Junior Tall Ferns and Junior Tall Blacks head to Tauranga


The Junior Tall Blacks and Junior Tall Ferns squads have been announced ahead of the Hoop Nation Tournament being held in Tauranga this Labour Weekend.

The largest club tournament in the country will provide the JTF’s and JTB’s with stiff opposition as both teams will be playing adult club and invitational sides, some with a sprinkling of senior internationals.

For both squads this will be the last competitive hit out before the teams are announced ahead of December’s FIBA Oceania Championships in Fiji, which will double as the qualifying tournament for the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Championships.

The Junior Tall Ferns squad is very similar to the one that faced the China Under 19 team in two international games last month, although the American based pair of McKenna Dale and Akiene Reed will not be required to return home for this event. That said, Otago guard Nicole Ruske returns to the squad, as does Queensland based Jayden Fuiava. JTF’s head coach Brent Matehaere is pleased to have both players in the squad.

“Jayden averaged 18 points per game at the Australian Under 18 National Championships and is intending to play in the Australian WNBL after completing her final school year at John Paul College in Brisbane. She is an exciting prospect who we were put in touch with by Pero Cameron, who identified her talent. She has been invited to Australian national camps, but has decided she wants to play for New Zealand.

“Nicole is still struggling with injury a little, but she is going to push through as we are making final selections following this tournament,” added Matehaere.

The focus for Matehaere is individual and team performances, rather than the results in this tournament.

“We will be looking to perform what we need to do to the best of our abilities, as this weekend we have a big onus on selection. We will be looking to make sure that we have the right mix of players.”

The Junior Tall Blacks team will also be named later this year, not long after the Hoop Nation event and Cartwright is delighted with the depth of talent he has available at his disposal.

“It is a nice headache to have. You would rather be in the position where you are struggling to separate guys than trying to find players to fill a spot.

“It is pretty tough to leave out guys who have been in the squad for 16 months, but we have to make a decision on the best talent we have available to give ourselves a shot at beating Australia. That is what we are about and we need to be confident we have the best group we can put forward,” Cartwright added.

“I just want to see these guys get a shot at playing at a World Championship. We are trying to make history and beat Australia to qualify,” added Cartwright.

Players and fellow coaches alike will echo those sentiments.

Junior Tall Ferns Squad for Hoop Nation Tournament
Tiarna Clarke (North Harbour), Aliyah Dunn (Southland), Jayden Fuiava (Queensland, Australia), Kendell Heremaia (Waikato), Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato), Joellen How (Taranaki), Zara Jillings (North Harbour), Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato), Esra McGoldrick (Canterbury), Bayley Ransfield (Taranaki), Nicole Ruske (Otago), Stirling Walker-Pitman (Waikato), Charlotte Whittaker (Canterbury).

Junior Tall Blacks Squad for Hoop Nation Tournament
Josh Aitcheson (Otago), Flynn Cameron (Australia), Tobias Cameron (Australia), Quinn Clinton (Canterbury), Taki Fahrensohn (Waitakere West), Dan Fotu (North Harbour), Corey Le’aupepe (Wellington), Isaac Letoa (North Harbour), Hamish McDonald (Waikato), Callum McRae (Palmerston North), Angus McWilliam (Canterbury), Taane Samuel (Wellington), Sam Waardenburg (North Harbour)

Top six Kiwi performances overseas last week


Krystal Leger-Walker

Pride of place this week goes to the New Zealand Women’s team at the 2016 FIBA 3×3 World Championships in China as we reflect on a busy week for Kiwis overseas.

The New Zealand team comprised of Georgia Agnew (Waikato), Breana Jones (Auckland/Counties) and the Tall Ferns pair of Deena Franklin (North Harbour) and Krystal Leger-Walker (Waikato).

The team boasted a 3-1 record in pool play and normally would expect to advance to play-off action but the Kiwis were denied by points differential as Netherlands (15.5 pts per game average) and Ukraine (14.5) marginally bettered NZ (14.0) as all three teams finished with a 3-1 record in Pool A. Unfortunately New Zealand missed out on quarter-final action.

Overall this was a fine effort by the New Zealand team to perform strongly at a World Championship event. The team was seeded 16th of the 20 participating nations and defeated three higher ranked teams before being squeezed out by a three points differential.

Franklin (26 points) and Agnew (24 points) both featured in the top 20 scorers in the tournament. There was a degree of compensation for Agnew, who has just returned to NZ after four years at Utah Valley University, as she took the bronze medal in the Skills Contest at the tournament.

The second best performance belonged to Isaac Fotu, the power forward scoring a highly efficient 16 points (8/11FG) to go with 8 rebounds. His effort couldn’t prevent Zaragoza slipping to a third Spanish League defeat in four outings as they lost 87-84 to Sevilla.

Coming in at number three was Jillian Harmon. The Tall Ferns forward scored 16 points for Le Mura Lucca who were beaten 69-68 by Napoli in the Italian League.

Mike Karena, on the back of a perfect shooting night, claimed fourth spot. The 2016 Tall Blacks rookie notched 10 points (5/5FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block as Sammic ISB made it three from three in the Spanish Second Division competition. Sammic beat Navarro 63-56.

Fifth was Jess Bygate who had a nice double of 8 points and 8 rebounds in a starting role for Melbourne Boomers on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Boomers and Bygate they were outscored 25-17 in the fourth to go down 88-85 to Perth Lynx in a tight WNBL encounter.

Rounding out the top six was Jarrod Kenny. He scored 9 points including the go ahead triple in the fourth quarter for Perth Wildcats as they held off the Breakers in the Perth Arena on Friday night.

Also worthy of mention are the Cook Islands women’s team and the New Zealand Men’s team that also competed at the 3×3 World Champs. Both teams exited after pool play with a 0-4 record but the collective 8 losses were all against higher ranked teams.

Any players attending a FIBA World Championship event should be congratulated on a rare achievement regardless of the results.

The North Harbour pair of Rory Fannon and Karl Noyer plus Nick Fee and Hamish Sheridan represented New Zealand Men from Waikato. Noyer led the NZ scoring with 20 points.

The quartet of Johaana Bates, Adoniah Lewis, Janet Main and Terai Sadler, familiar names in NZ women’s basketball circles, made up the Cook Islands team.

Bubbling under last week:

 Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast each scored 6 points as Townsville Fire thumped Adelaide Lightning 85-56. Jordan Hunter made it a half dozen trifecta for the Kiwis by landing 6 points for Adelaide as they struggled to compete with the WNBL defending champs.

Toni Edmondson had 4 rebounds and a team high 6 assists for Perth Lynx but it wasn’t a shooting performance to remember for the Cantabrian. The Lynx went down 94-74 at Dandenong with Edmondson a cold 1 from 10 from the field managing just 3 points.

Dion Prewster made his first appearance of the season for the Sydney Kings scoring a couple of points as the Kings defeated Illawarra Hawks 88-84 to hand Andrew Gaze his first W as head coach of Sydney.

Vukona closes in on 300th Breakers appearance


Mika Vukona will become the first SKYCITY Breakers player to appear in 300 games for the club when he takes the floor against Sydney Kings at North Shore Events Centre on Thursday night.

In his usual unassuming fashion, come Thursday, he will be on the court before the game announcer has reached the second syllable of his name. There will be no pausing or hand waving to acknowledge the applause – it will be game time and that means business for the club’s talisman.

However he did take time out after team training on Monday to reflect on the milestone and his 12 seasons with the Breakers.

“I’m in a good place. The organization has enabled me to get to the 300 games and it’s been an enjoyable time. When you are in a good environment, a good family situation, you always want to be there. There are times when it’s hard but it is just awesome to come back here. I guess winning makes a massive difference. When you win championships you just want to come back and keep getting more.”

Vukona has a particular attachment to a number of the people he began his journey with. “Dillon (Boucher), Pauli (Henare), Paul Blackwell, the Blackwell family. All those guys have influenced everything that I have done in those 300 games, its pretty massive,” he said.

He remembers his first game fondly, “It was the first game the Breakers ever played, I was a development player and I had the opportunity to come on in garbage time and it was awesome. The first time to come on as a young player and the house was rocking, it was good.”

For the record Vukona, just 21 at the time, scored a couple of points as the Breakers won that inaugural game 111-110 against Adelaide 36ers.

When quizzed on his favourite moment(s) with the club it’s the first championship with the Breakers that comes readily to mind.

“The 2011 championship. Going through the things that we had to get over, the trip to Perth, coming back, we had injuries that we had been going through. We had an amazing time that whole year and to cap it off with Pauli being able to walk away after winning the championship was awesome.”

The 34 year old acknowledges he has to refine his game, as he gets older, “I’m just maturing a little bit better”, he quipped.

“I have to make adjustments because if I don’t you get left behind and with the league going up another couple of levels you have to do that. And even in trainings here the guys are getting younger and it is something that I have had to learn. But it also a thing keeps me going even more. It is another challenge, it is something that excites me and it is something that I want to keep driving for and keep proving myself. The day that I can’t and my body says no will be the time to walk away,” he added.

Fortunately for Breakers fans that time is likely to be some way away, “I’m looking forward to many more appearances,” the 5 times NBL champion declared.

Perhaps not what opposition players want to hear.

Below are the Mika numbers for the Breakers but unfortunately there are no records kept of the loose balls garnered, box outs completed, defensive deflections produced and athletic rebounds he had no right to secure.

299 – Most Games Played

161 -Most consecutive games played (2010-2015)

171 – Most Wins by a Breakers player

2,034 – Most rebounds

36 Double doubles – 2nd all time for Breakers

2239 Points – 3rd a/t

213 steals – 3rd a/t

550 assists – 4th a/t

91 blocks – 4th a/t

NZ Women just edged out at 3×3 World Champs – Cook Islands also exit


The New Zealand Women’s team only lost once at the FIBA 3×3 World Championships in Guangzhou, China but fell agonisingly short of a quarter final berth.

Any team boasting a 3-1 record in pool play could normally expect to advance to play-off action but the Kiwis were denied by points differential as Netherlands (15.5 pts per game average) and Ukraine (14.5) marginally bettered NZ (14.0) as all three teams finished with a 3-1 record in Pool A .

The New Zealand team comprised of Georgia Agnew (Waikato), Breana Jones (Auckland/Counties) and the Tall Ferns pair of Deena Franklin (North Harbour) and Krystal Leger-Walker (Waikato).

Leger-Walker took time out from her pre-season commitments at the University of Northern Colorado where she is about to embark on her freshman season to compete.

Agnew has just returned to New Zealand having completed four years at Utah Valley University where she played 72 games for the Wolverines.

Deena Franklin was an integral member of the Tall Ferns squad during the 2016 international season playing in all 15 games of their international programme.

Breana Jones was a key member of the Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks team this year.

NZ made a good start on Day one defeating Poland (seeded 9th) 13-10 and Ukraine (8th) 14-12. On Day 2 they were well beaten by top seeds Netherlands 20-9 but bounced back to beat Indonesia (15th) 20-18.

Overall this was a fine effort by the New Zealand team to perform strongly at a World Championship event. The team was seeded 16th of the 20 participating nations and defeated three higher ranked teams before being squeezed out by three points on differential.

There was a degree of compensation for Agnew who took the bronze medal in the Skills Contest.

The Cook Islands team, with players that were or are domiciled in New Zealand, were also competing at the World Champs.

The quartet of Johaana Bates, Adoniah Lewis, Janet Main and Terai Sadler were the 19th seeded team but almost upset both China (12th), going down 11-9, and 5th seed Czech Republic (lost 15-13) on Day one.

Unfortunately ‘The Cooks’ ran out of gas on Day 2 going down heavily to France (4th) 21-6 and Romania (13th) 14-5 to also exit the competition after pool play.

The Cook Islands foursome is well known in New Zealand basketball circles. Sadler was a member of the Canterbury Wildcats WBC title winning team in 2016 and Main won the title with Oceana Gold Rush Otago in 2015.

Lewis, a former Waitakere Lady Rangers guard played most recently for Werribee Devils in Melbourne whilst Bates, a former Rotorua age group rep, is now living in Japan.

NZ Women 2-0 at FIBA 3×3 World Champs



Deena Franklin

 The New Zealand women’s 3×3 team has won two from two in their hard fought opening matches at the FIBA 3×3 World Championships, and are looking hopeful for the playoffs with the top two teams of each pool proceeding. This is a big effort given the New Zealand women are the lowest ranked team in their pool at 16th.


Their first game against the eighth ranked Ukraine was an impressive scalp for the Kiwis. New Zealand started slowly and was down in the first half, but slowly reeled in Ukraine to lead for the last minute of the game. Head Coach Anthony Corban said all players contributed and the win should be notched up to a well-synced team effort.

“Krystal Leger-Walker captained the team well. Her tactical ability to read the game and change things up were crucial down the business end of the game. Georgia Agnew was a nightmare for their guards to handle and made some crucial baskets. And Deena Franklin was a mountain of strength on the boards and scoring in the low post.”

 The cherry on top was Krystal slot-pass being named the fourth best play of the day.

 Final Score New Zealand 14, Ukraine 12.


Again New Zealand came backed up their dark-horse status by rolling ninth ranked Poland in their second game of the day. Corban said both teams were feeling the effects of tough opening games, with the hot humid conditions taking their toll on many athletes at the event. Yet the Kiwis stuck to their game-one plan, proving it to be equally successful in game two.

 “Again our double guard punch of Georgia and Krystal were too quick for their opponents. And Deena Franklin was again outstanding, monstering her opponents in the low post and rebounding.”

 Final Score New Zealand 13, Ukraine 10.

 Next up for the New Zealand women’s team is the number one ranked Netherlands, followed by 15th rank Indonesia, which rounds out the Pool A matches. Both matches will be played on Friday.


Georgia Agnew has made the final of the individual skills contest and will compete for the title on Day 4 at 11.30pm NZ time


The New Zealand Men’s team has been struggling against stronger opposition, out-ranked and out-played against seasoned and mostly professional teams.

 Game one: NZ MEN V RUSSIA

New Zealand went basket for basket with the big Russian team for most of the game, until Russia had a strong run towards the end. Head Coach Anthony Corban says the game changer for the Kiwis was a disputed technical foul on New Zealand.

 “We were down one with three minutes to go and got a deflection, and one referee awarded us the possession. The other referee then technicalled one of our players for taunting – when he was clapping his team mate for working hard. It changed the momentum of the game, and Russia were then up two, then hit a two off the next play. Our boys just ran out of steam and melted in the hot and humid conditions.”

 Final Score: NZ 12 –  RUSSIA 22

 Game two: NZ MEN V ITALY

New Zealand encountered a tight unit in their loss to Italy. Coach Corban says it was a fairly dominant performance by the team more suited to the conditions.

 “As a group we lacked defensive energy and that showed early on when Italy feasted off our poor box outs and racked up five offensive rebounds in a row. The short turn around in games left us struggling to stay in the game over the last minute. The Italians were thriving in the hot and humid conditions while we struggled.”

Final Score: NZ 11 –  RUSSIA 21

New Zealand has two more tough assignments when they round out pool play on Thursday. They face No 1 seeds Serbia after facing No 15 Qatar.


New Zealand 3×3 Women’s Team: Georgia Agnew (Waikato Basketball), Deena Franklin (Harbour Basketball), Breana Jones (Counties Manukau Basketball Association), Krystal Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Council).

New Zealand 3×3 Men’s Team: Rory Fannon (Harbour Basketball), Nicholas Fee (Waikato Basketball), Karl Noyer (Harbour Basketball), Hamish Sheridan (Waikato Basketball).

Harmon, Cocks, Palvaast, Hunter, Edmondson and Bygate all back in action overseas



Jordan Hunter debuted in the Australian WNBL 

The 2016-17 Australian WNBL season began at the weekend with five Tall Ferns in action whilst in Europe Jillian Harmon is currently the lone Kiwi flag bearer.

In the WNBL guard Jordan Hunter is the only New Zealand newcomer to the competition and her debut for Adelaide Lightning was almost one to remember. The Lightning overcame a three point three-quarter time deficit to force the tie into overtime but were eventually outscored 16-2 in the extra period going down 77-63 to Bendigo Spirit on Saturday night.

Hunter logged 24 minutes and snared a game high 3 steals in her typical high-energy fashion. Alas her shooting touch deserted her on the night failing to connect with any of her five attempts.

Last season Jess Bygate was in Adelaide colours but this season she has signed with Melbourne Boomers. The former Nelson Flyers forward will be heartened by Sundays result – her Boomers were too strong for Adelaide winning 75-69 although Bygate only contributed a solitary free throw and a steal.

Hunter, in her second game of the weekend, scored a couple of points and claimed 3 rebounds for Adelaide.

Incidentally Tall Ferns assistant coach and Adelaide head coach Chris Lucas missed the double header having a prior commitment to attend the overseas wedding of his son.

The big game of the round was a match up between last season’s Grand Final protagonists Perth Lynx and Townsville Fire in Townsville.

Townsville, winners of the WNBL for the past two seasons showed that they are still the team to beat. After an even opening quarter they dominated the middle proceedings forging a 68-48 three-quarter time lead before closing out an 84-62 win.

Returning Fire combo guard Micaela Cocks, last season’s Grand Final MVP, scored 13 points for the reigning champions – Chevannah Paalvast chipped in with 2 points and 3 rebounds.

Toni Edmondson scored 7 points and added 4 rebounds and a steal for Perth. It wasn’t all bad news for Perth as they had opened their campaign with a 93-90 victory at Sydney University Flames on Friday night. In that one the Cantabrian swingman had 4pts/4rebs/5assists/1steal.

Jillian Harmon has returned to Le Mura Lucca in the Italian League for a second season. Last week she continued where she had left off at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France – who could forget her herculean performance back in June when she recorded 25 points (9/17FG) and 14 rebounds as the Tall Ferns went down to Cuba.

In the opening game of the season Lucca proved too strong for Vigarano winning 65-48 with the Tall Fern forward scoring a game high 19 points and adding a pair of steals and 3 rebounds.

Fotu shines in mixed bag for Tall Blacks abroad


Over in Europe there are just two players flying the flag for New Zealand and both are playing in Spain. Isaac Fotu is back for a second season at Zaragoza and Mike Karena is suiting up for Sammic ISB in the Spanish second tier competition.

Fotu and Zaragoza had a double header over the weekend. On Sunday, despite a team high 22 points (8/12FG) and 7 rebounds from the Tall Blacks forward Zaragoza suffered a second consecutive home defeat going down 75-69 to Bilbao.

48 hours earlier Fotu had 16 points and 8 rebounds in Zaragoza’s 80-71 victory at Unicaja. He slotted home all 7 of his free throws to go along with 3 from 7 from the field.

Zaragoza are now 1-2 this season

Karena helped his club Sammic to a 2-0 start to the season as they beat Tarragona 63-60 in overtime. Karena secured 6 rebounds to go with 6 points in the W.

In Australia it was partially a round of inactivity for the Kiwi’s in the opening round of the NBL season.

Reuben Te Rangi missed Brisbane Bullets outstanding start to the season due to injury. The Bullets, under former Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis, are 2-0 and top of the table after toppling defending champs Perth Wildcats at home on Thursday and Sydney Kings on Saturday.

Dion Prewster was also confined to bench warming duties by the Kings.

I need to give a shout out to Rosmini College old boy Tohi Smith-Milner. In his second season as a Development Player at Melbourne United Smith-Milne logged 5 minutes on Sunday as Melbourne stuttered to a second successive defeat going down 89-79 at home against Adelaide. The power forward notched a solitary rebound in that time but just getting on court in such a star-studded lineup is a notable achievement.

One man who did see plenty of action was Jarrod Kenny. The Perth Wildcats guard is back to full fitness after a shoulder injury kept him out of the Tall Blacks campaign earlier in the year. Kenny had 5 points and 3 assists in the loss in Brisbane on Thursday and a couple of points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists as Perth escaped from the clutches of a second defeat with an overtime victory against Cairns Taipans 48 hours later in Perth.

Over 12,000 fans packed Perth Arena to see the Wildcats tie the game with 0.8 seconds remaining before dominating the extra period to win 84-74.

Thoughts from Henare and Demopolous after Breakers beat Melbourne


From Murray McKinnon

The Breakers shrugged off the pre-season blues to capture an early season scalp in beating Melbourne United 76-71.

The Breakers led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter and then went on a three point shooting spree courtesy of Corey Webster, Tom Abercrombie and newcomers Robert Loe and Ben Woodside. The ‘Chief’ made a couple of mid range jumpers to give the local team a 40-31 advantage going into the second half.

The third quarter was all Melbourne with former Breakers Cedric Jackson and Tai Wesley scoring inside and out. David Andersen and Ramone Moore also slotted in three pointers to put Melbourne ahead 52-48.

The Breakers responded in the final ten minutes in front of a crowd of 5639. Outstanding defensive work from Rob Loe and Akil Mitchell plus offensive output from Kirk Penny and Webster fuelled a 15 point Breakers run. However Wesley and Chris Goulding hit back to bring Melbourne within three points with less than two minutes remaining.

Melbourne desperate for possession and time their enemy were forced to foul sending Abercrombie, Mika Vukona and Woodside to the free throw line which converted into the Breakers final nine points and hold United at bay.

Paul Henare was pleased with the victory in his first time up as head coach in the Australian NBL.
“I’m really happy with the result, good to see all the guys on the floor and seeing the chemistry start to build. It is one game out of 28 and we’re going to enjoy it and move on,” said Henare.

“We didn’t play anyone over 30 minutes everyone got a decent hit out, the bigs worked extremely well together we’ve got four really good bigs there that we just keep rolling them in and you have confidence that they come in and do the job.”

Henare was not put off facing Melbourne in their first game on the season.
“Our belief in ourselves never wavered we knew we were facing a very good side and we knew we had to play some very good basketball to beat them and that’s what I’m proud of.”

The newcomers slotted in well in their debuts for the team.

“Rob Loe, he’s smart he knows the game he knows who he is as a player and you develop a level of trust because you just know what you are going to get out of Robbie and tonight he played out of his skin he was physical inside he battled on the boards and when he was on the floor the score was going the right way,” said Henare.

American point guard Woodside said that he has moulded well into the team.
“Adapting into the game is pretty simple when you have been playing basketball your whole life and for me it’s been smooth and I’ve really enjoyed it so far,” he said.

He also enjoyed his match up with Jackson, “He’s a great player and you’ve got to respect a guy like that who’s a winner and it’s great to go against a player like that.”

Jackson on the other had said it was weird playing against the Breakers for the first time.
“It was pretty weird, but as soon as the jump ball came up I just focussed and tried to get rolling.
“This game was a good learning lesson for us as a new group and we took a lot of positives out of this game, just minor tune-ups and I think we’ll be alright,” said Jackson.

Melbourne coach Dean Demopolous knows what it is like to lose at Vector Arena ( going down 78-91 to the Breakers seven months ago in last season’s semi-final).

“New Zealand played a hell of a game tonight and I thought we played well also, somebody’s got to lose it’s us tonight and hopefully on Sunday (United entertain Adelaide) it’s the other team,” said Demopolous.

“We lost, but I think we are going to be a very good team. It’s a work in progress, I’ve got a bunch of new faces, but I love our energy and I’ve loved it for a long time.”

Demopolous was pleased with his two former Breakers players Ced and Tai.
“They’ve been terrific, great attitudes, they work hard every day, they come early, stay late, they’re men not kids and I respect them and value their opinions and judgement on things especially their play. As they assimilate into this group as David Anderson is and Ramone Moore I see a lot of good things happening for Melbourne United.”

Abercrombie top scored for the Breakers with 14, Vukona had 12 and Webster 11. Wesley led the scorers for Melbourne with 15 (in just 14 minutes), Jackson was on 14 and Moore, Andersen and Goulding all contributed nine points.

Double Delight for Auckland at Wheelchair Nationals

Report from Cathy Parker

Both the semi-finals and finals were completed on Sunday at Trusts Stadium, Waitakere in the Wheelchair Nationals Tournament.

In A Division Auckland triumphed over Mid West in one semi whilst the Warriors avenged their three point defeat by Waikato in the playoffs with a 51-47 victory to progress from the other semi-final.

In the final Auckland started with a 10 point run set up by a strong full court press and the scoring spread around with Mark Sullivan and Panchpreet Dhillon each scoring a brace before Poko Mani scored the Warriors first points with Panchpreet returning the favour.

The Warriors then had a six point run with Auckland’s shooting going cold, Rewiti Cameron scoring a brace for the Warriors to take it to 12-8 to Auckland who then added four more points to close out the first quarter 16-10. The second quarter started in a similar fashion to the first with an eight point run to the Auckland Wheelbreakers – the first six from Jimmy Russell, the run halted by two free throws from Warren Putt before the Wheelbreakers added another six. Marty Oliver answered back with a two and Poko Mani with a long 3 pointer but Auckland had the last say ending the quarter up 32-16 and starting to look comfortable.

In what was now a familiar pattern the Wheelbreakers started the 2nd half with an aggressive full court press and got several 8 second calls and turnovers to again have a six point streak. The Warriors scored most of their third quarter points from the charity stripe with Warren Putt dropping three and Marty Oliver two , Auckland closed the quarter with a 23 point lead 46-23, which was fortunate with two of their forwards in foul trouble.

The Warriors got the better start to the final quarter with an 8-4 run to take the score to 50-30 to the Wheelbreakers who then decided to put their foot on the Warriors throat and score the final 16 points on the trot, 12 of them to Jimmy Russell to take a deserved win 66-30 to back up last years win.

Auckland Wheelbreakers – Jimmy Russell 18, Ricardo Gozon 13, Panchpreet Dhillon 10. Te Puke o Te Whai Warriors – Rewiti Cameron 10, Poko Mani 8, Warren Putt 7.


In the B Division semi finals Auckland saw off Waikato B to reverse the playoff result and get to the final, whilst Northland were too strong for Taranaki in the other semi.

Auckland had won the playoff but finished second on count back to Northland and was keen to make amends and despite strong defence from both teams Auckland took the win and the title 35-21 giving Auckland both titles for the second year in a row and earning congratulations for club coach Glenn McDonald.

Auckland B – Dave Sherriff 12, Cathy Parker 8, Daniel Goulton 7

Te Raki Troopers Northland Brent Lynn 15.

Wheelchair Nationals report – Day 1

Wheelchair Basketball Nationals Day one report from Cathy Parker

The first day of the Wheelchair basketball nationals at Trusts Stadium in Auckland saw 10 teams competing over two divisions with five teams in the A division and 5 in the B division. Day one saw all teams play their pool games so each team had four games (these are full length 10 min quarter stop clock games).

A Division saw the defending champs, Auckland Wheelbreakers, dominate (4-0) with the closest challenge from the newly formed Te Puku o Te Whai Warriors (2-2), who fielded a number of previous New Zealand representative players.

Auckland won that match up 54-38 pulling away to a comfortable lead after a fairly tight first three quarters.

The final match of the day was Auckland Wheelbreakers Vs last years beaten finalists Waikato (3-1), with Auckland dominating the game 73-30. The other close contests for the day were Waikato Vs the Warriors with Waikato just edging ahead at the end for a 42-39 win and Waikato vs the 2nd new team at this years Nationals, Mid West (1-3).

Again Waikato just held the advantage 65-62.

The B Division games were generally much closer with Auckland Development, Te Raki Troopers – Northland and Waikato B all finishing (3-1).

Northland beat Waikato convincingly 40-19 to hold top honours after the pool games despite loosing to Auckland 30-36 – who in turn lost to Waikato 22-24 with a last second buzzer beater giving the honours to Waikato.

Taranaki (1-3) and Wheelington (0-4) rounded out B Division.

The semi finals of both divisions are Sunday morning from 9am.The B Division Final is at 1.00pm and the A Division at 2.45pm. Spectator entry is free.

Places after pool play

Place     A Division                                                 B Division

1st             Auckland Wheelbreakers             Te Raki Troopers Northland

2nd           Waikato A                                                Auckland Development

3rd            Te Puku Te Whai Warriors            Waikato B

4th            Mid West                                                  Taranaki

5th            BOP                                                               Wheelington

Wheelchair basketball

The Nationals are a sanctioned BBNZ Nationals. Wheelchair basketball is played on standard basketball courts with standard height goals. Games are the same structure as stand up basketball – 10 minute stop clock quarters, 24 second shot clock, normal time outs, subbing etc.

The bulk of the rules are as for stand up basketball with some specific differences to cater for the the chairs in terms of obstruction and fouls, double dribbles are allowed (as some players need to carry the ball on their lap) and a travel is where a player pushes on the wheel more than twice without bouncing the ball.

Players are classified on a points system to ensure a mix of players can play, those with the highest level of disability have a 1 point classification through to players with minimal disability (or an able bodied player – yes they can play at any level under full international competition) having a 4.5 classification.

A team may only have five players totalling 14 points or less on the court ensuring the lower point players get fair court time. The lower point players (1-3) tend to be guards and the higher point players (3.5-4.5) forwards.