The Youthtown Clique was deprived of the services of player coach Lindsay Tait for the penultimate round of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam.Tait broke a small bone in his wrist when taking a tumble playing for the Clique last Tuesday.
The injury will result in the classy guard missing the final three weeks of the Summer Jam and more significantly the FIBA Oceania Pacific Championships being held in Wellington next weekend. Tait was due to captain the New Zealand Maori team.
Fortunately for the Clique they were able to secure the services of Leon Henry for their encounter with The Block City Brawlers, a high scoring, entertaining affair. The Clique led 46-33 at half time with the two number 14’s Henry for the Clique and Jack Salt for the Brawlers each contributing double digit points in the half.
The top of the table Brawlers made a big move in the third quarter outscoring their opponents 38-26, Tohi Smith-Milner contributing 10 points. The final quarter was neck and neck, the scores locked up 102 apiece with 13.2 seconds remaining. Veteran Paul Henare came up with the match winning play, converting a left handed floater in traffic to seal a 104-102 win.
Block City Brawlers 104 (Salt 32, Smith-Milner 17, Henare 14, Houston O’Riley 13, Kael Tarawa 13)
Youthtown Clique 102 (Henry 30, Shea Ili 19, Jonathan Southey 15, Duane Bailey 13, Jaylen Gerrand 11)
The scores were tied at the end of the first quarter between Flava Flyers and The Birdmen. Chris Fahrensohn knocked down five triples in the game, two of them in the second period as The Birdmen attempted to gain the ascendancy but a four-point play from Jarrod Kenny gave the Flyers a 42-37 lead at the main break.
Johnny Fesolai and Dennis Tawhiti were strong in the third period as The Birdmen on the back of a 12-0 run added 30 points in the quarter to carry a narrow 67-66 entering the final period.
The lead changed hands on multiple occasions early in the fourth until the game was blown open by Matt Lacey who delivered three triples in quick succession, two from Dillon Boucher assists to open up a ten point advantage with 3:50 remaining. Fahrensohn replied with a couple of baskets but further scores from Ana Haku, Kenny and Lacey sealed the game for the Flyers.
Flava Flyers 94 (Haku 26, Lacey 22, Kenny 21, Boucher 13)
The Birdmen 82 (Fahrensohn 27, Fesolai 16, Nash Oh 13, Tawhiti 12)
Standings after 11 rounds
8-3 Block City Brawlers
7-4 Youthtown Clique
5-6 Flava Flyers
2-9 The Birdmen