Monthly Archives: July 2016

Rangitoto go clear at top of Prem Grade

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There has been a three-week hiatus in the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Basketball competition. However many of the players have been busy representing their local associations at National Championships or on overseas tours.

A fair number of the Rangitoto College squad were in Vegas last week representing North Harbour at the Fab 48 Tournament but the 30 degree drop in temperature didn’t cool their scoring ability as they quickly established a 16-4 lead against Kelston Boys High School.

Forward Kale Lawson made a couple of baskets for Kelston late in the period but a pair of threes from Harry Payne ended a profitable opening quarter for the home side 32-14 ahead.

Kelston scored 12 early second period points, most of them to Linus Jakzst, but they still trailed 47-28 to the boys in blue.

Guard Sam Brooking knocked down a three for Kelston but Kaycee Anibueze enjoyed a productive spell as Rangi closed the half 61-36 ahead – the two Harry’s (Clarke and Payne) leading the scoring with 13 points apiece at the interval.

A Dan Fotu steal then block fuelled another Rangitoto scoring burst although Kelston, despite operating with just seven players, refused to buckle. Rangi headed to the last break 80-52 ahead.

A Liam Milne triple opened proceedings in the final stanza but Payne answered in kind. Rangi had multiple scorers in the final quarter as they once again demonstrated that they will be the team to beat in Auckland cruising to a 104-77 victory.

Final Score: Rangitoto 104 – Anibueze 21, Payne 18, Clarke 17, Brayden Inger 13, Fotu 11 Kelston 77 – Jakzst 21, Lawson 17, Milne 14.

An exciting encounter ensued at Auckland Grammar School as the hosts toppled Westlake Boys High School 93-85.

James Moors sunk a couple of threes as Westlake made the slightly better start to lead 23-21 at quarter time.

Grammar responded well with Taki Fahrensohn and Leroy Brown finding their shooting groove in a high scoring second period to help the home team to a 51-46 half-time lead.

It was basket for basket in the third with Grammar holding onto a 4 points, 72-68, advantage with ten minutes to play.

Back to back Reuben Fitzgerald baskets and another two points from Josh Hildago put Westlake up 82-80 with just over 4 minutes to play.

Farensohn then scored five straight points for Grammar only for Hildago to answer again. Fitzgerald made a pair of free throws and with 58 seconds to play the lead was just two points, 88-86, to Grammar. Rua Winitana scored a vital basket for AGS and with Westlake forced to foul to stop the clock Tom Whyte iced the game from the free throw line.

AGS will be delighted to have kept their hopes of a top two finish alive whilst Westlake will take heart from running strong opposition close without three of their starters. Isaac Letoa, Greg Vukets and Thabo Manyere were all absent for differing reasons.

Final Score; AGS 93 – Fahrensohn 25, Connor Flanagan 15, Samson Aruwa 15, Whyte 15 Westlake 86 – Fitzgerald 24, Hildago 23, Moors 20, Ethan Martin 9

Mt Albert Grammar School had little trouble disposing of Liston College winning 78-41. MAGS established an early 10 points lead with Michael Gardner and Trent Kimiangatau doing most the damage and kept the pedal down as they established a 41-23 half-time lead.

The scoring slowed from both sides as just a total of 19 points were scored in the third. MAGS put their foot down again in the fourth as an assortment of scorers continued to trouble Liston who got good service out of Emanuel Maagdenberg and Blessing Matambanadzo.

The win keeps alive Mt Albert’s faint hopes of a top four finish.

Final Score: Mt Albert 78 – Gardner 20, Jonty Vink 14, Kimiangatau 10, Paina Slade 9

Liston 41 -Maagdenberg 9, Matambanadzo 8, Mao Kim 7

It was a Rozza rampage in Takapuna as Rosmimi College demolished Onehunga High School 125-50. The game was over as a contest at half-time with the home side 75-24 in the lead. The Rosmini scoring was led by Ben Turpin but seven players rattled up double figures in a one sided romp Marvin Brown was terrific in a losing cause nailing 34 points for Onehunga.

Final Score: Rosmini 125 – Ben Turpin 21, Mitch Dance 18, Sam Bowden 16 Kruz Perrott-Hunt 15, Taine Wattie 15, Reihana Maxwell-Topia 12, Matt Sokol 10  Onehunga 50 – Brown 34, Clinton Saio 7

Boys Standings;

10-2 Rangitoto College

9-3 Westlake Boys HS

7-3 Rosmini College

7-4 AGS

5-6 MAGS

4-7 Kelston Boys HS

2-9 Onehunga HS

0-10 Liston College

Orewa College send Diakhaby off in style



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Diakhaby (No 14) heading to Colorado

Katie Diakhaby played her last game for Orewa College on Friday night before heading to Colorado to begin a two year stint at Northeastern Junior College.

The Junior Tall Fern signed off with a typically strong performance landing a game high 27 points as Orewa secured their Premier Grade status for next year (the bottom two teams have to play off for qualification in 2017) with a hard fought 62-54 win against St Kentigern College.

Orewa guard Hannah Wentworth opened the scoring with a triple and there were some early points for St Kent’s forward Vilisi Tavui but Orewa ended the first period 17-13 ahead.

Summer Jean Motufua led the St Kent’s reply in the second as they closed to within three points, 31-28 at the interval.

Diakhaby was a constant threat for the home team and with Wentworth and Ariana Henare landing shots from beyond the three point arc Orewa took a handy 47-41 lead into the last period.

Motofua and Tash Leisman kept the score ticking over for St Kent’s but it was to be Orewa’s day, their team able to wave their USA bound centre off with a valuable win.

Final Score Orewa 62 – Diakhaby 27, Henare 16, Wentworth 12 St Kentigern 54 – Motufua 20, Tavui 8, Renee Flay 8, Leisman 8

The Westlake Girls High School trio of Tiarna Clarke, Rosie Davison and Keeley Tini shared 59 points as their team edged Auckland Girls Grammar School 69-65 in a top of the table clash.

Clarke scored three triples in a tied first quarter before Rionne Papa converted a pair of threes to compliment Mele Latu’s free scoring to give AGGS a 36-26 half-time advantage.

The two teams exchanged baskets in the third as the home team preserved their double-digit lead.

Westlake stormed back in the final quarter with Clarke adding two more treys sandwiched between Tini and Davison scores as the visitors went ahead 57-56 with 4 minutes to play.

Elianna Tuaiti and Latu responded for AGGS but Sophie Dil made a crucial basket and Tini (12 points in the final quarter) iced the game from the free throw line to see Westlake home.

Final Score: Auckland Grammar 65 – Latu 22, Karma Skilton-Roberts 16, Papa 10, E Tuaiti 9 Westlake 69 – Clarke 22, Tini 19, Davison 18.

Ngakita Paton-Young ended a low scoring first quarter by giving Avondale College a narrow 12-10 lead at Rangitoto College.

Annelina Crosbie scored a triple for Rangi to begin the second quarter and with Riana Rangi-Brown (11 points in the first half) and Bella Elgar finding holes in the Avondale defence the home team eked out a narrow 33-28 half-time advantage.

Teneva and Mariah Ropati shared 12 points for Avondale in the third but 11 points in the period from Kaitlin Burgess and 8 points from NZU16 international Gracie Hasler-Ewin ensured Rangitoto closed a dominant third 63-42 to the good.

Maania Spooner scored a neat left handed finger roll basket and Elgar helped herself to some transition buckets as Rangitoto had little trouble protecting their lead in the final period.

Final Score: Rangitoto 82 – Elgar17, Rangi-Brown 17, Burgess 16, Hasler-Ewin 15 Avondale 54 – Teneva Ropati 19, Mariah Ropati 14, Tuave Fepuleva 8

The result of the Massey High school v Mt Albert Grammar fixture will be posted later.

Premier Girls Standings

10-2 Auckland Girls GS, Westlake Girls HS

8-4 Rangitoto College

7-3 Mt Albert GS

4-7 Orewa College

3-9 Avondale College

2-8 Massey HS

1-10 St Kentigern College




Paalvast remains with Townsville



New Zealand international Chevannah Paalvast will return to the JCU Townsville Fire after signing a new one-year deal.

Having secured a championship during her maiden season in the WNBL, the 24-year-old, who has spent the off-season with the Tall Ferns attempting to qualify for the Rio Olympics, will return to the Fire looking to establish herself as one of the competition’s premier lock-down defenders.

During limited minutes for the Fire last season, Paalvast showed glimpses of her international form that has seen her secure a place in the starting line-up for New Zealand and has carried that through to the QBL where she is averaging 15.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists for Townsville Flames.

“I’m extremely happy to have signed with the Fire once again,” Paalvast said.

“It’s great to be back playing with some amazing teammates and coaches and to be able to stay in this community.

“It’s a great place to play basketball,” added the former Waitakere player.

Having proven herself in the international arena in recent months – and last year’s Oceania Championships – head coach Claudia Brassard said she was hopeful of Paalvast taken on a greater role for the Fire in her sophomore season.

“Chevy is a very hard working player who commits herself to our team and our culture by giving 100 per cent,” Brassard said.

“She is an aggressive and athletic defender that can provide immediate impact in the game.

“She had a solid off-season with the New Zealand team and hopefully she keeps building on from there.”

Fellow Tall Fern Micaela Cocks has also committed to a further year with the AWNBL champions.

The Fire have one remaining contracted position for 2016/17 with an announcement expected in the near future.

JCU Townsville Fire Squad: Haylee Andrews (development player), Suzy Batkovic, Micaela Cocks, Darcee Garbin, Mia Murray, Chevannah Paalvast, Mia Murray, Kayla Standish, Ainsley Walsh (development player), Kelly Wilson and Jacqui Zelenka.

Opportunities increasing in New Zealand Women’s basketball



Basketball New Zealand is planning to roll out the red carpet for women basketballers as more New Zealand girls are stepping onto basketball courts than ever before.

According to a Sport New Zealand’s Young Peoples Survey, about 220,000 females currently participate in basketball. Also, the latest New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council census shows that basketball participation is significantly growing at the secondary school level, with an 18% increase during the past three years, which makes it the fastest growing major-sport in the country. New Zealand women have also surpassed the number of Kiwi men playing U.S. college scholarship basketball, with more than 50 as of last year.

Basketball New Zealand’s Community Participation Director, Brad Edwards, says with more New Zealander’s playing the game, it’s an opportunity to establish the sport as one of the leading women’s sports in the country, so the organisation is developing a Women’s Basketball Strategy to do just that.

“We made a number of decisions last year to raise the profile and improve the opportunities in the women’s game. Last year we increased our Tall Ferns budget from $60,000 to $320,000 because we felt strongly about providing for the women’s game as equally as we do for the men’s game. That investment covered an extensive tour this year, and we plan to continue sending the Tall Ferns on preparation tours against strong opposition ahead of pinnacle events.

“We’ve also developed the Women’s New Zealand Select team to grow that second level of elite talent and add to their world-stage experience. The Junior Tall Ferns are also benefitting from a strong development programme, they went on tour to China earlier this year and we’ve just announced a home test-series for them in September,” says Edwards.


At a domestic level, Basketball New Zealand has also lifted the profile of the premiere national competition – the Women’s Basketball Championship – with increased media coverage and livestreaming of games. Edwards says Basketball New Zealand can do more and the developing Women’s Basketball Strategy will build on these improvements.

“It’s simply about ensuring basketball is an accessible and attractive sport for girls and women,” says Edwards.

With that in mind, Basketball New Zealand has just released a new promotional video with the aim of explaining the women’s pathway in basketball, which shows a junior player stepping onto court, growing into the regional and secondary school levels, then right through to the Tall Ferns with Jordan Hunter featured at the end.

“Basketball is offering Kiwi girls a great sporting environment. They love the physicality of the game, the friends they make, the global culture of basketball, and also the international opportunities, which includes college scholarships and professional opportunities that stretch around the globe. Of course the social factor is one of the game’s biggest drawcards – players just need a hoop and a ball to enjoy it.

“At that social level there’s no pressure to perform, it’s just pure fun and that’s attractive for the girls who play. So we feel like the women’s game is going from strength to strength.”

Basketball New Zealand plans to finalise their Women’s Basketball Strategy later this year, outlining more initiatives to grow the female game.



Junior Tall Ferns squad named


Junior Tall Ferns Head Coach Brent Matehaere has named a 14 player squad for a home series against China U19. Seven of the squad toured China with the JTF’s earlier in the year.

The Junior Tall Ferns will play the Chinese in two internationals in Christchurch in early September with Matehaere vowing to play an attractive style of basketball.

“We are trying to create a brand of basketball that the girls enjoy and want to perform. They have to be locked in to every possession, that’s our focus in order to give ourselves a chance odf success on the international stage.”.

The games against China are a key component of the build up towards the FIBA Oceania Championships to be played in Fiji in December. The Championships will double as the Qualifying Tournament for the 2017 Under 19 World Championships.

Matehaere attended the New Zealand Under 19 Championships in Nelson to check on the progress of a number of players. “We wanted to see if they have done the things we asked them to do between the tour of China back in April and now. To see if they are making those steps in the right direction,” he said.

“The selection process began in early 2015 and we (Matehaere and assistant coaches Bronwen Davidson and Trent Adam) have been observing players both in New Zealand and overseas since then.”

“We have been casting the net as wide as possible to put the best team possible on the floor that we can.

“We have sat down together as coaches and assessed how we are going to beat Australia at the Oceania Championships – that’s our goal. We believe that we can put together a group that can challenge the Australian way of playing and challenge their systems.

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 Tiarna Clarke both played for the New Zealand Select team against China B in Auckland over Queens Birthday weekend.

Matehaere is delighted a number of his charges have been able to gain additional international experience.

“It helps that they have had that exposure to international basketball, international travel, dealing with tough places to live, tough playing enviroments. All those little things help with the preperation for the challenges ahead,” he said.

Having home internationals for our New Zealand age group teams is a rarity. The opportunities the two game series with China presents are not lost on Matehaere.

“To have China U19 here, who are preparing for the Asia U19 Championships, is awesome. It is a great opportunity for the 14 players that are available to perform in front of their whanau and display their talents and showcase the international game here in New Zealand, we are really looking forward to it.

I’m sure the Canterbury fans, who love their basketball, will come out in droves to see this team play,” he added.

Canterbury Basketball CEO Paul Duggan is also confident the locals will support the games.

“We are delighted to be once again hosting international basketball in Christchurch. The support for the Tall Ferns series last year against Japan was excellent and we anticipate that the interest in the two game series against China Under 19’s will be equally strong.”

Junior Tall Ferns Squad

Tiarna Clarke (North Harbour)

Aliyah Dunn (Southland)

Jayden Fuiava (Queensland South)

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 Center Academy, New Jersey, USA / North Harbour)

Nicole Ruske (Otago)

Stirling Walker-Pitman (Waikato)

Charlotte Whittaker (North Canterbury)

McKenna Dale (Edwin O Smith High School, Connecticut, USA) and Darci Finnigan (Waitakere West) are selected in the extended squad but unavailable for the series v China.

Coola Baudry and Katie Diakhaby were both unavailable for selection.

Games v China Under 19

Wednesday September 7th, tip off 1.00pm

Thursday September 8th, tip off 7.30pm

Both games will be played at Cowles Stadium, Christchurch.

Canterbury Basketball are repeating the format that worked well for the Tall Ferns v Japan internationals in

Wallbutton and Edmondson rebound in style

Basketball - Tall Ferns v Japan, 27 August 2009

Toni Edmondson

Tall Ferns Lisa Wallbutton and Toni Edmondson demonstrated their rebounding capabilities by collecting a combined 38 boards at the weekend in State League action in Perth.

Edmondson combined 13 rebounds with 12 points as Perry Lakes Hawks secured an impressive 75-62 victory against highflying Rockingham Flames 75-62.

The Hawks moved to 14-7 and 4th place on the ladder with the win, the Flames dropping from first to second.

Lisa Wallbutton had a double figure rebounding count in both Perth Redbacks games. On Friday the Redbacks were well beaten 80-53 by the highly rated Joondalup Wolves with Wallbutton snaring a game high 13 rebounds.

There was better news for the Redbacks on Saturday as they eased to a 69-42 win against Lakeside Lightning to maintain seventh spot and a likely spot place in play-off action with just one game in the regular season remaining.

Wallbutton had 4 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in the win.

Townsville Flames moved up to third on the Queensland Basketball League table with a 77-60 victory at Cairns Dolphins on Saturday.

Chevannah Paalvast posted 11 points and 5 rebounds as the Flames recovered from a 39-37 half-time deficit. A 25-9 third quarter did the trick and carried Townsville to their 11th win of the campaign.

The Kennedy Kereama coached Sunbury Jets moved to 18-0 in the Big V First Division with a 97-41 demolition of Werribee Devils.

Forward Jess Bygate returned to the Jets lineup and posted an efficient 13 points.

The former Nelson forward made all four shots from the field as well as 5 from 7 free throws.

Duane Bailey scored 12 points and collected 8 rebounds as Brisbane Spartans protected home court advantage as they accounted for the Australian Centre of Excellence 101-92 in the SEABL Eastern Division.

The C of E is largely made up of the Australian Under 17 team that finished fifth at the recent FIBA Under 17 World Championships.

In other news from Australia former Breakers guard Rhys Carter has signed with Plymouth Raiders for the 2016-2017 British Basketball League season. The Raiders are coached by another former Breaker Daryl Corletto and had Duane Bailey on their books last season.

Waikato denied triple treat



Waikato Basketball came within a whisker, two whiskers to be precise, of pulling off an age group treble for the second successive year.

In 2015 they swept the board by collecting the Girls Under 19, Under 17 and Under 15 National titles.

For a time on Saturday afternoon it appeared that history would repeat itself.

Having wrapped up the Girls Under 17 title the previous weekend Waikato were within just a pair of possessions of adding the New Zealand Under 19 and Under 15 titles.

It was only in the closing seconds of each final that they were denied an historic three-peat and in both instances it was North Harbour that proved the stumbling block.

Kendall Heremaia looked as if she might carry Waikato to a come from behind win in the Under 19 Final in Nelson.

In the final quarter Harbour had built themselves a 10 point buffer, only for the tenacity of Heremaia to keep her team in touch, with a big three to cut the lead to five. Katie Diakhaby was then able to get to the basket and score for Harbour, only for Heremaia to immediately answer, as Waikato closed to within four points, 56-52, with 37 seconds to play.

That was as close as Waikato got. A clutch steal from Zara Jillings, along with the ensuing free throws, gave Harbour breathing space before another pair of freebies from Darci Finnigan sealed the game for North Harbour giving them a 61-53 victory.

Jillings finished with an impressive stats line of 20 points, 11 rebounds, with support from Tabitha Jenkins (10 points), Coola Baudry (8 pts, 15 rebs), and Katie Diakhaby (8 pts, 3 blocks). Waikato’s Kendell Heremaia finished off an excellent tournament with 25 points and 16 rebounds, with Alyssa Hirawani adding 10 points and 9 rebounds.

The Under 15 Final in Wellington was an even tighter affair. Waikato trailed Harbour by 6 points with just over a minute to play but Honor Wilson and Leila Hemi-Ta’ala (17pts) combined for seven straight points to edge Waikato ahead 73-72 with 26 seconds to play.

However, as she had done all afternoon, Tournament MVP Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu (29pts/25 rebs) steadied the Harbour ship by calmly sinking two free throws and then grabbing an offensive rebound and hitting the put-back basket as the clock wound down to full time.

Harbour avenged their 2015 loss to Waikato winning 76-73. Jessica Moors was the other standout for Harbour finishing with 22 points, 16 boards and six assists.

Waikato Basketball Community Manager and the head coach of the Waikato Under 17 and 19 teams Anthony Corban feels there are a number of factors contributing to the success that the Hamilton association are enjoying.

“The strength of our rep programme is our half court defence which we place a lot of emphasis on. This is probably due to my involvement in the 3×3 programme where there is a heavy emphasis on shell defence.”

Corban is in no doubt that having experienced coaches in local schools is a major contributor to the ongoing success of the Waikato representative teams.

“Having great school coaches – Leanne Walker at St Peter’s and Tyler Wilkinson at Hamilton Girls – supporting our programme is key. We have ongoing communication ensuring rep training and schools training don’t clash.

“We are a group of coaches that work together and I think the results really back that up,” Corban added.

Six Finals and Four titles in two years suggest Waikato has a decent formula.


News on Kiwi’s abroad last week


Double double for Chevannah Paalvast

Overall it was a good weekend for the New Zealand international players based in Australia.

Duane Bailey, obviously making progress from the calf tear he recently suffered, logged 25 minutes for Brisbane Spartans in his fifth game since joining the club at the conclusion of the Southland Sharks season.

The Spartans won a high scoring affair 112-101 against Ballarat Miners in a SEABL Eastern Division tie. Bailey scored 11 points (5/7FG) and added 4 rebounds as the Spartans consolidated second place with a 12-7 record.

Tall Fern Chevannah Paalvast is also based in Queensland playing for Townsville Flames in the Queensland Basketball League.

The Flames split a double-header road trip beating Gladstone Power 88-78 on Friday but then got blown away by Rockhampton Cyclones, 106-91, on Saturday.

The Flames are fourth on the ladder with a 10-4 record.

Ironically Paalvast was relatively quiet in the win on Friday (4pts, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) but close to her best against the Cyclones breezing to a double double of 23 points (10/16FG) and 10 rebounds.

Former Tall Fern Charmian Mellars (nee Purcell) is still getting it done for Gladstone. She produced a team high 20 points plus 11 rebounds.

Lisa Wallbutton was also in good scoring touch for Perth Redbacks as they hammered South West Slammers 100-59 in the Western Australian State League on Saturday.

Wallbutton accumulated 16 points (6/11FG) and gathered 9 rebounds as the Redbacks squeezed back into the top eight with the win.

Sunbury Jets were without Jess Bygate for their visit to Latrobe City but the Kennedy Kereama coached outfit just rolled out another win to remain top of the Big V First Division. The Jets beat Latrobe 78-53 and have now won 17 straight and are yet to be beaten in the current campaign.

Tournament teams from U17 Nationals

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MVP James Moors (No 35)

Below are the Boy’ and Girl’s Tournament Teams from the 2016 Under 17 National Championships played at NSEC last week.


Harrison Clarke (Harbour)

Will Harrison (Canterbury)

Tom Higgins (Central Country)

Peter Jenkins (Harbour)

Kale Lawson (Waitakere)

Connor McLaughlin (Canterbury)

James Moors –MVP (Harbour)

Jack Morrison (Auckland Counties)

Oscar Oswald (Palmerston North)

Lachlan Scott (Palmerston North)


Amiee Book (Tasman)

Chanel Brodeur-Muir (Harbour)

Zhanay Hettig (Waikato)

Grace Hunter (Wellington)

Mele Latu (Waitakere)

Charlisse Leger-Walker MVP (Waikato)

Tsubasa Nisbett (Canterbury)

Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Counties)

Elianna Tuaiti (Waitakere)

Charlotte Whittaker (North Canterbury)


Charlisse Leger-Walker in action for Junior Tall Ferns


Harbour Boys and Waikato Girls retain National U17 titles


The 2016 Boys and Girls Under 17 National Championship titles were retained in convincing fashion at North Shore Events Centre on Saturday evening.

North Harbour beat Palmerston North 94-63 to win the boys title and Waikato defeated Waitakere West 64-46 in the Girls Final.

Tournament MVP Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 25 points for Waikato who never looked back after opening an early 9-0 lead.

The Waikato opening burst was ended by an Elianna Tuaiti free throw but a pair of Leger-Walker triples pushed the Waikato advantage out to 19-7 at quarter time.

A long three from Mele Latu briefly reduced the arrears but Ella Bradley and Leger-Walker (again) reinstated a double digit Waikato lead.

The Waikato defence was stifling the Waitakere offence although baskets late in the half from Abigail Roache, Shauna Povey and Mele hinted at better things for Waitakere.

That was somewhat nullified when Riva Walker-Pitman scored a couple of neat jumpers to give Waikato a 34-17 half time advantage.

Leger-Walker led all scorers with 19 points at the interval.

A Latu three plus a Sylvia Wieczorek deuce spurred the Waitakere support but a couple of nice Zhanay Hettig scores kept the Waikato advantage close to twenty points.

A couple of long threes from Waitakere West guard Priscilla Tuala kept Waitakere in the contest trailing 47-34 at three-quarter time.

Harriet Berry buried a three to extend the Waikato lead to 53-37 with six minutes to play. Riva Walker-Pitman extended the Waikato advantage and Zhanay Hettig capped a fine performance with a banked two to see off the Waikato resistance.

Final score: Waikato 64 – Charlisse Leger-Walker 24, Riva Walker-Pitman 10, Zhanay Zettig 9, Koha Lewis 9 Waitakere 46 – Mele Latu 15, Priscilla Tuala 11, Elianna Tuaiti 9, Abigail Roache 6

Waikato coach Anthony Corbin was understandably pleased with the win.

“We have built towards this performance and I think our fitness levels really shone from the start of the game. Leanne (Walker) has done a great job with our defence up the floor and I’ve focused on our offensive sets and it has really flowed from there.

“The young coaches had done a fine job with the Waitakere team but we felt they were predominantly a two player team. From the start we focused on the point guard (Tuaiti). She’s a very talented player but I thought Harriet Berry, Koha (Lewis) and Riva (Walker-Pitman) did a great job of annoying her.

“Our strength is our half court defence which is probably due to my involvement in the 3×3 programme where there is a heavy emphasis on shell D.

“And then of course we have Charlisse (Leger-Walker) who is very talented and a good leader of our group,” he added.

Leger-Walker was quick to point out that the win was a team effort.

“We had great support from throughout the whole team, everyone stepped up today. Our bench was really hyped and we feed off all the energy they generate.

“I think the girls came together really well today,” she added.

Perhaps that was a slight understatement!



The Boys Final also went the way of the defending champions.

Harry Clarke scored three early baskets for Harbour but scores from Tama Faamausili and Oscar Oswald kept Palmerston North on the heels of the hosts.

Peter Jenkins had the final say in the stanza – Harbour ahead 26-10 at quarter time.

A Faamausili And 1 play opened the scoring in the second and a Lachlan Scott triple helped build the Palmerston confidence.

Harbour were struggling to make a basket in the middle of the period until Mitchell Dance and Kruz Perrott-Hunt found a way to the hoop on consecutive plays.

Tournament MVP James Moors capped a fine first half with a neat jumper to help his team to a 43-28 interval advantage.

A Perrott-Hunt floater took the Harbour advantage into the twenties and it became 56-35 when Clarke scored in transition from a sweet Logan McIntosh pass.

Oswald and Clarke exchanged jump shots before a pair of Harbour steals presented McIntosh with consecutive transition buckets.

Kahurangi Devonshire landed from deep for Palmerston but Harbour had a hand on the trophy at three-quarter time with a 65-44 lead.

There was no way back for Palmerston as Harbour bossed the final quarter in the same fashion that they had dominated the tournament.

Final score; Harbour 94– Harry Clarke 21, James Moors 18, Mitchell Dance 16, Peter Jenkins 13 Palmerston North 63 – Oscar Oswald 18, Tama Faamausili 13, Lachlan Scott 9, Cooper Boyce-Towler 8

Harbour coach Morgan Maskell has known many of his players since they were 12 years old and was delighted with their success.

“We really wanted it. Two years ago we had nine of this group when we lost in the U15 Final to Palmerston North so to get this win is satisfying. To get the first title together with this group that is so tight, to get it with such a dominant team (an average 40+ winning margin) it is real special.”

Harbour captain Kruz Perrott-Hunt was almost lost for words, “It’s an amazing feeling just being together with my team, I’m just really happy.

“We have a 12 man bench and everyone contributes in different ways, it fees so good,” he said.

Most of these players now return to their High School programmes with a view to qualifying for the Secondary Schools National Championships in October.