Double for Westlake over Rangitoto College

Westlake's Matthew Freeman in action during the 2014 National Secondary Schools Basketball Championship AA boys' semifinal between Westlake Boys' High School and St Patrick's College Town at Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North, New Zealand on Friday, 3 October 2014. Photo: Dave Lintott /

Westlake’s Matthew Freeman 

Westlake Boys High School ended the unbeaten run of Rangitoto College in the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier competition on Monday night.

Back to back Logan Hunt baskets helped Westlake to an early 8-2 advantage although the introduction off the bench of Rangitoto centre Tai Wynyard paid instant dividends as he scored a quick 7 points and rejected a couple of opposition shots.

Matt Freeman was a pillar of strength in the middle of the Swan’s zone defence and he also found time to lead all scorers with 13 points at half time, the scores tied 33-33.

Point guard Isaac Letoa demonstrated a couple of nice offensive moves to give Westlake a 42-41 lead and the large Westlake supporters contingent were brought to their feet when young forward Tarbo Manyere gave Wynyard some of his own medicine – a blocked shot.

Wynyard was the only player proving a constant threat for Rangi who trailed 49-47 at three quarter time.

Westlake opened the final period with a 12-4 run courtesy of a pair of Logan Hunt triples and a classy Letoa baseline drive.

Entering the final three minutes Westlake led 66-56 before three’s from Dan Fotu and Josia Williams prompted a Rangitoto run that reduced the deficit to six points.

Freeman brought the run to a halt with an emphatic block on a Brayden Inger drive and, with Rangi forced to foul in order to stop the clock, Westlake made no mistake from the foul line.

The poise and determination of the Westlake team must have impressed ‘old boys’ Jack Salt and Tai Webster who were part of a large vociferous crowd watching the game.

Final Score:

Rangitoto College 62 – Wynyard 21p/12r, Williams 10p

Westlake 70 – Freeman 25p/10r, Letoa 17p/7assists, Hunt 14p

The Westlake Girls were also too strong for Rosmini in the Girls Premier competition. Westlake led 55-28 at half time. The lead was never threatened despite a particularly strong performance from Rebecca Hughes but Rangi did improve in the second period.

Westlake was well served by Zara Jillings who threatened a triple double. Also in good form were Katelyn Noyer, Rosie Davison and Tiarna Clarke. Clarke departs this week with the New Zealand team bound for the 3 on 3 Under 18 World Championships in Hungary.

Final score:

Rangitoto College 65 – Hughes 24p, Maania Spooner 11p, Tabatha Jenkins 8p/13r

Westlake Girls 86 – Jillings 20p/11r/8a, Davison 17p, Clarke 16p, Noyer 16p/10r

Tall Blacks quartet star in Europe


La Bruixa d’Or Manresa pulled off the upset of the season in the final round of the Spanish League regular season beating perennial powerhouse Real Madrid (27-6), on their own court, 90-80

Perhaps Real relaxed having already wrapped up the regular season title. Perhaps Real were still enjoying the after glow of winning the European title in midweek. Perhaps Real regarded 1st v 17th as a forgone conclusion.

There certainly wasn’t any sign of an upset early on as Manresa trailed by 10 points at the end of the first quarter. However, needing a win to stave off the threat of relegation the visitors stormed home in the second half to record a stunning 90-80 victory. Isaac Fotu played a major role for Manresa scoring 17 points (6/10FG), securing 3 rebounds and dishing 2 assists.

The Manresa victory meant that Tom Abercrombie and his team Gipuzkoa (10-23) had to travel to CAI Zaragoza (17-16) and secure a win to remain ahead of Manresa on the table. Despite 23 points from Tom Abercrombie Gipuzkoa lost 72-65 and slipped into the second relegation spot on the ladder.

Abercrombie has been used sparingly by Gipuzkoa in his short time at the club, but rewarded with a starting spot the Breakers swingman demonstrated his true capability in the last game of the season. He shot 8 from 12 including 3 from 4 triples to lead all Liga Endesa scorers in round 34.

Sevilla secured their place in the top flight for next season with a win at Gipuzkoa in the last round. They made it two wins in as many weeks with a 77-70 home win against FIATC Joventut. Kirk Penney finished his season with a handy 17 points and 6 rebounds.

Bottom 5 Liga Endesa Standings at the conclusion of the regular season.

14th Andorra 12-22

15th Sevilla12-22

16th La Bruixa d’Or Manresa 11-23

17th Gipuzkoa 10-24

18th Fuenlabrada 8-26

Following four straight wins Mega Leks have lost a couple of games in the Serbian Super League after being in a position to win both encounters against the top two teams in the competition.

On Thursday they went down 90-86 to Crvena Zvezda then at the weekend lost 96-95 in overtime to Partizan Belgrade.

Crvena (8-0) are the current champions and League leaders and an upset was on the cards when Mega led 80-72 with 5 minutes remaining. Corey Webster scored a game high 22 points but would have been disappointed his team couldn’t hold on for a win.

The same scenario presented itself against Partizan, Mega this time were ahead by 10 points with 3 minutes to play but again could not close out the game. The scores were locked at 85 apiece after regulation time, Partizan eventually winning 96-95.

Webster was less effective against Partizan scoring 4 points and dishing 3 assists as Mega slipped to 4-5, in fourth place on the ladder.

Tall Fern Samara Gallaher, 10pts/4rebs/4assists helped Hume City Broncos stay top of the Australian Big V competition. The Broncos beat McKinnon 65-53 to improve their record to 10-1.

Gallaher briefly returned to New Zealand the previous weekend to help Oceana Gold Rush Otago secure a top six spot in the WBC ahead of the play-offs.

Another Fotu heading for the USA


Ella Fotu has become the second member of her family to earn a scholarship at an American college.

It has just been announced that Fotu has been awarded a scholarship at Boise State University. She will join the Broncos for the 2015-16 season, a team that will boast quite an international flavour with a couple of Spanish players and two Canadian players to compliment the largely American roster.

Ella is the younger sister of Tall Black Isaac Fotu who is currently playing for the delightfully named La Bruixa d’Or Manresa in the Spanish League. Prior to this season, his first as a professional player, Isaac spent two years at the University of Hawaii.

Ella recently played for the Harbour Breeze at the WBC tournament in Christchurch and will again suit up for the defending champions in early June at the Finals tournament in Porirua.

She is likely to head to Boise, Idaho in August.

Rosmini College defeat St Kentigern College

Rosmini College is now 2-2 in the Auckland Premier Basketball competition after a 74-68 home victory against St Kentigern College.

The first half was a low scoring, error-ridden affair, edged by Rosmini 31-29.

The second half was a much more attractive spectacle, both sides more fluent and effective on offense.

On the back of a couple of threes from Ben Turpin the home side opened up a ten point, 44-34 lead in the third quarter. St Kentigern replied with 10 points in the quarter from forward Josh Holroyd – Rosmini ahead 50-45 at three quarter time.

The impressive young backcourt duo of Marvin Williams-Dunn and Kruz Perrott-Hunt played with poise to help Rozza re-establishe a ten point buffer, 61-51.

St Kent’s refused to lie down, Joel Vaiangina leading a scoring spree as the scores were tied 64 apiece with under three minutes to play.

Taine Wattie made the go-ahead play and Perrott-Hunt capped a fine display with further points to ensure Rosmini recorded their second win of the season.

Final Score;

Rosmini College 74 Perrott-Hunt 24, Turpin 14, Wattie 10, Matt Sokol 10.

St Kentigern College 68 – Vaiangina 21, Holroyd 15

Kiwis Abroad

As reported last week the clubs of the three Tall Blacks players based in Spain are each embroiled in the Liga Endesa (Spanish League) relegation battle.

FIBA Stankovic Cup - Angola v Tall Blacks, 8 August 2011

The penultimate round of the regular season pitched 15th placed Gipuzkoa against 16th placed Sevilla, Tom Abercrombie against Kirk Penney.

Both teams entered the game with an identical 10-22 record.

In a thrilling encounter, played in front of 7,500 fans in the impressive San Sebastian Arena, it was Sevilla that stole a critical win to eradicate their threat of relegation.

The scores were tied in the final thirty seconds of play before Sevilla executed a simple pick and roll go-ahead play. Gipuzkoa had just enough time to get off a game leveling shot but it missed and Kirk Penney (10points/4rebouns/4assists) was able to secure the rebound in front of an excited Sevilla bench.

In contrast Gipuzkoa have to lick their wounds and prepare for another relegation game next weekend – Tom Abercrombie played just 4 minutes off the bench for the blue and whites.

Check out video highlights of the game

There was also some relief in Manresa where the home team secured an 81-75 victory against Estudiantes. La Bruixa d’Or Manresa are still very much in the relegation zone but, thanks in part to 10 points and a couple of rebounds from Isaac Fotu they have given themselves a life line.

The one cloud on the horizon for Manresa is that they travel to play League leaders and European Champions Real Madrid next weekend.

Check out video highlights of Isaac’s game

Bottom 5 Liga Endesa Standings with one round to play:

14th Andorra 12-21

15th Sevilla11-22

16th Gipuzkoa 10-23

17th La Bruixa d’Or Manresa 10-23

18th Fuenlabrada 8-24

Corey Webster and his Serbian club Mega Leks have been enjoying a good deal of success of late. Mega Leks had begun their Serbian Super League campaign by losing their first three games but have since improved their record to 4-3.

On Saturday Mega Leks won their fourth straight game, an overtime victory against Vojvodina 88-87. The scores were tied at 79 apiece before Leks secured the win. Webster produced a strong all round performance – 12pts/4rebs/6a/1st.

A couple of days earlier Webster had fouled out in just 19 minutes as Leks defeated FMP 92-83. The shooting guard stil managed 14 points (6/10FG).

Mika Vukona flew back to New Zealand last week following his short stint at the Virtus Acea Roma in Italy after the Roma club failed to make the play offs in the Italian League.

Vukona headed back to Nelson to join up with the Giants for their weekend clash with the James Blond Super City Rangers in the Bartercard NBL. Unfortunately for the Tall Black’s forward the table-topping Giants fell 97-85 to the Rangers. A travel weary Vukona scored 10 points and picked up a couple of rebounds.

At present most overseas Women’s competitions are in their off season. However Australian Big V side Hume City Broncos are in full swing and heading the competition with an 8-1 record.

Tall Fern Samara Gallaher is putting up good numbers for the Broncos averaging 14.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Gallaher briefly returned to New Zealand at the weekend to play for Oceana Gold Rush Otago at the Women’s Basketball Championships in Christchurch.

The trip was well worthwhile as Otago went 6-0 at the weekend to secure a top six finish ahead of WBC Finals weekend in June. Gallaher was in fine form averaging 12.7 points per game.

Rangitoto College now 3-0


Rangitoto College Boys moved to 3-0 on Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Basketball ladder after an entertaining 105-76 home victory over Auckland Grammar.

A fast paced first quarter was edged 27-18 by Rangi as they closed the period with an 8-2 run.

Tai Wynyard opened the second quarter with a baseline drive and emphatic dunk but AGS were more than holding their own in the transition battle. The half finished with Rangitoto in the ascendancy 50-34, forward Sam Waardenburg scoring 20 points at a very efficient 8 of 11 from the field. Connor Flannagan led the AGS effort with 8 points.

Sam Aruwa and Flannagan worked hard on the boards for Grammar but eventually they were overpowered by the WAW factor (Wynyard, Alok, Waardenburg) finally going down 105-76.

The Ollie Bryce coached AGS were paid a back handed compliment with Rangi coach Kenny Stone playing his key men more minutes than has been the case against other opposition

Final Score:

Rangitoto College 105 – Waardenburg 24p/11r, Isaac Davidson 20p, Wynyard 17p/11r, Josiah Williams 14p/8a

Auckland Grammar 76 – Ariwa 14p, Flannagan 12p, Taki Fahrensohn 11p

The Girls game was a much tighter affair with Rangitoto College beating Auckland Girls Grammar School 59-56.

The Rangitoto scoring was headed by Annalina Crosbie (11pts), Tabatha Jenkins (10pts) and Gracie Haster-Ewins (7pts/10rebs).

For AGGS Rionne Papa scored 15 points and Mele Latu 14 points.

WBC Tournament 2 Review


After three days of high quality basketball we now know the top six teams that will contest the play-off rounds of the 2015 Women’s Basketball Championship at Finals weekend in Porirua next month. Harbour Breeze, Waikato Wizards and Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks will join the three South Island teams, Probands Nelson Sparks, Oceana Gold Rush Otago and NZ Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats.

The remaining six teams will contest the Plate competition.

Entering WBC Tournament 2 in Christchurch nine of the twelve teams were still in contention for a top six spot.

Bartercard Taranaki Thunder fell by the wayside when they lost two of their first three games but even entering the last day of competition eight teams remained in the hunt.

Waitakere Lady Rangers were the next to fall. The Rangers lost to both Nelson Sparks and cross-city rivals Harbour Breeze on day two. Facing a must win game against the in form Otago Gold Rush they came up short 71-31. Guards Kezia Kelly and Stevie Theyers both scored double figures but 24 points from Anita Snowdon proved too much for the Rangers.

Capital Flyers entered the weekend second on the ladder with a healthy 5-1 record and a place in the top six all but assured. However, after edging past Nelson on day one, the Flyers proceeded to lose four straight games. The last loss was a close affair against table topping Waikato Wizards. The Flyers trailed 50-39 at three quarter time but pulled to within two points with a minute to play. Despite 19 points from Tegan Graham the Flyers fell just short, 61-56.

The Flyers fate was out of their hands as they awaited the outcome of the Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks versus Tauranga City Coasters clash. A Coasters win would mean the Flyers progress but an ACM win would resign the Flyers to a place in the Plate competition.

Despite a relatively quiet scoring output from Jordan Hunter ACM still had enough firepower to record a 69-52 win. Patricia Pupuke scored 17 points for the Hawks who progressed into the top six.

ACM and Capital flyers ended with the same 6-5 record but ACM progress having defeated the Flyers back in round 1.

Defending champions Harbour Breeze slipped to 3-4 when they lost to Otago on day one and looked to be sliding out of contention. However, the arrival of Penina Davidson who flew in midday Friday after a long flight from the University of California, Berkley changed the team’s fortunes. The Breeze won the next four games and with it a passage into the top half dozen.

Canterbury Wildcats overcame the handicap of losing experienced point guard Shea Crotty in the first game to advance to the top six. Crotty was sidelined with a neck injury but the Wildcats still won four of their five games, with Darcy Rose enjoying a particularly good tournament.

Waikato Wizards progressed serenely through the weekend winning all four of their games to head the WBC ladder with a 10-1 record.

The 30th and final game of the weekend featured Nelson Sparks and Otago Gold Rush. Both teams had already qualified for a top six space so only southern pride was at stake.

The sixth game in three days understandably took it’s toll on the pace and scoring efficiency of both teams. It was the Sparks who suffered the most, managing just seven points in the second half, going down 45-27.

Jodi Hikuroa-Jefrey managed 10 points for the Sparks but had no answer to Jillian Harmon (10pts/23rebs) and 15 points from Samara Gallaher.

Otago join Waikato at the top of the ladder with a 10-1 record, the Sparks settling for third place alongside Canterbury Wildcats.

Despite the loss Nelson coach Tony Rampton was contented with his team’s overall effort.

“I’m really happy with the way the team played. The team have come together well and I am pleased with where we are at.”

Rampton was impressed with the form of Sparks forward Jess Bygate.

“She is a tough competitor, rebounds and shoots the ball well. I would expect her to get a Tall Ferns trial .”

Looking ahead to Porirua the former Tall Black centre believes any one of the top six teams can win the title.“The first day will be critical. With two pools of six you obviously have to win at least one of those two games on day one and then anything can happen.”

It was good to see the three teams at the bottom of the standings secure their first victories of the season. The Coasters, Vols and Thunder each gained some consolation for their efforts.

New Zealand Tall Ferns Head Coach Kennedy Kereama has been delighted with what he has observed.

“My first impression was how the quality has lifted to another level compared with previous tournaments. It’s tremendous to have twelve teams and eight or nine of the teams are very competitive.”

“Another great addition is that teams play each other outside of the three tournaments therefore promoting the game in their local regions”

Kereama was not prepared to speculate on how many players from the WBC will make the Tall Ferns training squad of approximately 24 players when named later this week.

“Certainly a number of players who have played in the WBC and shown their wares are in contention for a place in the squad.”

The Ferns coach is also impressed with the standard of coaching.

“The coaching standard is excellent, most of the coaches have coached New Zealand age group teams or previously coached in the WBC. You have to credit the coaches for the work they have put in and the training schedules they have implemented in order to raise the standard of play.”

Like all basketball fans Kereama is looking forward to the international programme and the WBC Finals to be held over the next few weeks.

WBC Standings

9-1 Oceana Gold Rush Otago, Waikato Wizards

8-3 NZ Home Loans Canterbury Wildcats, Probands Nelson Sparks

7-4 Harbour Breeze

6-5 Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks


6-5 Capital Flyers

5-6 Waitakere Lady Rangers.

3-8 Bartercard Taranaki Thunder.

1-10 Te Tai Tokerau Phoenix, Tauranga City Coasters, Rotorua Lady Vols.

Women’s Basketball Championship Day 1


The team registering the biggest gain on the opening day of Tournament 2 of the 2015 Women’s Basketball Championships in Christchurch was Oceana Gold Rush Otago. Emphasising the closeness of the competition Otago was the only team to record two wins on the day. The double moved them up to second on the overall standings with a 6-1 record. Continue reading

Webster finding his Groove

A large points haul a couple of weeks ago has quickened the scoring pulse of Corey Webster. It was only a friendly encounter in Greece against PAOK that Webster knocked down 27 points but it was just the tonic the Tall Blacks point guard needed. Back in Serbia he has scored 49 points in three outings for his club Mega Leks in the Serbian Super League.

Last week the Tall Blacks guard scored 16 points in the loss to Metalac Farmakom. This was followed by 12 points in the 41 points demolition of Tamis.

On Monday Webster sunk 5 from 7 triples on his way to a game high 21 points as Leks improved their record to 2-3 to move up to fifth (8 teams) in the Super league.

With games coming thick and fast Leks play again on Thursday at FMP Belgrade who have the same 2-3 record

Little Joy for Tall Blacks abroad this week.


Mega Leks picked up its first win in the Serbian Super League defeating Tamis 102-61, a damaging 26-11 second quarter consigned Tamis to their fourth straight loss. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 456 other followers