Jillian Harmon in excellent form in Italy

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Jillian Harmon was absent from the Tall Ferns successful Commonwealth Games campaign due to Italian League club commitments and things have been going well for the 31-year old power forward in the last couple of weeks.

During the Games Napoli safely negotiated their way through the best of three quarter-final series against Le Mura Lucca. Lucca were the club Harmon led to the title last year and she played a leading role in eliminating them from the 2018 title race.

Napoli lost the first game but bounced back to claim victories in the next two encounters with the Tall Fern averaging 16.3 points and 11.3 rebounds across the series. Napoli claimed game three 55-51 with Harmon producing a game winning double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds.

Napoli are now locked in a semi-final series with perennial finalists Familia Schio who finished top of the league after the regular season with a 20-2 record.

It didn’t look good for Napoli when they dropped game one 72-57 but they bounced back in style in the second game winning 75-66 on the road with Harmon again prominent. She came up with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a couple of steals.

This is a five game series and the two teams will clash again on Wednesday in Napoli.

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Will Heather commits to Dallas Baptist

 

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William Heather is the latest Kiwi to be offered a basketball scholarship in the USA.

The former Rosmini College and Hastings Boys High student has committed to Dallas Baptist University. DBU, known as the Patriots, are an NCAA Division II university and play in the Heartland Conference.

The Patriots were Heartland Conference champions in both 2018 and 2016 and beaten finalists in 2017.

The Heartland Conference already has a strong Kiwi link:

Former Westlake Boys player Yanni Wetzell went to St Mary’s Texas before transferring to Vanderbilt.

Waikato guard Nikau McCullough is a sophomore – also at St Mary’s

Oscar Oswald from Palmerston North Boys will begin his scholarship at St Edwards University at the same time as Will.

Originally from the Hawkes Bay, Heather moved to Auckland in 2015 to further his basketball playing opportunities.

Last year he was a key member of the Rosmini College Premier Basketball team that won the Secondary Schools National Championship.

He scored 15 points in the final against defending champions Rangitoto College and a team high 25 points in the semi-final win against Christ’s College.

Heather was also a member of the New Zealand team that finished fourth at the FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup in Chengdu, China last year.

Heather is delighted at the prospect of heading to Dallas later in the year.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play college basketball in the States since I was in intermediate school.

“So many people have helped me achieve this dream. Not only my family, who have all made sacrifices for me, but also the various coaches along the way including Matt Lacey, Curtis Wooten and my older brothers Sonny and Geoff, and all of my representative coaches.

“Many people in the Rosmini College community have also supported me academically, financially and spiritually. I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for a young guy from the Hawkes Bay during the last three years.

“Finally a big thanks to Harbour Basketball and Hawkes Bay Basketball for giving me the opportunities to further my basketball development.

“I’m really looking forward to heading to DBU to meet up with the team and the coaching staff,” he added.

Heather is believed to be the first Rosmini College student to gain an NCAA college basketball scholarship.

Rosmini Head Coach Matt Lacey is delighted that William is able to fulfill his long held desire to play NCAA college basketball.

“William has worked hard on all aspects of his game since arriving at Rosmini College early in 2015.

“The chance to play at DBU is an opportunity for William to showcase the skills that he is blessed with. He has great touch and footwork and possesses an inside game that will flourish under Head Coach Blake Flickner and his staff at DBU.

“Most importantly William is a good person and teammate that wants to do well and continually strives to get better, attributes that I believe will serve him well with the Patriots.

We at Rosmini College will be following his progress closely and I sincerely hope he is not the last student from our school to join the DBU men’s basketball programme.”

Auckland Dream win inaugural Ross Williams Cup

 

IMG_1127Auckland Dream gained early season bragging rights over Harbour Breeze with a 55-48 victory in the first Ross Williams Cup game held at Epsom Girls Grammar School on Friday night.

Ross Williams, a Basketball New Zealand Life Member, gave over 50 years service to basketball, and the women’s game in Auckland was particularly dear to his heart. If he had been able to attend the encounter on Friday Ross would have enjoyed the occasion, as two evenly matched teams went toe to toe in front of a good crowd.

Shauna Povey and Paddy Pupuke-Robati shared all of Auckland’s first quarter points but the Breeze shaded the period 13-11 as Tabitha Jenkins scored just prior to the break.

The second quarter was all the Dream. Povey moved into double figures as the hosts won the frame 13-6, to take a 24-19 lead into the locker room at the interval.

Jazz Kailahi-Fulu made a couple of inside baskets for the Breeze but triples from Stevee-Rose Theyers and Leiani Tautiepa pushed the Dream advantage into double figures. A late third period flourish from former Westlake teammates Mareta Davidson and Keeley Tini dragged the Breeze to within three at the last break – down 38-35.

Luye Murphy scored five quick points to start the fourth, but Tini and Kailahi-Fulu kept the Breeze in touch and when Morgan Ili scored inside it was a two-point game (48-46) with three minutes to play.

Sharne Pupuke-Robati and Kailahi-Fulu exchanged baskets but although the Breeze had opportunities to level it was the Dream that finished the stronger closing out a seven point win.

The two teams will lock horns again in a couple of weeks when they play the opening game of the 2018 Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) in Tauranga on May 4th.

In the curtain raiser St Mary’s College, Ponsonby defeated Orewa College 80-32. The win means St Mary’s replace Orewa in the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Grade for the 2018 season.

FINAL;

Auckland Dream 55 – Povey 14, P Pupuke-Robati 12, S Pupuke-Robati 9, L Murphy 5

Harbour Breeze 48 – J Kailahi-Fulu 14, M Ili 9, T Jenkins 7, K Tini 7, M Davidson 6

Deserved bronze for Tall Ferns

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The veterans and the rookie carried the Tall Ferns to an emphatic win in the Commonwealth Games bronze medal game.

Nat Taylor, Micaela Cocks and Charlisse L-W shone at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Saturday night.

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Tall Ferns have little time to recover from Australian mauling

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The Tall Ferns aspire to be world class but last night on the Gold Coast they were shown there is a long way to go to reach that level as they were beaten 109-50 by a classy Australian outfit.

The Opals were just too big and too good, demonstrating why they are a powerhouse in the women’s game.

Micaela Cocks believes the team can bounce back for the bronze medal game against Canada today. It will take a mighty effort.

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Tall Ferns semi-final bound at Commonwealth Games

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Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Natalie Taylor and Micaela Cocks the Tall Ferns will head to the Gold Coast today with the opportunity to play for a medal.

Cocks, the only surviving member of the 2006 silver medal winning team is the leading scorer (59 points at 14.8ppg) for the Tall Ferns at the Games. Her 19 points against Mozambique along with Taylor’s 25 points were crucial in the win against Mozambique.

 

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Harbour college players – seven of the best

 

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Seven former Harbour men played college basketball in the States during the recently completed 2017/18 season.

Here we take a look at how they performed.

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It was a good day for the Tall Ferns

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As Tall Ferns coach Buy Molloy mused, “It’s not every day that happens.”He was of course referencing the fact that Prince Charles was introduced to the two teams after the Tall Ferns 90-55 win against India.

Equally he could have been referring to his team racking up 90 points and cruising to a third straight win in Pool B at the Commonwealth Games. The team have done all that was expected of them, and probably a bit more and the coach is delighted, “I’m full ofpraise for the team,” he said.

The Tall Ferns now head to Townsville and a likely quarter-final match up against Mozambique. The prospect is enticing for experienced guard Micaela Cocks who has played for the Townsville Fire in the Australian WNBL for the past seven seasons.

“I think we will get lots of support with lots of familiar faces supporting us.” And her thoughts on meeting royalty? “We were told we didn’t have to courtesy which was a relief.’

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Tall Ferns made short work of Malaysia

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The Tall Ferns conceded the first basket of the game to Malaysia but thereafter completely dominated proceedings on the opening night of the Commonwealth Games Basketball Tournament eventually winning 86-44.

From Kalani Purcell bossing the boards, Micaela Cocks dropping threes and point guards Jordan Hunter and Erin Rooney setting the tempo New Zealand were in charge for most of the tie.  Debutant Charlisse Leger-Walker looked as if she had played a dozen games at the senior level and was even included in the starting five.

There are bigger fish to fry but it was an encouraging start to Guy Molloy’s tenure as head coach.

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Fotu scores 20 points and the Wester’s accumulate 42 points in Europe

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In Germany Tai Webster powered his way to a game high 26 points (8/14 2PG, 3/4 3PG, 1/2 FT) as Frankfurt Skyliners comfortably beat Mitteldeutscher 83-67. The Skyliners remain seventh on the Bundesliga table with a 16-12 record. In front of over 4,000 home fans Webster also had five rebounds and a couple of steals.

It was the seventh 20+ points haul of the season for Tai who is averaging 15.4 points per game and sits inside the top ten scorers in the Bundesliga.

Despite Ratiopharm Ulm going down 94-87 to Telekom Bonn, Isaac Fotu still managed to put together a fine individual performance. He went 8 from 12 from the floor and three from three from the foul line on his way to 20 points. In addition he swept up 11 rebounds (5 off the offensive glass) and effected a couple of steals.

It was his highest rebounding haul of the season and his first double-double of the campaign.

Ulm are ninth on the Bundesliga table with a 14-12 record.

Corey Webster put together a fine stats line adding 3 steals, 4 assists and 4 rebounds to 16 points but it wasn’t enough to stop Ironi Nahariya sliding to a sixth straight loss in the Israeli Winner League. Nahariya went down 99-81 to Hapoel Holon and have slipped to a share of bottom place on the twelve-team table with a 7-15 record.

In Italy Jillian Harmon and her Napoli team enjoyed an Easter break ahead of their quarter-final play-off series with her former club Lucca.

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