2001-2002 Tall Blacks flash back

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It certainly doesn’t seem 15 years ago that the Tall Blacks sealed an historic victory against the Australian Boomers to win the FIBA Oceania Championships and book a passage to the 2002 World Championships.

The Tall Blacks won the first fixture of the three game series in Wellington 85-78 but when the second game was lost  81-79 in overtime, the following day, at Mystery Creek many felt the hosts had lost their chanced to progress.

However a third game in as many days went the way of the Kiwis 89-78 in front of a raucous crowd at North Shore Events Centre and history was made. The Tall Blacks led 70-67 at three-quarter time and turned the defensive screws in the final period keeping the Boomers to just 11 points.

Aussie coach Phil Smythe is probably still having nightmares about game three but for all associated with New Zealand basketball the series and that result on September 23rd, 2001 will stay long in the memory.

The Tall Blacks team reads like a who’s who of New Zealand Basketball from the past couple of decades with a good number likely to feature if selecting an All-Time Tall Blacks team (and coaching combo).

Dickel, Jones and Cameron would be guaranteed spots with Boucher and Henare both coming into the reckoning as role players from the 2001 group. Sean Marks from the World Champs squad would compliment Pero nicely in the front court.

The New Zealand team that defeated Australia;

4 Mark Dickel
5 Judd Flavell
7 Paul Henare
8 Phill Jones
9 Brendon Cathie-Pongia
10 Dillon Boucher
11 Pero Cameron
12 Tony Rampton
14 Willie Burton
15 Damon Rampton
Head Coach: Tab Baldwin, Assistant Coach: Nenad Vucinic,

The Australian team:
5 Brett Maher
6 Scott McGregor
7 Glen Saville
8 Daniel Egan
10 Darryl McDonald
11 Matthew Neilsen
12 Ben Melmeth
13 Axel Dench
14 Derek Moore
15 Ben Knight
Head Coach: Phil Smyth, Assistant Coach: Steve Breheny, Assistant Coach Gordie McLeod,

The squad that went to Indianapolis in 2012:
4 Mark Dickel
5 Judd Flavell
6 Kirk Penney
7 Paul Henare
8 Phill Jones
9 Paora Winitana
10 Dillon Boucher
11 Pero Cameron
12 Damon Rampton
13 Ed Book
14 Sean Marks
15 Robert Hickey

Jordan Hunter signs for Adelaide

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Adelaide Lightning have announced that Tall Ferns point guard Jordan Hunter has signed on for the 2016-17 Australian Women’s National Basketball League season.

Hunter will provide the Lightning with added depth in their guard line up.

The 26 year old has been a regular in the New Zealand team since debuting against Japan in 2010 and played all fifteen games during this year’s international programme.

After completing her studies at St Kentigern College in Auckland Hunter headed to Crowder Community College in the States. She later transferred to Southeast Missouri State University, graduating in 2014. She averaged 8.8 points and a team-leading 3.7 assists for the Redhawks in her senior year.

Since then Hunter has been a stand out in the New Zealand Women’s Basketball Championships (WBC) helping her team, Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks, finish runners-up in 2015. Hunter led the competition in points (20.3ppg) and assists (4.5apg) that season.

Tall Ferns assistant Chris Lucas is at the helm of the Lightning where the Kiwi international playmaker has been training for the past few weeks. During her stay she has made a strong impression on Lucas.

“Jordan brings international experience and has worked for her chance to play in the WNBL,” Lucas told the Adelaide Advertiser.

Hunter is delighted to have been afforded the opportunity to join the Lightning.

“I am extremely privileged to get the chance to play. Chris offered me an opportunity to come over and earn my spot on the team, so I was very relieved to know I had secured a contract for the Lightning.

“Chris has gathered a great bunch of girls, the chemistry between us off court is definitely helping us out on court as we have a mixture of young girls and then some awesome veterans both in the squad and on our coaching staff.

“We’re excited and we’re all working hard for this upcoming season,” she added.

Hunter’s signing brings to five the number of Kiwi internationals that will feature in the WNBL this season.

Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast have re-signed with 2016 champions Townsville Fire, Toni Edmondson has remained with Perth Lynx and Jess Bygate has joined Melbourne Boomers.

Akiene Reed – A young player with ambition

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There are a growing number of the top basketball achievers in our high schools, both male and female, gaining scholarships at American colleges. For the young women players the path has been trodden by many before, for example, thirteen of the sixteen players that represented the Tall Ferns in 2016 graduated from, or are currently in, the American college system.

Many of the current crop of Junior Tall Ferns have an eye on a similar route.

A less common basketball/academic path explored by Kiwi teenagers is the United States High School route.

Leaving the comforts of the family home in early teenage years is not for everyone but Junior Tall Fern Akiene Reed is doing just that.

Following the series against China, and a stand out performance in game two where the languid guard scored a game high twenty points and added 8 rebounds and 4 steals, she spoke about her experiences in America.

Reed will be returning to Life Centre Academy, New Jersey for a third and final year after leaving Westlake Girls High School and the family home on Auckland’s north shore mid way through Year 10.

In the past two seasons Reed has played 93 games for Life Centre, known as the Warriors, and is only 37 points shy of 1,000 points for the team.

The Warriors play in the NISAA (National Independent Schools Athletic Association) League and the 188cm guard averages 16.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in one of the premier high school conferences in the US.

During the season the Warriors have a busy schedule often playing four games a week and it is the volume of games and the intensity of the fixtures that drew Reed to the USA.

“In New Zealand the players definitely have the fundamentals and the skills but the intensity back in the US is a lot higher. There are so many players competing for spots that it is very intense. The attraction is that you get to play a lot and get game time under your belt.

“In our conference we have really good competition, it’s said to be the best in the country, and this means every game is really tough,” said Reed.

The level of competition is beneficial for a player that has ambitions to play college basketball.

“For me it is largely about basketball and getting a Division 1 college scholarship.

I’ve had interest from colleges but I haven’t made a decision yet but I will decide later this year where I will go. A lot of the seniors in my year decided a long time ago, so I’m kind of late” she said.

She also points out that academic achievement is also important.

“Our coach is high on players maintaining their academic standards. We have to sign a contract that covers playing standards, off court behaviour and academic standards. You need to stay off the ‘D’ list otherwise you get stood down from games.”

Reed initially headed to California in Year 9 for schooling but in her words “I hated it. I didn’t like the school or the area and the standard of basketball wasn’t very good.”

Fortunately second time around things have worked out well. “I had a clear mind on what I had to get done, I was prepared and knew what my goals were.”

One of her immediate goals is rejoining the Junior Tall Ferns for the Oceania Championships in December. Amusingly for someone who doesn’t turn 18 until later this month she was surprised how young the team is (nine of the squad are younger than Akiene).

“I haven’t played with many of these girls before – some of the girls are really young but they have great skills.

“I love it being part of the team and I am looking forward to taking on the Australians later in the year,” she added.

For now it’s back to the classroom and practice court in New Jersey and another few months away from friends and family.

Breakers go down to Bullets in Tauranga

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Akil Mitchell impressed on Breakers debut

The SKYCITY Breakers began their three game pre-season tour with an 80-70 loss against the Brisbane Bullets last night in front of an enthusiastic crowd of close to 3,000 at ASB Arena.

Much interest focused on the performances of new American imports Ben Woodside and Akil Mitchell and both exhibited moments of class.

Woodside (7 points/4rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals), as expected with his Europen experience, look a fine distributor and facilitator whilst also posessing the capacity to knock down the open shot.

With Loe and Vukona in foul trouble Mitchell played more minutes than perhaps anticipated demonstrating athletic capability on defence, speed in transition and a nice touch around the hoop. The man from North Carolina led the Breakers scoring with 15 points, 2 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

The Breakers began the game with a predictable lineup of Woodside, Corey Webster, Tom Abercrombie, Mika Vukona and Rob Loe.

An Abercrombie three started the score rolling for the Breakers who trailed narrowly, 24-23 at quarter time.

Scoring slowed in the second period but with 8 points from Webster and 6 apiece from Abercrombie, Loe and Vukona the scores were locked 37 apiece at half-time.

A highlight of the half was Brisbane swingman Torrey Craig leaping over the scorebench officials in an attempt to execute an intercept.

The Breakers suffered a blow early in the second half when centre Rob Loe had to sit down after picking up his fourth foul. With Vukona also in foul trouble it was left to rookie Finn Delany and new man Mitchell to battle the experienced Brisbane front court.

Despite three points and a shuddering block from Mitchell the Breakers found themselves trailing 57-45 with three minutes remaining in the period and needing a timeout.

A trio of free throws from Isaih Tueta, another basket from Mitchell, and Webster in transition, the deficit was reduced to 59-52 at three-quarter time.

Four minutes into the final quarter the Brisbane lead was twelve points, 68-56.

Despite an And 1 play from Woodside and a triple from Webster the visitors still held sway, 75-65, as Vukona fouled out with three minutes to play.

Mitchell demonstrated he is a fine addition to the Breakers roster with two late baskets but the Bullets lead was never threatened as they eased to a ten point win.

The two teams will meet again in Napier on Thursday needing to address the rebounding count (39-25 in favour of Brisbane) and the perimeter shooting (6 from 28 at 21%). The third and final hit out is in Invercargill on Saturday.

Final Score:

Breakers 70 – Mitchell 15/3 blocks/ 2 steals, Webster 13, Abercrombie 11, Tueta 8, Woodside 7/ 4 assists/3 steals, Loe 7/7 rebs/3 blocks,

Brisbane 80 – Craig 20, Young 12, Jervis 12, Petrie 10

Akiene Reed stars but Junior Tall Ferns lose

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Despite a 20 points haul from Akiene Reed the New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns (JTFs) were beaten 76-58 by China Under 19 in Christchurch on Thursday. It was the second defeat in two days for the Kiwis.

China scored the opening basket of the game, but Charlisse Leger-Walker replied on the opening New Zealand offence, Akiene Reed scoring on the second.

Southland’s Aliyah Dunn and Waikato’s Kendell Heremaia converted in the paint but the Junior Tall Ferns trailed 24-12 at quarter time.

New Zealand’s defence improved early in the second period but struggled to score in the half court forcing coach Brent Matehaere to call a timeout with his charges 26-15 down.

Reed, Leger-Walker and Esra McGoldrick scored from the foul line but remarkably the JTF’s went eight minutes without a field goal before Reed pierced the China defence. Reed then landed a triple but China boasted a healthy 38-26 half-time lead.

Reed led the JTF’s scoring with 9 points but finding ways to improve the 7 from 26 (27%) shooting from the field was the major concern for Coach Matehaere to address in the locker room during the interval.

Reed continued her good first half form with the opening score of the second half, then Zara Jillings cut the deficit to single figures.

Spurred on by a sizeable Chinese contingent in the crowd the visitors seized on a couple of JTF’s turnovers to increase their advantage to 48-33 at the mid point in the third.

McGoldrick scored inside and Tiarna Clarke a floater, but baskets continued to be hard to come by for the JTF’s as the China lead extended to 60-41 at three-quarter time.

Clarke scored again with a baseline jump shot to open fourth quarter proceedings and Reed (20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals), the standout for the Kiwis on the night, converted an ‘And 1’ play.

Cantabrian Charlotte Whittaker then scored in the paint much to the delight of the home support, and the lead was cut to 64-51 with 7 minutes to play.

Jiaqi Wang halted the home team run with a three and although the JTF’s found scores from Clarke, Jillings and Whittaker, they were unable to threaten the Chinese lead and fell to a second loss on consecutive nights.

JTF’s head coach Brent Matehaere was proud of his team’s showing against the number one ranked team in Asia, but realizes there is still plenty of work to do.

“Our forwards were tremendous but our transition game let us down tonight. We need to learn to play at speed, however we are still in a building stage and we will take plenty from these two games as we move forward”, he said.

“The play went Akiene Reed’s way tonight and she was outstanding but we need contributions from seven or eight players each game,” he added.

The JTFs always knew the China side were going to be a tough team to beat. While the New Zealand players are still at school with an average age of just 17 years, and come together as a team to train four or five weeks of the year, it is far from the Chinese intensive programme. In contrast the Chinese team is together for eight months of the year playing in a professional league in their home country with just one player still at college – the remainder are full time basketball players.

Coach Matehaere says the experience from the two-game series will be invaluable for the young Kiwis as they look to the FIBA Oceania Championships, in Fiji, this December. The Championships will double as the Qualifying Tournament for the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Championships to be held in Italy.

Final Score:
NZ Junior Tall Ferns 64 – Reed 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, Leger-Walker 7, Whittaker 7/7, Clarke 6, Jillings 6
China 72 – Han Xu 16, Li Yuan 13, Jaiqi Wang 10, Cao Yijia 10

Junior Tall Ferns Squad:
• Tiarna Clarke (North Harbour)
• Aliyah Dunn (Southland)
• Kendell Heremaia (Waikato)
• Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato)
• Joellen How (Taranaki)
• Zara Jillings (North Harbour)
• Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato)
• Esra McGoldrick (Canterbury)
• Bayley Ransfield (Taranaki)
• Tera Reed (North Harbour)
• Stirling Walker-Pitman (Waikato)
• Charlotte Whittaker (North Canterbury)

Junior Tall Ferns beaten by China

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The opening game of the two tests series between the New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns (JTFs) and China Under 19, played in front of a large vociferous young crowd at Cowles Stadium Christchurch on Wednesday, was eventually won 72-64 by China.

New Zealand made a good start as Charlisse Leger-Walker, Tiarna Clarke and Charlotte Whittaker made early baskets to forge a 7-2 lead.

Stung into action, China tied the scores at 15 points apiece, then dominated the back end of the quarter by capitalising on New Zealand turnovers to lead 27-22. Leger-Walker led the JTF’s scoring effort with 8 points.

Zara Jillings made the opening basket of the second period followed by Akiene Reed as New Zealand kept the China offence in check. Alyssa Hirawani’s drive took the Kiwi’s to within a point, 30-29 before 205cm Xu Han was reintroduced to keep the JTF’s front court busy.

Leger-Walker landed a three and Reed a jump shot before Leger-Walker gave New Zealand the lead 39-37 from the foul line. That prompted a China timeout followed by the tying basket from Ru Zhang.

Both teams struggled to find the basket early in the third but an 8-0 China run prompted JTF’s coach Brent Matehaere to call a timeout.

Aliyah Dunn connected with a couple of free throws after the restart but a Jiaqi Wang triple extended the China advantage to 57-44. A 22-9 period in favour of the visitors gave China a significant 61-48 lead at three-quarter time.

The New Zealand offence continued to splutter, another 6-0 run from China extending their lead to twenty points, 68-48.

Local favourite Esra McGoldrick finally got the JTF’s score moving with a strong left hand finish and a Jillings ‘And 1’ play continued a mini run; 68-53 with under five minutes to play.

Clarke, Jillings and the impressive Leger-Walker (21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals) continued the resurgence forcing China to call a timeout with three minutes to play as their lead was trimmed to 70-59.

Three points from Clarke and a drive from Reed, 70-64, with 1:36 to play and the Canterbury crowd were in full voice behind the home team.

The 7-0 New Zealand run was broken by a Wang free throw. New Zealand were unable to capitalise on a couple of scoring opportunities, China edging a tight one 72-64.

JTF’s Head Coach Brent Matehaere admitted before the game that it was going to be a mighty challenge taking on one of the Asian powerhouse teams. He said the challenge for him and his team will be to replicate the first half effort for a full twenty minutes when the two teams return to Cowles Stadium for the second game on Thursday at 7.30pm.

“I thought we coped well with their tall timber but it was their perimeter shooting in the third period that hurt us the most.

“We will go back and look at the tape and see what we can improve on for tomorrow. Going with a smaller lineup in the fourth and playing running basketball certainly drew the crowd into the game. Perhaps it is something we can do more of in Game Two,” he said.

Final Score:
NZ Junior Tall Ferns 64 – Leger-Walker 21/5steals, Reed 12/7rebounds, Jillings 9, Clarke 8, Whittaker 5/7, McGoldrick 4/9, Hirwani 3, Dunn2
China 72 –Ru Zhang 13, Jiaqi Wang 12, Saiqi Jia 11

The games against China are a key component of the team’s preparation for the FIBA Oceania Championships, in Fiji, this December. The Championships will double as the Qualifying Tournament for the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Championships.

Junior Tall Ferns Squad:
• Tiarna Clarke (North Harbour)
• Aliyah Dunn (Southland)
• Kendell Heremaia (Waikato)
• Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato)
• Joellen How (Taranaki)
• Zara Jillings (North Harbour)
• Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato)
• Esra McGoldrick (Canterbury)
• Bayley Ransfield (Taranaki)
• Tera Reed (Life Centre Academy, New Jersey, USA)
• Stirling Walker-Pitman (Waikato)
• Charlotte Whittaker (North Canterbury)

Junior Tall Ferns prepare for two games v China U19 this week

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Following a busy week helping their respective schools qualify for the Secondary Schools National Tournament later in the year the Junior Tall Ferns squad has gathered in Christchurch for a two game series against the China Under 19 team. The two games will be played on Wednesday and Thursday at Cowles Stadium.

Head coach Brent Matehaere admits that preparation for the series has not been ideal but is philosophical about the challenge ahead.

“Preparations are always difficult when the players are based all over New Zealand. The girls have been focused on qualifying their schools for Secondary Schools National Championships in the past week but have now turned their attention to the China series.

“The girls had individual skill sets to work on while away from the team environment and there are a number of really supportive coaches who give up there time to work with them.  It’s the Kiwi way to just get on and do it, doing the best we can with what we have.  I’m always impressed with the girls and the improvements that they make from one camp to the next.  It really shows the commitment they have to the programme and ultimately to themselves and the opportunities that they are creating for themselves by taking their individual games to the next level.

“What we don’t have in preperation time we will have to replace with heart and desire,” said Matehaere

The games against China are a key component of the team’s preparation for the FIBA Oceania Championships, in Fiji, this December. The Championships will double as the Qualifying Tournament for the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Championships.

Matehaere and his squad are not unfamiliar with the opposition style of play as they played nine games in China back in April.

“China are fierce competitors. They play aggressive defence with full court ball pressure and force teams to play a long way from the basket.  They train relentlessly and play the same way,” he said.

The opportunity to play a home international series has created an air of anticipation in the JTF’s camp.

“The girls take a huge amount of pride in playing for New Zealand. It is an honour to stand, look up to our flag and sing the national anthem.

“Many of the girls have family travelling to the game and to have their support is invaluable.  I was recently at a tournament in Dunedin where many of the teams were talking about getting along to the game especially the Wednesday encounter.

“It would be great to see Cowles Stadium packed with fans passionate about basketball supporting the Junior Tall Ferns and their own local players in Charlotte Whittaker (Rangiora High School) and Esra McGoldrick (Rangi Ruru Girls),” Matehaere said.

The New Zealand team has a good dose of international experience. Four of the players, Zara Jillings and the Waikato trio of Charlisse Leger-Walker, Alyssa Hirawani and Kendell Heremaia, were members of the New Zealand team that finished fifth at the FIBA Under 18 3×3 World Championships in Kazakhstan in June. In addition, Charlotte Whittaker and Tiarne Clarke both played for the New Zealand Select team against China B in Auckland over Queens Birthday weekend.

Junior Tall Ferns Squad:

  • Tiarna Clarke (North Harbour)
  • Aliyah Dunn (Southland)
  • Kendell Heremaia (Waikato)
  • Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato)
  • Joellen How (Taranaki)
  • Zara Jillings (North Harbour)
  • Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato)
  • Esra McGoldrick (Canterbury)
  • Bayley Ransfield (Taranaki)
  • Tera Reed (Life Centre Academy, New Jersey, USA)
  • Stirling Walker-Pitman (Waikato)
  • Charlotte Whittaker (North Canterbury)

 Games – Junior Tall Ferns v China Under 19

  • Game 1: Wednesday, 7 September, tip off 1.00pm
  • Game 2: Thursday, 8 September, tip off 7.30pm

Both games will be played at Cowles Stadium, Christchurch.

Bygate and Kereama clinch title in style

 

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The Sunbury Jets, with Tall Fern Jess Bygate to the fore, have gone 24-0 this season and in the process claimed the Big V Division 1 title.

On Saturday the Jets, leading the best of three grand final series 1-0, comfortably disposed of Geelong Supercats 79-54 to clinch the title – Bygate contributed 12 points in the win. The starting power forward shot 5 from 8 from the field and added a couple of free throws in 23 minutes of action.

Having won 62-41 in Geelong the previous weekend the Jets were pushed, until half-time at least, on their own court.

Sunbury trailed 7-2 early in the game but recovered to lead 18-16 at quarter time extended to 37-27 at half-time.

The Kennedy Kereama coached Jets secured the title in the third with a blistering 27-10 period in front of an enthusiastic crowd packed into the Hangar.

Kereama, also head coach of the Tall Ferns of course, was naturally extremely satisfied with his team’s achievements.

“I am really proud of my team going undefeated, the only State League team in Australia to do it. To win a championship after putting in so much hard work is a nice reward for the players, staff and club. It was even better to do it on our home floor where we could share it with our home supporters and members.

“We have built a programme that prides itself on defence and that plays unselfish offence on the other end of the floor. Statistically we have led the league at both ends.

“I have been lucky enough to be able to bring in a few players I have coached in state leagues around Victoria from my SEABL days and to bring in an incredible import in Courtney Duever plus a national team member in Jess Bygate. Then I had a great blend of local talent. All these players have completely brought into my style of play and worked their butts off!

“So it’s great to be rewarded with a championship on our home court,” Kereama added.

The success of Kereama and Bygate brings the curtain down on 11 months of continuous action by out Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks overseas.

There will only be a short lull before the action begins again in the Australian NBL and WNBL in October. The European season also begins in early October with the American College season tipping off in November.

Westlake Girls and Rangitoto claim Zone 1 Titles

Rangitoto College and Westlake Girls were crowned Premiership champions on the final day of the 2016 Zone 1 Secondary Schools National Championships Qualifying Tournament at the North Shore Events Centre on Saturday. Both teams produced dominant displays to win their respective titles.

Equally significantly the seven qualifiers (both Boys and Girls) for the National Championships in Palmerston North in October were decided.

Rangitoto  retained the Boys title with a resounding 91-57 win against Auckland Grammar School.

Rangitoto scored the last 11 points of the opening quarter to lead 23-12 at the break.

The Grammar chances were dealt two major blows in the second quarter as starters Connor Flanagan and Taki Fahrensohn departed the game with significant injuries. Rangitoto took full advantage to stretch the lead beyond twenty points, 47-21, at half-time.

The influential Dan Fotu had 11 points at the break to led all scorers, the sidelined Fahrensohn half a dozen for Grammar.

Unfortunately Fahrensohn (pinched nerve in the arm) and Flanagan (severe ankle sprain) were unable to take any further part in the game although the under resourced AGS outfit kept plugging away.

Guards Thomas Whyte, Rua Winitana and Elijah Andrews, along with Samson Aruwa, kept AGS afloat but they had no answer to the one-two punch of Brayden Inger and Sam Waardenburg. Inger had 14 points in the third period alone.

The Rangi lead was a massive 74-32 at three-quarter time and with the result no longer in doubt the intensity went out of the game in the fourth, both teams heading to Nationals with high expectations.

Final Score: Rangitoto 91 – Inger 24, Fotu 21, Zac Te Puni 10  Auckland Grammar 57 – Aruwa 15, Whyte 12

Earlier in the day Rangitoto avenged their defeat the previous week against Rosmini College in the Auckland Prems Final in some style. Rangi led from start to finish winning the semi-final clash 84-58.

In the second semi-final Auckland Grammar accounted for Westlake Boys in equally convincing fashion winning 87-66.

Boys Final Standings/Results (Top 7 teams Qualify for Nationals)

1st/2nd Rangitoto 91 Auckland Grammar 57

3rd/4 Rosmini 77 Westlake 65

5th/6th Kelston 93 Selwyn 62

7th/8th Mt Albert 107 Whangarei Boys 30

9th/10th St Peter’s 80 Whangaparaoa 67

11th/12th Avondale 87 Takapuna 69

13th/14th Macleans 86 Massey 63

15th/16th Pakuranga 62 Mt Roskill 57

17th’18th Northcote 67 Birkenhead 48

19th/20th Kristin School 54 Southern Cross 43

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With the senior trio of Rosie Davison, Zara Jillings and Tiarna Clarke in dominant form Westlake Girls proved too strong for Auckland Grammar winning the Girls Final 88-52.

Westlake led 46-27 at half-time with the Junior Tall Ferns pairing of Jillings and Clarke connecting with a combined five threes in the session.

Westlake were even more dominant in the third winning the stanza 31-14 as Emme Shearer, Jordyn Maddix and Sophie Dil helped stretch the advantage to 77-42.

Mele Latu, Rionne Papa, Karma Skilton-Roberts and Elianna Tuaiti all made double figure contributions for AGGS but it wasn’t their day as they went down to their heaviest defeat of the season.

Westlake now boast a 3-1 record against the reigning Auckland Premiers and will head to Nationals with confidence high and a trophy in the cabinet.

Final Score: Westlake 88 – Clarke 31, Jillings 28, Davison 14, Shearer 8

Auckland 52 – Papa 14, Skilton-Roberts 12, E Tuaiti 11, Latu 10

The crucial 7th/8th play-off game was won by Epsom Girls who defeated Orewa College 66-61 in overtime after the scores were locked 58 apiece in regulation. Orewa guard Ariana Henare scored 31 points including 13 points from the foul line but 18 points from Sarah Scoular and a further 16 from Aira Benitez carried Epsom to victory and a place at Nationals.

Girls Final Standings/Results (Top 7 teams Qualify for Nationals)

1st/2nd Westlake 88 Auckland Grammar 52

3rd/4th Rangitoto 79 St Kentigern 36

5th/6th  Mt Albert 82 Massey 42

7th/8th Epsom Girls 66 Orewa 61

9th   Rosehill

10th Pakuranga

11th Diocesan

 

 

Still three Boys teams and One Girls team to secure spots at Nationals from Zone 1

The quarter-finals of the Boys Grade and semi-finals of Girls Grade were decided on day three of the Zone 1 2016 Secondary Schools National Championships Qualifying Tournament at the North Shore Events Centre on Friday.

However as much interest, maybe more, is centred on the 5-8 placed classification games (both Boys and Girls) as seven teams head for the National Champs in Palmerston North in October.

In the Boys quarters Rangitoto College demolished Whangarei Boys 129-38. Zack Te Puni led the Rangi scoring rampage with 18 points, one of seven players in double figures. Next best were Logan McIntosh and Kaycee Anibueze with 15 points apiece. Devon Dyer top scored for Whangarei with 11 points.

Rangitoto will face Rosmini College, who produced an equally decisive victory defeating Selwyn College 113-59, in one semi-final. Twenty points hauls from Taine Wattie and Peter Jenkins, plus a double-digit cameo from Samuel Bowden, did most of the damage for Rozza.

James Viloria dropped 21 points for Selwyn.

On the other side of the draw Auckland Grammar beat Kelston Boys 89-62 with Taki Fahrensohn scoring 29 points. Kelston were still in the hunt at three-quarter time only 62-56 down but scored just 6 points in the final period. Thomas Whyte (13pts) landed four triples in the final stanza to help the Grammar cause. The reliable Kale Lawson top scored for Kelston with 18 points.

The Westlake versus Mt Albert Grammar encounter was the closest of the four quarter-finals. MAGS trailed 64-60 with less than four minutes to play but couldn’t find the hoop again. Quality finishes from Reuben Fitzgerald (12 points) and Isaac Letoa down the stretch got Westlake over the line 73-60.

Letoa led all scorers with 29 points, MAGS guard Michael Gardner accumulating 18 points. Lake now turn their attention to the semi-final against Auckland Grammar.

Boys Quarter-Final results:

Rangitoto College 129 Whangarei Boys 38

Westlake Boys 73 Mt Albert Grammar 60

Auckland Grammar 89 Kelston Boys 62

Rosmini College 113 Selwyn College 59

The Boys semi-finals and 5-8 classification games will be staged on Saturday.

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In a Girls semi-final Westlake had little trouble disposing of St Kentigern College winning 95-37 with Tiarna Clarke making 21 points and Piper Manolas 15 points. For St Kentigern captain Summer-Jean Motufoua scored a dozen points.

In the other semi Auckland Girls Grammar demonstrated the form that won them the Auckland Premiership title recently by beating Rangitoto College 76-54. AGGS were never headed after leading 21-9 at quarter time.

Mele Latu scored 23 points and Karma Skilton-Roberts knocked down five triples as she also managed 23 points. Rangi boasted ten different scorers but only Riana Rangi-Brown and Maania Spooner with 10 points apiece reached double figures.

The next two teams in each pool are involved in the play-offs for places 5-8 with the top three earning a spot at Nationals.

Mt Albert Grammar booked their spot with an emphatic win against Orewa College, 104-28. Megan Hoare managed 8 points for Orewa but the MAGS pair of Sharne Pupuke-Robati and Rhyannon Poto who snared a combined 62 points dominated the game.

Massey High also secured a place at Nationals but they had to fight long and hard to get the better of Epsom Girls before eventually winning 71-51, a score line that didn’t do justice to Epsom who trailed by just four points at three-quarter time.

Hui Jing Lee (17 points) and Charlotte Armstrong (15 points) led the Epsom effort with Shauna Povey (17 points) and Laticia Jost (13 points) the best for Massey.

Epsom and Orewa will now have to battle for the one remaining spot at Nationals at 2.15pm on Saturday.