and Zaragoza have parted ways with their coach.

The seventh round of the Australian NBL began with the Perth Wildcats gaining an important 94-88 victory against the 36ers in Adelaide on Wednesday. Perth were behind in the fourth quarter but a couple of critical plays by Jarrod Kenny, including the tying basket with 2:52 to play, helped the Wildcats over the line.

Kenny (10pts) shot 2 from 2 threes and during the game commentator Shane Heal described Kenny as “An outstanding three point shooter.”

I’m not sure I agree with the term “great’ but he is much improved and there was further evidence of that on Sunday night when Kenny knocked down a sideline three, with just 15 seconds the game, against Cairns. His successful shot t restored Perth’s lead over the the men from the west secured the narrowest of victories, 91-90.

On Thursday it appeared that Dion Prewster wanted to single handedly carry the Sydney Kings to a victory over his visiting countrymen. The Wellingtonian, in recent weeks promoted to a starting berth in the absence of the injured Josh Childress, had 5 points a block and a steal in the first five minutes as the Kings gave the Breakers the hurry up in the first half.

The Breakers regained their composure in the second half completing an 86-74 win. Prewster was one of the better performing Kings players and finished with a commendable 8p/3r,2a/2st/1bl stat line.

The upset of the round, probably the season so far, came on Friday night when top of the table Melbourne United was humbled on its own court by the Townsville Crocodiles 82-78. The victory was made more remarkable given the Crocs were without the suspended Brian Conklin and injured Luke Schensher, their premier big men. Leon Henry only had 6 points and 3 rebounds but like all the Townsville players produced a spirited, team orientated performance.

On Saturday night Kirk Penney scored 15 points for the Illawarra Hawks but they went down 89-77 at Adelaide. Interestingly Penney and 36ers dynamic point guard Jerome Randle played together in 2014 for Turkish club Trabzonspor.

Duane Bailey, hopefully over his jet lag, played his second game for the Plymouth Raiders in the British Basketball League on Sunday. The Raiders (1-7) faced a rather tough trip to Worcester Wolves (7-2) and rather unexpectedly pinched an unlikely but extremely welcome 101-91 win.

Bailey was promoted to the starting five and responded with a 9pts (4/9FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists performance. Raiders coach Daryl Corletto was delighted with the efforts of his new signing.

“Duane is just a workhorse. He struggled the first two or three quarters offensively but I went to him early in the fourth quarter and told him a few things. He came out, hit two buckets, made a three. His number was called and he stood up – that’s what I know he can do.”

Isaac Fotu grabbed a game high 8 rebounds and added 5 points but  his Zaragoza team fell 80-69 to Belgium club Spirou in the Eurocup. Zaragoza remains second of the six teams in Group C with a 4-2 record.

Zaragoza’s Liga Endesa (Spanish League) season form is in decline. Despite forcing the away game against Gran Canaria into overtime Zaragoza slipped to their sixth defeat in seven games going down 91-79. Zaragoza were outscored 17-5 in the overtime period – Fotu scored 14 points ((6/10FG) and also secured 4 rebounds.

The double dose of defeats was too much for the Zaragoza board as they sacked coach Joaquin Ruiz Lorente following Sunday’s defeat.

Australian international Brad Newley scored 16 points for Gran Canaria.

Limburg United have a bye in the Belgium League, centre Rob Loe hopefully able to put his feet up for a day or two!

OKC had a mixed week. In addition to defeating the Pelicans they also squeezed past the Dallas Mavericks 117-114 on Sunday to improve to 8-6 for the season. Earlier in the week they had suffered losses to the Knicks and the Grizzlies.

Kevin Durant returned to propel OKC to a comfortable 111-89 victory over the Jazz and improved the Thunder’s record to 9-6 yesterday. Steve Adams scored 7 points and added 3 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Now to US college basketball.

Freshman Jack Salt is, as expected, receiving limited opportunity in the University of Virginia rotation at the moment. The Cavaliers took part in the three day Charleston Classic over the weekend and Salt chimed in with 6 points and 4 rebounds in just 11 minutes against Bradley University on Thursday. The next day it was a similar dosage for Salt, another six points (3/3FG), and an equally comfortable 87-52 win this time against Long Beach State.

In the Championship game on Sunday Salt was given his first starting berth of the season. The former Westlake centre scored an early basket finishing the night with 4 points and a rebound as Virginia ground down George Mason University to win 83-66.

The University of Nebraska Huskers defeated Delaware State 75-60 on Thursday to improve their season to 3-1. Guard Tai Webster played over 30 minutes producing a solid 5p/4r/4a/2st performance.

On Sunday Webster recorded a season high 13 points as the Huskers comfortably disposed of Southeastern Louisianna 92-65.

Personal Bests for Boagni and Stockill


Tessa Boagni scores 21 points for the Matadors

With no games involving our European based players this week we begin our roundup with a look at the USA College games involving our Tall Ferns. Tessa Boagni and Josie Stockill were standouts as both recorded career highs.

Tessa Boagni scored a career high 21 points for Cal State Northridge Matadors in a 70-59 loss to Eastern Washington. The Matadors slip to 0-4 for the season despite Boagni’s efforts.

Two days earlier Boagni top scored for Cal State Northridge in a heavy 106-50 defeat at Idaho. A non-conference game, the Cantabrian scored 15 points for the Matadors (6/11FG).

Josie Stockill, like Boagni, also had a career high as Colgate University lost their home opener, 86-80 in overtime to Monmouth. Stockill scored 21 points and also had 4 rebounds and six blocked shots. The senior now has 151 career blocks and continues her march toward the Colgate record of 170 held by Leandra Fuller (2001-05).

St Mary’s Gaels rallied from 15 points down to beat Wyoming University, aptly named the ‘Cowgirls’, 70-64 with Stella Beck scoring 10 points (6/8FG) whilst also snaring a team high 7 rebounds. Beck repeated her ten points contribution on Saturday as the Gaels defeated Northern Colorado 65-52

Penina Davidson fouled out in 20 minutes but still helped Cal State Berkley Golden Bears, with a strong second half showing, to a 64-58 victory against UC Riverside. Davidson had 4 points. 5 rebounds and a pair of blocks. The Golden Bears moved to 4-0 for the season with an 82-57 demolition of Cal Poly on Sunday, Davidson had 3 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

Kalani Purcell put in a strong performance despite Brigham Young University Cougars going down 73-47 to 24th ranked Oklahoma University on Friday. Purcell grabbed a game-high, and season-best14 rebounds.  Purcell also finished the game with a game-high five assists and six points.

Purcell came close to a double double adding 9 points to 10 rebounds, as the Cougars were defeated 61-55 by Colorado State on Saturday.

Jacinta Beckley was one of just two players in her Seattle University Redhawks team to score double figures as the Redhawks went down 96-55 to Washington. Beckley scored 12 points knocking down 2/3FG and 4/4FT’s.

Seattle bounced back to beat Evergreen State on Friday 81-38 but I’m unsure about the quality of opposition as Evergreen were held scoreless in the first quarter – 22-0 to the Redhawks. Beckley had a quiet evening with just a couple of points and 3 rebounds.

In the Australian WNBL Micaela Cocks scored double figures for the second game running as the Townsville Fire recorded an 88-85 road win against the Southeast Queensland Stars. In a high quality game Cocks had 13 points as the defending WNBL champs improved to 5-3 for the season.

The Fire, as expected, cemented their place in the top four with an 84-66 victory against bottom of the table Canberra Capitals on Sunday afternoon. Cocks was less productive in this game converting just one of seven from the field but did add 2 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. Chevannah Paalvast enjoyed 10 minutes of court time for the Fire and notched a couple of points and assists.

Third placed Townsville entertain top of the table Perth next week.

Perth Lynx (7-2) moved to the top of the WNBL ladder with a 93-85 victory over the Adelaide Lightning. Toni Edmondson produced a nice 7points ((3/6FG), 3 rebounds, 2 assists cameo off the bench for the Lynx.

Melbourne coach gracious in defeat


From Murray McKinnon

It was sweet revenge for the Breakers, after losing in controversial circumstances by one point two weeks ago in Melbourne, to come away with a solid fourth quarter slog to beat Melbourne 80-69 at Vector Arena on Sunday.

It was billed as the grudge match between point guards Corey Webster and Melbourne’s Chris Goulding and Goulding definitely got plenty of ribbing from the vocal 6749 spectators in attendance.
However Webster was the star of the show, scoring nearly half of the Breakers’ points, with a season league high of 39 which included seven from the outer perimeter.

The first quarter Melbourne with a couple of threes from Stephen Holt and Daniel Kickert went out to a 15-9 lead before Webster went on a run with three straight field goals, a bucket from Charles Jackson and then a three pointer from Webster followed by three from the free throw stripe to suddenly have the score at 23-18. At the end of the quarter the Breakers led 23-22.

Webster did not start in the second quarter but was brought in after a time out when Melbourne took a hold with Holt proving spark in the backcourt. Tom Abercrombie showed a couple of good plays with a three and a quick lay-up. Melbourne went to the half time leading 35-32 and they led at the three quarter 52-51. Webster then took control in the final ten minutes with a lesson in three point shooting.

Asked if it was a bit of a pay-back time Webster said it was the win he was after more than anything else.
“That was in the back of my mind, ever since it happened but honestly I wasn’t really thinking about that during the game I was just trying to help the team where ever I could and to get the win and luckily I shot the ball well,” said Webster.
“It was satisfying beating them tonight, they’re at the top of the league right now and that’s where we want to be and we’re working our way up there so it was a good win for us.
“I had great screens from my team mates that’s all it is really. When you had a couple you start to feel good about yourself and the rim seems like it gets a bit bigger, but it’s credit to my team mates for getting me so open and when you’re that open at this level most people make wide open shots.
“We’ve always want to protect our home court and now that we’ve got a road win we can keep building on that,” he added.

Coach of Melbourne Dean Demopoulos was gracious in defeat, saying that he has a lot of respect for the Breakers and didn’t think that they had come out fired up because of what had happened in their previous game.

“I don’t think that had anything to do with it, they’re champions of the League and they’ve been perennial champions. Four out of five years they come out pretty fired up by nature, that’s one of the elements of who they are. You’ve got to beat this team, they’re the reigning champions. They’ve got the cup (trophy) and everyone else is thirsty,” said a personable Demopoulos.

He conceded that Webster was the key to the Breakers victory.
“Much too much Corey Webster tonight. He’s a terrific player and made some tough shots, I thought we defended him okay for the majority of the time but he made some terrific shots, they got him open they went to him and that’s what champions do.

“I thought it was two pretty good teams knocking heads more than anything else. And one team that’s done a whole lot more together than the other team and that’s the reason why you look up and it looks like San Antonio here. The banners they tell you why you’re in the kind of fight you’re in.
“By the way I loved it here, terrific City, I wasn’t here long but I had a chance just to walk around briefly and looks like you celebrate your team and back it and you got a good product, hats off.
“It’s not a rivalry situation yet between the two teams, we’ve got to win some games and get into the type of post season play that they (Breakers) do before it becomes a rivalry, I think right now it’s pretty one sided,” he said.

Former NBA assistant Demopoulos was asked if Webster is in the same mould as NBA shooter Steph Curry.
“That’s a good analogy, he was tonight. There’s a lot of fine players in this league, but Corey’s at the top of the list for sure and that was a great, great performance. I’ve seen Kobe (Bryant) get 60, and I’ve seen players get high numbers but Corey’s 39 was quiet, very efficient and he had a hell of a game,” said Demopoulos.

Dean Vickerman coach of the Breakers said it was timely for Webster to shine.
“I thought at different times it was one of those grind of a games, but Corey did a hell of a job defensively too and that’s something we spoke about, out of him or Goulding who’s going to play the best defence and I thought Corey did a hell of a job there. Both teams were struggling to score and Corey worked hard to get open and that’s one of the things he’s doing right now he’s sprinting off screens, people are screening well for him, creating enough separation to get clean looks and he obviously shot the hell out of the three ball tonight.

“We put Corey at the point guard as Ced wasn’t a hundred percent tonight and we went back to the group that closed out the game at Sydney the other night and he did really good job of getting a mixture of run and play for himself and his team mates and I thought that was another evolution of his game in being able to dictate what happens at the offensive end,” said Vickerman.

“Ced made some amazing lay ups tonight, his reverse lay ups, kiss off the glass high, we know he’s a brilliant player even not at hundred percent he put in a hell of a performance. I thought Pledger was really good and he continues to come on and that was a big post move for him and he hasn’t had a lot of those opportunities but it was a key time for him to go in, just back Warwick (Hakim) in and make a key bucket there.
“We still didn’t rebound as well as we wanted to against this team, Majok got to the offensive glass too much for my liking, the other goals we set ourselves tonight was to hold them under 30 percent from the three point line and that went a long way to helping us get the win tonight.
“Mika, that was his best game of the year, when we needed him he came up with key offensive rebounds he made his own little post moves and as the season wears along he’s going to get more touches in the post and be more aggressive as well. Get Ced healthy, get Mika healthy, get Wesley back and get our combinations together again we’ve got to just keep building, it’s massive for us we’ve got a Perth series to finish off over there and then back here so it’s going to be a key series and certainly one we want to win,” he added.

Maintaining a clean record on the home court is also a key priority for Vickerman.

“I stress to the guys how important winning at home is and now that we have six in a row we’ve just got to keep building on it, I’ve got to stop it with timeouts when I feel like that we’re letting it down, because we just can’t let anything go at home it’s going to be so important to your record and how you finish the end of the year,” said Vickerman.

Cedric Jackson scored 10 for the Breakers and Abercrombie 9. Goulding top scored for United with 19, Holt was on 17 and Kickert 13.
Majok with eight points was philosophical after their latest loss.
“We’ve lost three games in a row, but I think we’re going to be alright. Everybody’s coming for us because of the great start that we have had so we’ve just got to regroup and come back even stronger,” said Majok.

The Breakers play Perth in Perth on Friday night and then the return game against Perth is at the North Shore Events Centre on Wednesday 2 December.

Storm move to top of Mexicali standings


Milomilo Nanai scored 20pts as the Storm move to 3-1

The first game of round four of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam women’s competition featured Team Sky and Storm.

The Jenkins sisters played prominent roles for their respective teams. Annabelle (19pts) top scored for team Sky whilst Tabatha had a useful 11 points for the Storm who went top of the table with an 82-73 victory.

Forwards Deena Franklin and Katelin Noyer made early scores for Sky but Jordan Hunter and Milomilo Nanai kept Storm in touch as they trailed 47-42 at half-time.

Storm took control of the game in the third stanza winning the period 23-10 as Nanai, Tabatha Jenkins, Kate Lacey and Hannah Turton all contributed to a healthy 65-57 three quarter time advantage.

Annabelle Jenkins scored 10 final quarter points for Sky but her efforts went unrewarded as Hunter countered with a couple of three’s to secure a third win for Storm.

Final score;

Sky 73 – A Jenkins 19, Franklin 16, Ayla Hoeta 10, Zara Jillings 10.

Storm 80 – Hunter 19, Nanai 19, T Jenkins 11, Turton 10.

The Sparks, bolstered by the transfer in of Breeze Leonard and the debuts of Anna Lacey and Cayla Cullen, were much more competitive in their encounter with the Suns having been well beaten in their previous two outings.

The scores were locked at 29 apiece at half-time, Sharne Pupuke-Robati leading the Suns effort and Hailey Purcell prominent for the Sparks.

The Suns edged to a 46-41 three-quarter time advantage although both teams struggled to find any offensive flow.

The Westlake pair of Rosie Davidson and Tiarna Clarke made important contributions down the stretch to maintain Sky’s advantage and they held on for a 70-61 victory despite a late flurry of threes from Purcell, Lacey and Aleesha Coulter.

Final score;

Sparks 61 – Purcell 12, Cullen 12, Georgia Perrott-Hunt 12.

Sky 70 – Clarke 18, Pupuke-Robati 11, Davidson 10, Sophie Bond 8.

Standings after 4 rounds:

Storm 3-1

Team Sky and The Suns 2-2

Sparks 1-3

Ruscoe and Tait shine


Brook Ruscoe scored 32 points for the Birdmen

Kentucky University bound Tai Wynyard was unavailable for round four of the 2015 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam due to a hamstring injury.

The Breakers Development team was also without Jordan Ngatai and forced to rely on a high school-aged team supplemented with the experience of Shea Ili and Finn Delany.

In contrast The Birdmen had a flock of talent including Kevin Braswell and former Tall Blacks Casey Frank, Brook Ruscoe and Josh Bloxham. Dan Fotu opened the scoring for the Breakers but as anticipated the Birdmen made a flying start leading 28-17 at quarter time on the back of enterprising play from Braswell and Ruscoe.

The Breakers bounced back strongly in the second period their efforts rewarded with a 64-63 half time advantage. Shea Ili led all scorers with 24 points at the break, Ruscoe and power forward Robson Tavita each had a dozen points for the Birdmen.

The Birdmen, eventually finishing with seven players in double figures, poured in 33 third quarter points to establish a 96-82 lead eventually cruising to a 130-109 win.

Delany, Ili, Fotu, Sam Waardenburg and Brayden Inger all had impressive moments but on this occasion could not match the guile and experience of the international contingent in the Birdmen line-up.

Final score;

Breakers Development 109–Ili 29, Delany 25, Fotu 19, Waardenburg 9, Inger 9.

The Birdmen 130 – Ruscoe 32, Braswell 25, Frank 15, Tavita 14, Bloxham 14.

The second fixture did not quite have the NBA scoring proportions of the first game but still provided plenty of entertainment for the onlookers as 68NelsonStreet held off Mai88 Sixers 108-102.

Tipene Friday and Derone Raukawa, both playing their first game of the season, made an early impression as the Sixers moved out to a 12-8 advantage before being reeled in to trail 30-24 at quarter time.

Ana Haku and Lindsay Tait combined to stretch the 68NelsonSt lead to 43-29 at the mid point of the second quarter before the ever reliable Hayden Allen and Houston O’Riley brought the Sixers right back into contention. Friday produced an athletic ring shuddering dunk and the scores were level, 60 points apiece.

Tait was relentlessly attacking the rim for NelsonSt as was Sam Aruwa and with Matt Lacey knocking down a couple of triples they held sway, 79-72 at three quarter time.

NelsonSt led throughout the final quarter but couldn’t ever sit comfortably on their lead as the Sixers stayed within single digit range. Raukawa knocked down a triple on the 3 minutes remaining mark before O’Riley and NesonSt’s Karl Noyer embarked on a personal shooting dual. O’Riley scored three consecutive triples and Noyer two plus a baseline drive to conclude an entertaining game.

Final score;

Mai88 Sixers 102 – Raukawa 25, Allen 22, Friday 18, O’Riley 16, Anthony Jones 11

68NelsonStreet 108 – Tait 38, Haku 21, Noyer 13, Lacey 12, Aruwa 10.

Standings after 4 rounds:

68 NelsonSt 3-1

Breakers development and The Birdmen 2-2

Mai88 Sixers 1-3

Breakers numbers ahead of Melbourne clash


Prior to the 86-74 win in Sydney on Thursday night the four consecutive away defeats suffered by the Breakers to commence the season had been the first occasion this has occurred since 2009 when the opening five road games were lost.

Against the Kings Tom Abercrombie recorded a second successive double double – 11 points and 15 rebounds.

The 15 rebounds were a career high tally.

The in form Abercrombie also passed 900 rebounds, fourth all time for the Breakers, behind Vukona (1,848), (Boucher (941) and Pepper (935).

 Cedric Jackson dished his 700th assist for the Breakers becoming just the second player after Paul Henare (902) to reach this mark. He now has 706 assists in 107 games at a mighty impressive 6.6apg.

Corey Webster with 17 points became the 12th Breakers player to pass 1200 points for the club.

A resurgent Alex Pledger’s 3 blocked shots took him one ahead of Tom Abercrombie on the Breakers all time shot blocking list. Pledger has 163 blocks to his name and Abercrombie 162.

Last week v Perth Wildcats

 The fifth consecutive home win is the first time the club have remained unbeaten in the opening five home games of a season.

Cedric Jackson with 4 steals became just the second Breakers player after Dillon Boucher (289) to record 250 steals.

Boucher commits to the Rangers


Dillon Boucher, a total of 13 NZ and Australian NBL titles

The James Blond Super City Rangers today confirmed that Dillon Boucher has been re-signed as player-assistant coach for the next three NBL seasons. Continue reading


Impressive 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks by Josie Stockill

It was a good week for Tall Ferns overseas with a major milestone for Micaela Cocks, bragging rights for Stella Beck and an outstanding opening day performance from Josie Stockill Continue reading

Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam – Women Round 3

37 points from Zara Jillings including 6 threes

37 points from Zara Jillings including 6 threes

The Waikato sisters Charlisse and Krystal Leger-Walker debuted for opposing teams in the third round of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam. Continue reading

Braswell, Tait and Ili shine

41 points from Kevin Braswell helps The Birdmen to a win.

41 points from Kevin Braswell helps The Birdmen to a win.

Round three of the 2015 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam opened with a full strength Breakers Development team carrying out a second half demolition of 68NelsonStreet winning 127-85. Continue reading


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