Fotu and Venezia defeated in EuroCup

Umana Reyer Venezia fell 92-78 at Spanish club Joventut in the EuroCup on Tuesday. Isaac Fotu had a quiet night, playing just over 10 minutes the Tall Blacks forward grabbed 3 rebounds but was 0-3 shooting from the field.

Venezia, with a 1-2 record in the EuroCup are at home to Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul next Wednesday. 

For further news on New Zealand player performances overseas click here:https://nz.basketball/at-a-glance-tall-blacks-and-tall-ferns-abroad/

Gracie Roberts-Hare in fine form then …..

Gracie Roberts-Hare scored 15 points and pulled down 7 rebounds as Lekdetec beat newly promoted Triple Threat in the opening round of the Dutch League last week.

Unfortunately that was where the good news ended for the Waimea College and University of Charleston alumna as the League has been shut down for at least a month due to rising COVID-19 infections in the country.

Roberts-Hare is in her second season with Lekdetec but it may well be some weeks before she can get back on court with over 40,000 new COVID cases reported in Holland last week.

Still in Europe and former Tall Fern Jillian Harmon posted 11 points and 5 rebounds as Schio beat Vigarano 88-49 to make it four wins from four outings in the Italian League.

For further news on New Zealand player performances overseas click here: https://nz.basketball/at-a-glance-tall-blacks-and-tall-ferns-abroad/

Tyrell Harrison best of Kiwis abroad this week

With Tom Vodanovich and Telstar Hesperange having a bye in the Luxembourg League there are just three Tall Blacks performances to reflect on from the weekend

Isaac Fotu was one of just three Venezia players in double figures as they went down 90-72 in Italian League action. The power forward scored 11 points and secured 6 rebounds as Venezia slip to 2-1 at the start of the new season.

Nearer home Tyrell Harrison produced 14 points and 9 rebounds as Southern District Spartans concluded Queensland State League (QSL) regular season play with a loss at the hands of Brisbane Capitals. 

The Spartans conceded a cricket score to the Capitals going down 133-89 with a familiar foe, Jason Cadee, amassing 47 points for Brisbane!

Mika Vukona added 6 rebounds to 8 points for the Spartans who finished fourth on the QSL ladder with an 8-3 record ahead of the play-offs. 

One spot below the Spartans are Sunshine Coast Phoenix. The Phoenix have been well served by forward Jonathan Janssen who last season suited up for the Canterbury Rams. Janssen has averaged 16.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during the regular season.

Double-double delight

Chevannah Paalvast in good form for Logan Thunder

There are four Kiwi double-doubles to report from the final regular season games in the Queensland State Basketball League (QSL) played at the weekend plus one in Italy.

Chevannah Paalvast and Logan Thunder take pride of place as they head into the play-offs with an unblemished 11-0 record. The Thunder beat Northside Wizards 114-55 with Paalvast claiming a season high 23 points along with 10 rebounds.

Southern District Spartans finished second on the ladder after a comfortable 95-67 home win against Brisbane Capitals.

Kalani Purcell led the way for the Spartans with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 5 steals – her fifth double-double in nine games.

Natalie Taylor was also in good form tallying 19 points.

RedCity Roar slipped to a surprising 86-74 home defeat against Ipswich Force. Despite the loss the Roar are comfortable inside the top-six headed to the play-offs.

The Roar have five kiwis in their lineup and all made a contribution on Saturday including double-doubles from Kayla Kiriau (11 points and 10 rebounds) and Charmian Mellars (12 points and 13 rebounds.

There were also good contributions from Ajiah Siosiua-Pepe (16 points), Ashleigh Karaitiana (16 points) and Karlene Kingi (6 points). 

Other news from Australia is that the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) is that the 2020 season will be played in a Queensland hub (Cairns, Townsville and Mackay).

Tip-off is November 12 and the Lowdown will be keeping tabs on the Tall Ferns playing in the League. Mary Goulding is in her debut season with Bendigo Spirit with Penina Davidson, Kalani Purcell, Toni Farnworth and Stella Beck all suiting up again for Melbourne Boomers. 

In Spain Jillian Harmon was also in double-double form. The former Tall Fern corralled 14 rebounds to accompany 13 points as Famila Wuber Schio made it three wins from three outings with a 77-72 victory against Empoli.

In the Dutch League Gracie Roberts-Hare scored 15 points as Lekdetec beat newly promoted Triple Threat 102-60 in the opening round of the season.

Rangitoto win Auckland Invitational

When the Covid-19 restrictions forced Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Basketball to be shut down Rangitoto College (5-0) were unbeaten at the top of the table with St Kentigern College (4-1) in pursuit. 

Fittingly the two teams contested the Auckland Invitational Final at Eventfinda Stadium on Saturday evening – the 2019 Auckland Premier Champions against the 2019 National Secondary Schools Champions.

And it was Rangitoto that gained the win, 81-74, to claim the unofficial 2020 Auckland Championship.

The two teams split 34 points in the opening term before St Kentigern embarked on a 13-2 run to begin the second quarter as Levick Kerr gained some ascendancy inside, Dontae Russo-Nance and George Turner found their range from the perimeter and Kazlo Evans made a couple of slashing drives to basket.

The riposte from Rangitoto was immediate. Zeke Priest (the Lowdown’s MVP of the Tournament) scored with some powerful drives, Zach Riley knocked down a couple of jump shots and with Daniel Powell chipping in with points the St Kent’s lead was trimmed to just two points at half-time (35-33)

Fortunes ebbed and flowed in the third but when Kerr sat down after picking up a fourth foul Rangitoto seized the opportunity – skipper Ethan Skelton’s 12 points in the period giving his team a 58-52 lead with ten minutes to play.

A pair of Russo-Nance baskets narrowed the deficit to two points at the start of the final quarter but that was as close as it got as Lucas Payne, Skelton, Riley and Priest (27 points) took the game away from St Kent’s.

Four days of entertaining basketball was certainly a positive way to finish a fragmented season especially for the numerous Year 13 players in the five participating teams.

Rangitoto 81 – Priest 27, Riley 18, Skelton 17, Payne 14

St Kentigern 74 – Russo-Nance 24, Evans 20, Kerr 10, Turner 10

Josh Kooiman and Sean Murphy ended their high school basketball careers in style in the 3rd/4th play-off game, won 102-85 by Westlake.

Westlake guard Kooiman knocked down eight threes on his way to 39 points whilst Rosmini wing Murphy was one shy of that mark with 38 points.

Rosmini 85 – S Murphy 38, Kane Murphy 13, Pita Maxwell-Topia 11, Tom Beattie 8

Westlake 102 –Kooiman 39, Reuben Natusch 13, Christian Martin 13, Antonio Leutich 9

Semi-Final Results:

Westlake 97 – Martin 22, Kooiman 16, Thompson 12, Natusch 9

Rangitoto 110 – Riley 22, Payne 21, Priest 19, Skelton 17, J Fotu 12

St Kentigern 84 – Kerr 26, Evans 19, Nance 15, Gan 11

Rosmini 75 – S Murphy 19, Beattie 18, Maxwell-Topia 12, Dalton 9

Sacred Heart show ticker, St Kentigern top table

Sacred Heart College bowed out of the Auckland Secondary Schools Invitational Tournament on Day 3 with a fourth straight loss going down 101-61 to Westlake Boys.

It was a balanced performance from Westlake as seven players scored 8 points or more. Joseph Hunter scored a game high 22 points for Sacred Heart who, despite losing four straight games, played with spirit until the end.

Sacred Heart Head Coach Mike Robinson complimented his team, who were unbeaten in the Auckland Senior A League before Covid shut the competition down, on wanting to test themselves against more accomplished Premier League players and teams.

The opposition don’t come much tougher as between them the four Premier teams taking part have won nine of the last eleven Secondary Schools National Championships.

Westlake 101 – Antonio Leutich 14, Zane Chang 14, Christian Martin 14, Boston Caldwell 12

Sacred Heart 61 – Hunter 22, Brooklyn Vile 10, Rafe Chisholm 9, Michael Stewart 6

St Kentigern College bounced back from their disappointing performance against Westlake on Thursday to dominate Rangitoto College in the other morning game winning 96-66.

Zach Riley scored 22 points for Rangitoto as they became the last Premier Boys team to give up their unbeaten record.

Young St Kent’s guard George Turner was in sublime shooting form knocking down six threes for his 18 points and Kazlo Evans was also in good scoring touch picking up 23 points.

St Kentigern 96 – Evans 23, Levick Kerr 19, Turner 18, Kaea Rangihaeta 10

Rangitoto 66 – Riley 22, Lucas Payne 15, Zeke Priest 9, Ethan Skelton 7

The evening games saw St Kentigern beat Rosmini and Rangitoto beat Westlake meaning that Rosmini finished fourth with a 1-3 record whilst the other three teams boasted an identical 3-1 record at the end of round robin play – St Kentigern earned top spot courtesy of a superior points differential.

Rangitoto were only 2 points ahead at half-time but dominated the second half to beat Westlake 100-77.

Jett Thompson top scored for Westlake with 25 points but Zeke Priest bettered that by one and Ethan Skelton was close behind with 22 points.

Rangitoto 100 – Priest 26, Skelton 22, Zach riley 14, Jacob Fotu 12, Lucas Payne 11

Westlake 77 – Thompson 25, Boston Caldwell 13, Zane Chang 10, Christian Martin 6

It was a similar story in the other game as St Kentigern, up by just five points at the half, pulled away after the resumption to win 78-57.

Dontae Nance (27 points) led the scoring for St Kent’s but it was Levick Kerr that was the big difference maker. The towering centre blocked multiple shots and was a dominant interior presence throughout. 

Sean Murphy (17 points) was the only Rosminian in double figures.

St Kentigern 78 – Nance 27, Kaea Rangihaeta 14, Martin Gan 10, Kazlo Evans 9, Kerr 8

Rosmini 57 – S Murphy 17, Tom Beattie 9, Kane Murphy 8

The semi-finals will be a repeat of the last games of the round robin with Westlake looking to turn the tables on Rangitoto and Rosmini looking to do the same against St Kentigern. Both games will be played at Eventfinda Stadium at midday on Saturday.

Auckland Invitation Tournament – Day 2 Wrap

Day 2 of the Auckland Secondary Schools Invitational Tournament saw Rangitoto College and Westlake Boys remain unbeaten with a 2-0 record.

Westlake followed their victory against Rosmini on Day 1 with a deserved 104-96 win against St Kentigern College on Thursday evening at Eventfinda Stadium. Westlake led by over 20 points but had to withstand a determined St Kent’s fight back before closing out the win. 

Kazlo Evans and Dontae Nance scored 22 and 21 respectively for St Kent’s but they were trumped by Jett Thompson (23 points) and Christian Martin who impressed again with a game high 25 points.

Westlake 104 – Martin 25, Thompson 23, Josh Kooiman 18, Liam Spencer 10, Boston Caldwell 9

St Kentigern 96 – Evans 22, Nance 21, Levick Kerr 17, Kaea Rangihaeta 15, Martin Gan 8

Rosmini College bounced back from the disappointment of a single point defeat against Rangitoto in the morning to defeat Sacred Heart College in convincing fashion 102-41 with Sean Murphy (26 points) once again leading the way. 

Rosmini 102 – S Murphy 26, Pita Maxwell-Topia 15, Charlie Dalton 13, Tane Murphy 12, Cyrus Grafil 10

Sacred Heart 41 – Joseph Hooker 10, Josh Stewart 10, Cassius Reynolds 6

In the morning games Rosmini College led 77-76 inside the final minute but a jump shot from Zeke Priest (31 points) gave Rangitoto the lead with 15 seconds remaining and although Kane Murphy got a shot off before the buzzer his effort hit the front of the rim and bounced out giving Rangi a one-point win. Sean Murphy again led the way for Rosmini with 18 points.

Rangitoto 78 – Priest 31, Ethan Skelton 22, Daniel Powell 8, Zach Riley 7

Rosmini 77 – S Murphy 18, Tom Beattie 15, Matt Drury 9, Cian Emery 9 

Also in the morning Joseph Hooker scored 26 points for Sacred Heart College but Levick Kerr, with a game high 33 points, was too tough to handle – St Kentigern winning the East Auckland derby 104-80.

St Kentigern 104 – Kerr 33, Kaea Rangihaeta 16, Iaiah Lasike 13, Dontae Nanace 9  

Sacred Heart 80 – Hooker 26, Ryan Topia 19, Josh Stewart 16, Muli Ma’asi 8

Wins for Rangitoto and Westlake at Auckland Invitational

The first round of the Auckland Secondary Schools Invitational Tournament saw wins for Rangitoto College and Westlake Boys High on Wednesday night.

Rangitoto put their foot on the floor in the first quarter to open up a 30-8 lead against Sacred Heart College.

Joseph Hooker paced the Heart effort with 16 points but they were never able to threaten Rangi’s lead as they went on to win 94-62.

Zeke Priest top scored for Rangi with 28 points with Lucas Payne next best on 21 points.

Rangitoto 94 – Priest 32, Payne 21, Ethan Skelton 12, Levi Fotu 9, Jacob Fotu 9

Sacred Heart 62 – Hooker 16, Josh Stewart 10, Cassius Reynolds 8, Rafe Chisholm 7

In the second game of the round Westlake saved their best until last as they came from seven points down at the three-quarter mark to beat Rosmini 87-81.

Christian Martin scored ten of his 18 points in the final period although it was Josh Kooiman with 21 points that top scored for Lake. Sean Murphy was outstanding for Rosmini scoring 40 points and Pita Maxwell-Topia scored 26 as the pair carried the Rozza scoring load.

Westlake 87 – Kooiman 21, Martin 18, Boston Caldwell 13, Jett Thompson 11, Antonio Leutich 10

Rosmini 81 – Murphy 40, Maxwell-Topia 26, Matt Drury 8

Tall Black overseas – latest wrap

Isaac Fotu in action for Venezia

Isaac Fotu and Venezia made it two from two in the Italian League after a comfortable 83-66 win against Cremona. Fotu was a perfect four from four from the field as he accumulated 11 points, one of five Venezia players in double figures.

It was tougher going in the EuroCup last night with Venezia outplayed in the second half by Partizan Belgrade. Venezia were ahead by one at half-time in the Serbian capital but eventually succumbed 95-73 – Venezia are 1-1 in Group A of the European competition and next face French club Bourg.

In Luxembourg Tom Vodanovich enjoyed another profitable outing adding 27 points to 8 rebounds but it was another heavy defeat for his club Telstar, defeated 86-64 at Esch.

Nearer home Tyrell Harrison logged 17 points and 7 rebounds as Southern District Spartans maintained second place on the Queensland State League ladder with an 86-66 win at USC Rip City.

Former Breakers guard Isaih Tuata scored 19 points for Rip City.

7 Up

Seven was something of a lucky number at the weekend for the Tall Ferns playing in the Queensland State Basketball League (QSL).

Chevannah Paalvast dished a season high 7 assists as Logan Thunder remain unbeaten (10-0) at the top of the QSL table. The Tall Ferns guard also scored 6 points as the Thunder rumbled Gold Coast Rollers 87-60.

Ashleigh Karaitiana also produced 7 assists, again a season best, as RedCity Roar got the better of North Gold Coast Seahawks 82-71. Karaitiana also scored a team high 23 points, as former Canterbury Wildcats guard Ajiah Siosiua-Pepe chipped in with 15 points (5/6 3PG) for the 7-3 Roar.

It was the seventh win on the bounce for the 9-1 Southern District Spartans after their 88-44 drubbing of USC Rip City. Natalie Taylor scored 15 points for the Spartans and Kalani Purcell was all business with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.