Braswell takes Birdmen to Mexicali title


IMG_5113.jpgKevin Braswell scored a game high 42 points to lead Birdmen to the 2017 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam title with an ultimately convincing 123-107 victory against Railsplitters.

Birdmen led at every quarter-time break but Railsplitters, with Jaylen Gerrand, Judson Seumanu and Samson Aruwa in good form, only trailed 103-95 with four minutes to play.

At that point the former Southlands Sharks and Breakers standout put the hammer down, or put more accurately put on a shooting clinic.

He reeled off 11 straight points including a couple of trademark threes buried off the dribble. An assist for a Brandon Lucas dunk sealed the deal as a tight single digit advantage was blown out to a twenty points lead in a little over two minutes.

Earlier Juan Cruz Colla, Tinashe Matambanadzo, Dom Kelman-Poto, back from representing New Zealand Maori against the Australian Indigenous team in Cairns last week, held sway in the opening half to help Birdmen to a 63-51 half-time lead.

Another NZ Maori representative Judson Seumanu along with Gerrand kept Railsplitters in touch at the last break – down 90-81.

Birdmen stretched the lead to 103-86 early in the fourth but Gerrand, Will Heather, the Aruwa brothers and Zack Te Puni responded to pull Railsplitters back to that 103-95 margin.

From then on it was all Braswell who ruled the roost as he scored 16 of Birdmen’s last twenty points.

Birdmen 123 – Braswell 42, Matambanadzo 31, Colla 19, Lucas 17, Kelman-Poto 10

Railsplitters 107 – Gerrand 24, Samson Aruwa 21, Seumanu 18, Heather 14, Sam Aruwa 12


Harbour players continue to do good things in college hoops



Heading towards half-way in the American college season Harbour players continue to make a good impression.

Division 1 colleges begin conference action around the end of the year but Division II and Junior Colleges have already embarked on conference play.

Here is a wrap on what some of the Harbour players have been up to in the last few days.

read more

Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam finalists found


The Grand Finals of the 2017 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam will feature Railsplitters and the Birdmen in the Men’s competition with Suns taking on Storm in the Women’s showpiece.

It took Railsplitters an overtime period, which they dominated 22-3, to overcome a stubborn 68A Nelson Street outfit 123-104 in the late semi-final.

Nelson Street were quickest out of the blocks as Liam Thornton, Mitch Newton, Derone Raukawa and Judson Seumanu all connected from deep to spring a 30-18 advantage.

11 points in the second from Jaylen Gerrand trimmed the deficit slightly but Nelson St still held a 58-49 lead at the break.

Newton piled in 12 third quarter points for Nelson St but Ryan Laumatia and Sam Aruwa answered for Railsplitters as the lead was cut to 80-75 with ten minutes to play.

Raukawa paced the Nelson St effort in the fourth but Railsplitters finished strong to force overtime after the scores were locked at 101 apiece in regulation.

The extra five minutes belonged to Railsplitters as five different scorers contributed to a dominating finishing spell.

Railsplitters 123 – Gerrand 29, Harris 25, Laumatia 19, Sam Aruwa 16, Jenkins 10

68A Nelson Street 104 – Newton 31, Raukawa 26, Fesolai 15, Thornton 13, Seumanu 10

Birdmen convincingly defeated Breakers Development 102-64 in the first semi-final.

Six early points from Thomas Whyte gave Breakers the early lead but the inside presence of Dominique Kelman-Poto and some three-point ammunition from Kevin Braswell carried Railsplitters to a 45-37 half-time lead.

Zack Te Puni put up some resistance for the Breakers but it was largely one-way traffic in the third as Railsplitters rattled in 36 points as multiple players registered points.

Breakers Development – Te Puni 20, Whyte 15, Williams-Dunne 12, Langridge 9

Birdmen 102– Kelman-Poto 28, Colla 16, Matambanadzo 16, Braswell 14, Barrow 10, Clinton 10,

In the first women’s semi-final Sparks were no match for Storm going down 115-55.

Storm raced to a 27-13 first quarter lead and were never challenged thereafter.

Sharne Pupuke-Robati accumulated 23 points for Sparks but Shauna Povey, Olivia Berry, Emme Shearer and Stevee-Rose Theyers each cooked up twenty points or more for Storm.

Storm 115 – Povey 26, Berry 24, Theyers 21, Shearer 20

Sparks 55 – Pupuke-Robati 23, Schuster 9, Fiatau 8, S Dil 6

Suns, led by 20 points from Luye Murphy, eventually prevailed 95-61 against Sky after a close first half.

Hannah Wentworth and Keeley Tini scored consistently for Sky as they trailed 46-36 at half-time.

The outside shooting of Murphy and Anna Lacey coupled with the inside work of Annabelle Jenkins and Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu was working well for Sun as they stretched out to a 68-50 three-quarter time lead.

Amanda Buck was tireless for Sky but it will be Suns that will face Storm in the final on Saturday.

Sky 61 – Buck 19, Wentworth 14, Tini 14, Te Huia 8

Suns 95 – Murphy 20, A Jenkins 12, Z Kailahi-Fulu 11, Lacey 9, T Jenkins 9

Double figure outings for Harmon, Fotu and the Webster brothers

Tai Webster copy

It was largely a successful weekend for our Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks internationals playing overseas.

The German based pair Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu both contributed strongly as their respective club’s registered wins.

Webster scored a game high 21 points (7/11FG), dished 6 assists and reeled in 5 rebounds as Frankfurt Skyliners beat Bremerhaven 95-69. The Skyliners are fifth on the Bundesliga ladder with an 8-4 record.

One win back are Ratiopharm Ulm after an 84-70 win at Giessen 46ers. Fotu was in good form for Ulm scoring 17 points on 8 from 11 shooting. The power forward added 6 rebounds a steal and a block in just 20 minutes of action.

Corey Webster also scored in double figures in Israel but his 15 points (5/9FG) were not enough to save Ironi Nahariya from going down 72-69 against Ironi Nes-Ziona. The defeat sees Nahariya slip to fourth on the Israeli League ladder with a 5-4 win/loss record.

In Italy Napoli (6-4) are up to fourth on the Serie A ladder after a fourth straight win defeating San Martino 84-70. Jillian Harmon was her usual busy self, accumulating 21 points (8/14FG), 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Melbourne Boomers (11-6) solidified their spot in second place on the Australian WNBL ladder with a couple of wins including an 86-42 demolition of Bendigo Spirit. Kalani Purcell had 9 points (4/5FG) and 9 rebounds in the massacre.

Perth Lynx have claimed an eleventh consecutive victory defeating Sydney University Flames in New South Wales. Cantabrian Toni Edmondson, working her way back after injury, contributed 3 points and 2 rebounds as the Lynx improve to 12-4 to top the WNBL table.

Townsville Fire (10-6) suffered a shock 79-64 home loss to Adelaide Lightning going down 79-64 but bounced back on Saturday defeating Bendigo 99-62. Micaela Cocks added a trio of rebounds and assists to 7 points as Townsville retains third spot.

Women win NZ Maori v Australian Indigenous Series – Men defeated



The NZ Maori Men’s and Women’s teams have just returned from Cairns after competing against the Australian Indigenous All-Stars.

The Men went down 2-1 in the best-of-three series winning the third encounter 94-81 after dropping the first two games.

New Southland Sharks signing Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris and Dominique Kelman-Poto were prominent in all three games.

The inaugural Women’s series was swept by New Zealand 3-0 with Tall Ferns guard Jordan Hunter named MVP.

Hunter has been sidelined since the opening game of the Women’s Basketball Championship back in May when she tore her ACL.

Hunters’ return, topped with a couple of double-digit outings , is good news for the Tall Ferns selectors ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April.

read more



Career high’s for Davison and Leger-Walker plus better news for Tai Wynyard

tai wynyard

In weekend college action in the States both Penina Davidson and Krystal Leger-Walker posted career best numbers. It was quiet on the men’s front although Tai Wynyard enjoyed a little more action than normal.

Davidson scored a career high as she posted a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds in Cal Berkeley’s 92-85 win against Pacific. Davidson’s points in the Golden Bears fourth straight win were punched at a very efficient 9 from 11 from the field and 4 from 5 free throws.

Leger-Walker was only one point shy of a double-double in Northern Colorado’s 55-44 loss to Colorado State – just the third loss of the season for the Bears. Her 10 assists were a career high and she added 9 points, 2 rebounds and a steal.

Brooke Blair top scored with 20 points (7/11FG) as Idaho State Bengals won an exciting 64-62 overtime encounter against Hawaii. The win snaps a two game losing streak and improves the Bengals to 6-3 for the season.

Dru Toleafoa logged 13 points and added 4 points and 13 rebounds as Santa Clara Broncos rode all over Menio to win 104-61.

The lack of opportunity afforded Tai Wynyard at Kentucky is evidenced by the game time afforded the former Rangitoto College standout in the Wildcats 93-76 win against Monmouth.

The game was played at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York where Wynyard, given 12 minutes of court time. The power forward responded with 4 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals as Kentucky improved to 8-1 for the season.

12 minutes doesn’t seem a great deal of playing time but it equals the most opportunity he has been granted by Coach Calipari in his season and a half at Kentucky.

In his freshman year he averaged 3.6 minutes across 15 games played. Things haven’t improved greatly in season two with Wynyard averaging 5 minutes in the seven games he has played.

Roundup of the week in college hoops includes career high for Beckley

Jacinta Becley

The highlight of the past week amongst Tall Ferns in Division 1 colleges was the performance of Jacinta Beckley. She posted a career high 22 points (9/13FG) as Seattle beat San Diego 80-73 making a highly respectable 9 from 13 shots.

Not far behind was the effort of Stella Beck – her double-double of 13 points and 10 assists helped St Mary’s Gaels to a fifth straight win as they came from behind to defeat Boise State 74-72. A couple of days later the Gaels went down 74-63 to Utah with Beck collecting 8 points and 3 steals in that one.

Tessa Boagni also produced a noteworthy double-double. The Cal State Northridge Matadors centre accumulated 12 points and 12 rebounds in the 76-59 win against San Diego State.

Idaho State Bengals slipped to a second successive defeat going down 61-53 at Wyoming. Brooke Blair was kept relatively quiet scoring 7 points and bagging 3 rebounds for the Bengals.

Penina Davidson knocked down 13 points (6/7FG) as Cal Berkeley Bears comfortably beat San Diego 89-64 to improve to 6-2 for the season.

Krystal Leger-Walker had a trio of four’s as Northern Colorado Bears improved to 6-2 with a commanding 80-55 victory against Pacific. The Waikato combo guard had 4 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds in the win.

On the men’s front there were also some handy performances from the Tall Blacks in college this week.

Starting centre Jack Salt was needed for just 20 minutes as Virginia Cavs dispatched Lehigh 75-54 for an eighth straight win. Salt scored 4 points and added block and a pair of rebounds.

A couple of days later Salt played just 9 minutes as the Cavs unbeaten run came to an end downed 68-61 by West Virginia.Sam Timmins stuffed the stats line as Washington Huskies beat Kennesaw State 85-71. The Tall Blacks centre produced 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks to a season high 13 points.

 The Huskies had a significant upset win three days later beating No 2 ranked Kansas 74-65. Timmins only scored 8 points but he was a major contributor at the heart of the Huskies zone defense.

 Sacramento State snapped a six game losing streak beating the attractively named Antelope Valley 97-74. Izayah Le’afa was once again a major facilitator dishing 9 assists to compliment 12 points and five rebounds.

Le’afa has totaled 30 assists in his last 4 outings whilst coughing up just 8 turnovers.

Plenty of good performances from Harbour players in the USA


Tera reedThere was plenty to like about the efforts of Harbour players in the US this week.

There was a double double from Katie Diakhaby, 14 points from Ella Fotu, 15 points from Olivia Bell and 14 points from Denhym Brooke.

However a career best from Tera Reed takes the biscuit this week.

Read more





It was a good weekend for the Tall Blacks in Europe


Unlike their Breakers buddies all three European based Tall Blacks returned from international duty and registered wins with their respective clubs.

Tai Webster appeared to overcome the 11 hour flight from Hong Kong to Frankfurt without too much trouble as he registered 18 points (6/13FG, 3/3FT) as the Skyliners beat Oettinger Rockets 77-56.

Webster added 5 rebounds, 2 steals, a block and a game high 7 assists as the Skyliners improved to 7-4 for the season holding fifth spot on the German Bundesliga ladder.

Former Breaker Ekene Ibekwe was in the Oettinger lineup.

Ratiopharm Ulm are one win behind the Skyliners after a decisive 93-76 win against Mitteldeutscher.

Isaac Fotu equaled his season best rebounding effort pulling in 9 boards to go with 7 points (2/6FG, 3/4FT) and a steal for Ulm.

In Israel Ironi Nahariya defeated Maccabi Ashdod 81-76 with Nahariya improving to 5-3 for the season.

Corey Webster scored 13 points for Ironi Nahariya, his seventh double figure points haul in eight outings.

In other news former Tall Black Dion Prewster scored 10 points on debut for Uni Baskets Paderborn in their 93-92 win against Trier.

Paderborn competes in the Pro-A League, the equivalent of the German second division.

Mexicali Fresh – round six wrap


Round six, the final week of round robin play, of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam saw Breakers Development register their first win of the season. Boosted by the addition of forward Mitch Newton (31 points) the Breakers outlasted Railsplitters to win 102-96.

Dan Fotu, the day after becoming the 97th SKTYCITY Breaker when making an appearance against Perth Wildcats, initiated the scoring with a triple.

However Jaylen Gerrand scored three first quarter threes to help Railsplitters to a 25-20 first quarter lead.

Newton paced the Breakers with 11 second quarter points and with Marvin Williams-Dunn landing from deep the Railsplitters lead was trimmed to a single point (48-47) at the interval.

Samson Aruwa reeled off 8 straight points for Railsplitters at the beginning of the third stanza but the two Mitchell’s – Newton and Dance – kept Breakers in touch trailing 78-76 at the end of the third frame.

Rory Fannon and Gerrand briefly extended the Splitters lead but it was 92 points apiece with 5:30 to play when Kruz Perrott-Hunt dropped a triple.

The Breakers finished the stronger down the stretch – Fotu made three straight baskets with Newton sealing the win with a couple of visits to the foul line.

Railsplitters 96 – Gerrand 33, Aruwa 26, Fannon 10, van Uden 8

Breakers Development 102 – Newton 31, Fotu 26, Dance 16, Perrott-Hunt 15

Derone Raukawa feasted on the high scoring encounter against Birdmen finishing one point shy of a half century as 68A Nelson Street ran away with the contest in the final quarter to win 136-112.

Mitch Newton, who played two games due to a number of players being unavailable, and Juan Cruz Colla got Nelson Street of to a strong start. However they were reeled in by a combination of the inside presence of Nick Barrow and the perimeter shooting of Quinn Clinton and Kevin Braswell – 61-59 in favour of Nelson Street at half-time.

Carl Buck knocked down a triple to open the scoring in the third but the second half became something of a shoot-out between Raukawa and Braswell.

Braswell showed he still has an eye for the basket with 21 points, including five triples, in the third although it was still 102-94 in favour of Nelson Street at the last break.

Raukawa peeled off 15 points in the final quarter and with Dillon Boucher and Colla adding the finishing touches the Birdmen were caged going down 136-112.

68A Nelson Street 136 – Raukawa 49, Colla 26, Newton 23, Boucher 10, Buck 10

Birdmen 112– Braswell 35, Barrow 27, Clinton 25, Matambanadzo 8

Final Round Robin standings:

4-2 Birdmen, Nelson Street

3-3 Railsplitters

1-5 Breakers Development

In a free flowing encounter Sparks, thanks to a combined 38 points from the NZ U18 duo of Tayla Dalton and Sharne Pupuke-Robati, defeated Suns 73-65.

Kayla Kiriau, fresh from a successful season with Gladstone Power in the Queensland State League, scored 7 first quarter points as Sparks established an early 16-10 lead.

That advantage was extended to double figures by Dalton and Pupuke-Robati before Tabitha Jenkins and Morgan Ili hit back for Suns – 36-28 at half-time.

7 points from Anabelle Jenkins in the third countered threes from Dalton and Mikayla Blair and when Anna Lacey converted twice from beyond the arc either side of the three-quarter break the Sparks advantage was just three points (53-50).

Ili was outstanding for Suns but another three from Blair and contributions from the Westlake pair of Mareta Davidson and Sophie Dil closed out a second win of the season for Sparks.

Suns 65 – Ili 19, T Jenkins 13, A Jenkins 9, Lacey 8

Sparks 73 – Dalton 20, Pupuke-Robati 18, K Kiriau 13, Blair 6

A combined 51 points from Sky forward Ashleigh Kelman-Poto and guard Jordyn Maddix wasn’t quite enough to overcome Storm who were paced by Deena Franklin and Shauna Povey.

Maddix hit three first quarter triples for Sky but they were outscored 26-16 in the opening spell.

10 points from Kelman-Poto in the second kept Sky in the hunt but the consistent Franklin ensured Storm led 45-34 at half-time.

Povey dropped three treys in the third although regular scoring from Summer-Jean Motufoua and Kelman-Poto kept Sky in touch – 68-60 down at the three-quarter mark.

Jordyn Maddix landed a further two triples – she had six in the game – but scores from Olivia Berry and Alanna Hughes complimented the work of Franklin to ensure Storm finished with four wins alongside Suns.

Sky 78 – Kelman-Poto 29, Maddix 22, Motufoua 13

Storm 87 – Franklin 22, Povey 18, Berry 12, Hughes 7,

Final Round Robin Standings

4-2 Suns, Storm

2-4 Sky, Sparks