Monthly Archives: September 2016

Finalists found at Secondary School Nationals


Charlisse Leger-Walker orchestrated the St Peter’s win

The major news from the penultimate day of the SAS Secondary School Championships in Palmerston North is that the 2015 champions, St Peter’s School and Rangitoto College are headed back to the final.

In the first girls semi-final St Peter’s School, Cambridge edged a high quality encounter with Westlake Girls 79-76. The Junior Tall Ferns quartet of Charlisse Leger-Walker, Kendell Heremaia, (for St Peter’s) and Tiarna Clarke and Zara Jillings (for Westlake) combined for an incredible 102 points.

The decision making of Charlisse Leger-Walker and Kendell Heremaia was exemplary, particularly down the stretch, as they held off the determined Westlake side.

The game that was tight throughout. 16-15 at the first break and 34 apiece at half-time became 56-53 to St Peter’s at the last break with never more than four points in it.

A Jillings And 1 play put Westlake ahead 63-62 early in the fourth but Heremaia and the hard working Ella Bradley restored the St Peter’s lead. A long Clarke three gave Westlake the lead with three to play but the big three of Leger-Walker, Heremaia and Bradley responded  again. Jillings once again gave Lake the lead (74-73) with 1:15 to play but the defending champions would not be denied as Bradley and Heremaia made the go ahead scores and this time there was no way back for Westlake

Final score; St Peter’s 79 – Leger-Walker 30 points/14 rebounds/7assists, Heremaia 26/14, Bradley 19/7/3/3steals

Westlake 76 – Jillings 26/8/4, Clarke 20 (4/5 3PG), Tini 10/12, Shearer 10/12

In the second girls semi-final the surprise package of the tournament, Mt Albert Grammar School continued their winning run defeating local rivals Auckland Girls Grammar School 75-58.

Sharne Pupuke-Robati was huge for Mt Albert doing a lot of damage in the paint alongside Trinity Paeu. Pupuke-Robati finished with 27 points and 15 rebounds as Mt Albert led for all but the first five minutes of the game.

They opened with a 15-6 quarter, led 32-20 at the interval and 48-39 entering the last period.

Auckland started the fourth quarter strongly with tireless captain Elianna Tuiti, Mele Latu, Rionne Papa and the Tyla Tuala all working their way to basket. But every time Auckland made a run Mt Albert were able to find a counter – Rhyannon Poto often the architect of accurate offence.

A Tuala three gave Grammar hope, 64-48 with 5 minutes to play but that evaporated as Pupuke-Robati made back to back baskets, Jodeci Joseph scored off a Poto pass then the roles were reversed as Joseph fed Poto to cap a fine team performance from Mt Albert.

Final score: Mt Albert 75 – Pupuke-Robati 27/15rebs, Paeu 12, Joseph 12, Poto 10/8rebs/7assists

Auckland – Papa 18/7, Tuala 15, Latu 13/22, E Tuaiti 10/7

Both teams struggled for offensive fluency in the opening half of the first boys semi-final with Rangitoto College enjoying slightly better success leading 36-25 against Auckland Grammar at half-time. Sam Waardenburg had 16 points for the holders, Taki Fahrensohn 8 points for Grammar at the break.

Fahrensohn and Thomas Whyte made some inroads into the Rangi lead but every time a run looked like coming Waardenburg and Dan Fotu would find a way to basket. From nowhere Sam Aruwa landed a three on the three-quater time hooter and Grammar were back in contention down just 47-41.

Another Whyte triple got the Grammar supporters excited and although Brayden Inger made a couple of baskets Grammar only trailed 60-53 after a pair of Farensohn buckets.

Rangi point guard Harry Clarke then stamped his mark on the game making three triples in the final period to stretch the advantage to 69-53 before Waardenburg with a dunk off a back cut put the exclamation mark on the win, Grammar outscored 29-18 in the final quarter.

Final score: Rangitoto 76 – Waardenburg 30 points/ 16 rebounds, Fotu 17/7, Clarke 9 (3/3 3PG), Inger 7, Te Puni 6/7

Auckland Grammar 59 – Fahrensohn 19/12, Aruwa 13, Flanagan 11/10, Whyte 8

In the second boys semi-final a low scoring game was won 59-53 by Palmerston North Boys High School over New Plymouth Boys High School much to the delight of large vociferous home crowd.

The home side led 32-21 at half time and 45-36 at three-quarter time. It was looking comfortable for Palmy before Corbin Giddy initiated a New Plymouth come back.

The crowd went quiet as Thane O’Leary trimmed the Palmerston advantage to just a single point, 45-44 with 4 minutes to play.

Sitting on four fouls Palmerston centre Callum McLeod was reintroduced and he immediately scored, as did Jack Henry. The impressive Oscar Oswald landed a three then blocked yet another shot and Palmerston suddenly had breathing space leading 56-48 with two minutes to play.

Baxter Fenwick landed a triple for New Plymouth but it wasn’t enough and it is Palmerston North who will face Rangitoto in the final.

Final Score; Palmerston North 59 – Henry 14, Walker 13/9, Oswald 12/5blocks, Faamausili 12

New Plymouth 53 – Giddy 20/8, Potts-Broughton 11/13, Fenwick 9, O’Leary 7/12

Semi-Finalists now known at Secondary School Nationals


Zack Te Puni was in fine form for Rangitoto

Defending champions Rangitoto College Boys and St Peter’s, Cambridge Girls remain on course for successful title defences after comfortable quarter-final victories on Day four of the National Secondary School Championships in Palmerston North on Thursday.

Rangitoto led 38-28 at half-time against Rosmini College who, led by centre Will Heather, surged to within a single point, 42-41 at the back end of the third quarter.

Rangitoto had been run down by Rosmini in the fourth quarter of the Auckland Prems Final just over a month ago but were in no mood to allow history to repeat itself in this one.

Rangi got 21 points out of Sam Waardenburg but it was the the lesser lights ZacK Te Puni and Kaycee Anibueze who provided the spark in the fourth quarter to nail the win.

Rangi led just 48-43 at three-quarter time but Te Puni inside and Anibueze cutting and driving prompted a 14-2 run. Dan Fotu then nailed a corner three to extend the lead to 62-45 and it was game over. Final score 71-52.

In other Boys quarter-finals Auckland Grammar, with Taki Fahrensohn to the fore, won a high scoring encounter against Christchurch Boys High School 103-93.

Another points bonanza was won by hosts Palmerston North Boys High School but only just. With big man Callum McRae in good form they led by over 20 points  but had to survive a late Westlake Boys charge before edging home 97-94.

The fourth tie went the way of New Plymouth Boys High School who accounted for a valiant Kelston Boys 84-75.

In the semi-finals Rangitoto College will play Auckland Grammar in an all Auckland affair leaving Zone three rivals New Plymouth and Palmerston North to battle for the other grand final place.

St Peter’s Girls just purr along having little trouble against New Plymouth Girls High School. Once again the St Peter’s effort was built around defence giving up just 36 points in a dominating 60-36 performance.

If St Peter’s are to go back to back they will have to do it against the best that Auckland can throw at them.

Westlake Girls, unbeaten since the opening day loss to Mt Albert, will be their semi-final opponents. They breezed past Waimea 91-59 so now the Zone I Premiership champs face the Zone 2 Premiership champs for a place in the final.

Should St Peter’s win they will then face another City of Sails opponent as semi-final tw0 is an all Auckland affair between traditional rivals Mt Albert Grammar and Auckland Girls Grammar.

Mt Albert’s fairytale run continued as they disposed of Melville High 76-55 while Auckland  won a thriller, 66-63, against Hamilton Girls High School.

Looks like a day in front of the little screen on Friday watching semi-final action courtesy of Maori TV live streaming.



Quarter-Finalists found at Secondary Schools Nationals


Half way through the basketball extravaganza that is the Secondary Schools Nationals and the quarter- finalists have been found in both the Boys and Girls Competitions

In Boys Pool A the game to decide top spot between Westlake (4-1) and Rangitoto (5-0) was a low key affair with both teams giving prolonged court time to their bench players and just going through the motions ahead of more serious business on Thursday – Rangi winning 101-79.

These two teams now cross-over with the top finishers in Pool C. The unbeaten Palmerston North Boys HS (5-0) will take on Westlake in one quarter-final with Rosmini College (4-1) having the unenviable task of trying to knock over Rangitoto College.

Rosmini are 2-2 against the defending champions this season so it could be a fun watch and hopefully live streamed.

In Pool B Mt Albert GS (3-2) gave it a shake against New Plymouth Boys High School (5-0) in their quest for a quarter final spot but were eventually beaten 81-55.

Earlier in the day NPBHS had edged Auckland Grammar (4-1)  82-74 to ensure the more favourable match up moving ahead.

The Pool B protagonists cross-over against the top two sides from Pool D, the highly fancied Christchurch Boys High School (5-0) and a little surprisingly  Kelston Boys High School. They and St John’s College, Hamilton finished with an identical 3-2 record but Kelston progress courtesy of a 96-84 victory in the head to head.

The result means that Zone 2 will not have a representative in the last eight.

Boys Quarter-Final draw:

Rangitoto  v Rosmini

Palmerston North v Westlake

Christchurch Boys High  v Auckland Grammar

New Plymouth Boys High  v Kelston Boys High

Zone 1 have 5 representatives, Zone 2 have zero, Zone 3 have 2 and Zone 4 have 1

In the Girls competition St Peter’s Cambridge breezed through the preliminaries to secure top spot in Pool A (5-0) with Auckland Girls Grammar (4-1) second.

Hamilton Girls HS tussled with New Plymouth Girls HS to decide the top two spots in Pool C. Both were through but the winners would avoid St Peter’s and it was Hamilton that claimed the win 58-49.

Mt Albert Grammar (5-0) emerged from Pool B unscathed leaving St Mary’s College, Wellington and Westlake Girls to battle it out for second place in the final round of the day for the second spot. And what a battle it was the result going down to the wire before Westlake emerged 63-59 to the good and advance to the last eight.

It also took the last round of the day to settle Pool D. Melville High (4-1) had to wait for the outcome of the Rangi Ruru v Waimea College game to see who progressed. If Rangi Ruru could cause an upset all three teams would have a 4-1 record. Form prevailed and Waimea (5-0) won 82-74

Girls Quarter-Final draw;

St Peter’s Cambridge v New Plymouth Girls HS

Auckland Girls Grammar v Hamilton Girls

Mt Albert Grammar v Melville HS

Westlake v Waimea Coll

That’s 3 teams from Z1, 3 from Z2, and 1 each from Zone’s 3 and 4




Which teams are unbeaten at Secondary Schools Nationals?


12 to be precise – 6 girls teams, 6 boys teams.

With a number of American College coaches an scouts looking on the cream has started to rise to the top at Secondary School Nationals in Palmerston North on Day 2.

In the Boys Competition Westlake and Rangitoto will advance from Pool A. The only Boys Pool to have completed four round robin games the two North Shore teams are 4-0 and quarter-finals bound. There clash tomorrow will sort out rankings and local bragging rights.

Pool B appears equally clear cut with New Plymouth Boys High and Auckland Grammar heading the pack with 3-0 records.

Pool C is less clear. Palmerston Boys High School (3-0) look assured of topping the pile but who will advance with them? With two games scheduled on Day 3 Rosmini College (2-1), Hamilton Boys (1-2) an Te Awamutu College (2-1) will all give it a nudge.

Kelston Boys (2-1) threw the cat amongst the pigeons by beating St John’s Hamilton (2-1) late on Day 2 in Pool D. Like Pool three there is a clear leader in Christchurch Boys (3-0) but there is plenty to play for for the chasing pack

Mt Albert Grammar (3-0) continue to be the storyline in the early stages of the Girls competition, they top the Pool of death otherwise known as Pool B. Due to a lopsided draw at Premierships MAGS finished fifth but were always going to be dark horses at Nationals having been good enough to finish third in the Auckland Premier competition.

On day one they beat the more favoured Westlake Girls (2-1) and St Mary’s College, Wellington (2-1). Today they disposed of Rangitoto College (1-2)  and now have one foot in the quarter-finals.

St Peter’s, Cambridge (4-0) comfortably trumped Auckland Girls Grammar (3-1) in Pool A with both likely top 8 bound.

In Pool C Hamilton Girls and New Plymouth Girls High are 3-0 as are the South Island pair of  Rangi Ruru and Waimea in Pool D. It will be a surprise if any of these four fail to progress to the quarters.

Day 2 results

Fraser 67 V 78 Scots (AA Boys Pool D)
Te Awamutu 100 V 95 Selwyn (AA Boys Pool C)
Kings 58 V 73 St Johns Hamilton (AA Boys Pool D)
Palmerston North Boys 76 V 73 Rosmini (AA Boys Pool C)
Hastings Boys 60 V 49 Hamilton Boys (AA Boys Pool C)
Manukura 60 V 66 St Kevins (A Boys Pool A)
Epsom Girls 54 V 77 Marlborough Girls (AA Girls Pool C)
Kelston Boys 61 V 113 Christchurch Boys (AA Boys Pool D)
Rotorua Girls 67 V 78 Hamilton Girls (AA Girls Pool C)
Hutt Valley 52 V 58 New Plymouth Girls (AA Girls Pool C)
St Peters Cambridge 88 V 36 Napier Girls (AA Girls Pool A)
Cashmere 67 V 74 Otago Boys (AA Boys Pool A)
Rangitoto 90 V 58 Melville (AA Boys Pool A)
Wellington Girls 48 V 85 Auckland Girls Grammar (AA Girls Pool A)
Fraser 92 V 41 Tauranga Girls (AA Girls Pool A)
Westlake Boys 99 V 83 Hillcrest (AA Boys Pool A)
Rangi Ruru 64 V 55 Massey (AA Girls Pool D)
Auckland Grammar 94 V 74 Christs Col (AA Boys Pool B)
Mt Albert Grammar 65 V 60 Rangitoto (AA Girls Pool B) Arena 2
Rangiora 68 V 70 Hastings Girls (AA Girls Pool D)
Westlake Girls 97 V 68 Christchurch Girls (AA Girls Pool B)
St Marys Wellington 105 V 43 Middleton Grange (AA Girls Pool B)
Waimea 67 V 42 Melville (AA Girls Pool D)
St Patricks Kilbirnie 51 V 60 Mt Albert Grammar (AA Boys Pool B)
Nelson Col 69 V 74 New Plymouth Boys (AA Boys Pool B)
Palmerston North Boys 75 V 55 Hamilton Boys (AA Boys Pool C)
Selwyn 58 V 120 Rosmini (AA Boys Pool C)
Te Awamutu 76 V 74 Hastings Boys (AA Boys Pool C)
Fraser 58 V 89 Kings (AA Boys Pool D)

Rotorua Girls 83 V 49 Hutt Valley (AA Girls Pool C)
Scots 58 V 94 Christchurch Boys (AA Boys Pool D)
Hamilton Girls 89 V 35 Marlborough Girls (AA Girls Pool C)
Kelston Boys 96 V 84 St Johns Hamilton (AA Boys Pool D)
New Plymouth Girls 90 V 47 Epsom Girls (AA Girls Pool C) Arena 2
Melville 68 V 79 Westlake Boys (AA Boys Pool A) Court 1
Tauranga Girls 61 V 83 Wellington Girls (AA Girls Pool A) Court 2
Hillcrest 99 V 87 Cashmere (AA Boys Pool A) Court 4
Auckland Girls Grammar 57 V 84 St Peters Cambridge (AA Girls Pool A) Court 5
Napier Girls 73 V 72 Fraser (AA Girls Pool A) Court 6
Otago Boys 46 V 67 Rangitoto (AA Boys Pool A) Court 8







Mt Albert Girls the big winners on Day 1 at SAS Secondary Schools Nationals

Most games went with seedings on the opening day of the SAS Secondary Schools National Championships in Palmerston North on Monday.

Defending champions Rangitoto College had a couple of ton up performances to begin their campaign and Westlake Boys also had a couple of wins to share top spot in Pool A

In Pool B Auckland Grammar and New Plymouth Boys High School look like the teams to beat after both recorded a brace of victories.

Teams in Pool C and D only had one game each. In Pool C there were wins for Rosmini College, Hamilton Boys HS and Palmerston North Boys HS whilst in Pool D Christchurch Boys HS, St John’s College and Kelston Boys came away with the W’s.

The big winners on Day I in the Girls tournament were Mt Albert Grammar School beating both the Zone 1 winners Westlake and the and Zone 3 winners St Mary’s College, Wellington. Barring an upset they look certain to progress from Pool B with Westlake, St Mary’s and perhaps Rangitoto College fighting for the second berth.

In Pool A defending champions St Peter’s College, Cambridge cruised to a couple of wins as did Auckland Girls Grammar school.

Hamilton Girls, New Plymouth GHS and Hutt Valley were on the right side of the ledger in Pool C with victories in their only game of the day.

The top two seeded teams in the South Island Rangi Ruru and Waimea College both had a pair of win’s in Pool D as did Melville High to leave all to play for over the next couple of days.

Day 1 Results

Westlake Boys 87 V 72 Cashmere (AA Boys Pool A)
Melville 88 V 71 Otago Boys (AA Boys Pool A)
St Patricks Kilbirnie 82 V 73 Nelson Col (AA Boys Pool B)
Christs Col 55 V 73 New Plymouth Boys (AA Boys Pool B)
St Marys Wellington 98 V 52 Christchurch Girls (AA Girls Pool B)
Westlake Girls 56 V 70 Mt Albert Grammar (AA Girls Pool B)
Auckland Grammar 89 V 78 Mt Albert Grammar (AA Boys Pool B)

St Peters Cambridge 62 V 25 Tauranga Girls (AA Girls Pool A)
Middleton Grange 27 V 91 Rangitoto (AA Girls Pool B)
Napier Girls 31 V 78 Auckland Girls Grammar (AA Girls Pool A)
Rangitoto 114 V 40 Hillcrest (AA Boys Pool A)
Fraser 76 V 89 Wellington Girls (AA Girls Pool A)

Rangi Ruru 53 V 39 Rangiora (AA Girls Pool D)
Christchurch Boys 96 V 61 Kings (AA Boys Pool D)
Waimea 92 V 59 Massey (AA Girls Pool D)
Melville 72 V 50 Hastings Girls (AA Girls Pool D)
Rosmini 90 V 39 Hastings Boys (AA Boys Pool C)
Hamilton Boys 93 V 83 Te Awamutu (AA Boys Pool C)
Hamilton Girls 103 V 18 Epsom Girls (AA Girls Pool C)
New Plymouth Girls 81 V 74 Rotorua Girls (AA Girls Pool C)
Marlborough Girls 44 V 90 Hutt Valley (AA Girls Pool C)
Scots 83 V 86 Kelston Boys (AA Boys Pool D)
St Johns Hamilton 86 V 63 Fraser (AA Boys Pool D)
Selwyn 81 V 90 Palmerston North Boys (AA Boys Pool C)
New Plymouth Boys 68 V 60 St Patricks Kilbirnie (AA Boys Pool B)
Mt Albert Grammar 56 V 52 St Marys Wellington (AA Girls Pool B)
Nelson Col 54 V 91 Auckland Grammar (AA Boys Pool B)
Mt Albert Grammar Boys 82 V 67 Christs Col (AA Boys Pool B)
Otago Boys 61 V 80 Westlake Boys (AA Boys Pool A)

Tauranga Girls 45 V 66 Napier Girls (AA Girls Pool A)
Wellington Girls 32 V 62 St Peters Cambridge (AA Girls Pool A)
Cashmere 57 V 104 Rangitoto (AA Boys Pool A)
Christchurch Girls 72 V 69 Middleton Grange (AA Girls Pool B)
Rangitoto 61 V 82 Westlake Girls (AA Girls Pool B)
Hillcrest 89 V 79 Melville (AA Boys Pool A)

Massey 25 V 89 Melville (AA Girls Pool D)

Hastings Girls 58 V 59 Rangi Ruru (AA Girls Pool D)
Rangiora 53 V 66 Waimea (AA Girls Pool D)
Auckland Girls Grammar 73 V 61 Fraser (AA Girls Pool A)

2001-2002 Tall Blacks flash back


It certainly doesn’t seem 15 years ago that the Tall Blacks sealed an historic victory against the Australian Boomers to win the FIBA Oceania Championships and book a passage to the 2002 World Championships.

The Tall Blacks won the first fixture of the three game series in Wellington 85-78 but when the second game was lost  81-79 in overtime, the following day, at Mystery Creek many felt the hosts had lost their chanced to progress.

However a third game in as many days went the way of the Kiwis 89-78 in front of a raucous crowd at North Shore Events Centre and history was made. The Tall Blacks led 70-67 at three-quarter time and turned the defensive screws in the final period keeping the Boomers to just 11 points.

Aussie coach Phil Smythe is probably still having nightmares about game three but for all associated with New Zealand basketball the series and that result on September 23rd, 2001 will stay long in the memory.

The Tall Blacks team reads like a who’s who of New Zealand Basketball from the past couple of decades with a good number likely to feature if selecting an All-Time Tall Blacks team (and coaching combo).

Dickel, Jones and Cameron would be guaranteed spots with Boucher and Henare both coming into the reckoning as role players from the 2001 group. Sean Marks from the World Champs squad would compliment Pero nicely in the front court.

The New Zealand team that defeated Australia;

4 Mark Dickel
5 Judd Flavell
7 Paul Henare
8 Phill Jones
9 Brendon Cathie-Pongia
10 Dillon Boucher
11 Pero Cameron
12 Tony Rampton
14 Willie Burton
15 Damon Rampton
Head Coach: Tab Baldwin, Assistant Coach: Nenad Vucinic,

The Australian team:
5 Brett Maher
6 Scott McGregor
7 Glen Saville
8 Daniel Egan
10 Darryl McDonald
11 Matthew Neilsen
12 Ben Melmeth
13 Axel Dench
14 Derek Moore
15 Ben Knight
Head Coach: Phil Smyth, Assistant Coach: Steve Breheny, Assistant Coach Gordie McLeod,

The squad that went to Indianapolis in 2012:
4 Mark Dickel
5 Judd Flavell
6 Kirk Penney
7 Paul Henare
8 Phill Jones
9 Paora Winitana
10 Dillon Boucher
11 Pero Cameron
12 Damon Rampton
13 Ed Book
14 Sean Marks
15 Robert Hickey

Jordan Hunter signs for Adelaide


Adelaide Lightning have announced that Tall Ferns point guard Jordan Hunter has signed on for the 2016-17 Australian Women’s National Basketball League season.

Hunter will provide the Lightning with added depth in their guard line up.

The 26 year old has been a regular in the New Zealand team since debuting against Japan in 2010 and played all fifteen games during this year’s international programme.

After completing her studies at St Kentigern College in Auckland Hunter headed to Crowder Community College in the States. She later transferred to Southeast Missouri State University, graduating in 2014. She averaged 8.8 points and a team-leading 3.7 assists for the Redhawks in her senior year.

Since then Hunter has been a stand out in the New Zealand Women’s Basketball Championships (WBC) helping her team, Auckland Counties Manukau Lady Hawks, finish runners-up in 2015. Hunter led the competition in points (20.3ppg) and assists (4.5apg) that season.

Tall Ferns assistant Chris Lucas is at the helm of the Lightning where the Kiwi international playmaker has been training for the past few weeks. During her stay she has made a strong impression on Lucas.

“Jordan brings international experience and has worked for her chance to play in the WNBL,” Lucas told the Adelaide Advertiser.

Hunter is delighted to have been afforded the opportunity to join the Lightning.

“I am extremely privileged to get the chance to play. Chris offered me an opportunity to come over and earn my spot on the team, so I was very relieved to know I had secured a contract for the Lightning.

“Chris has gathered a great bunch of girls, the chemistry between us off court is definitely helping us out on court as we have a mixture of young girls and then some awesome veterans both in the squad and on our coaching staff.

“We’re excited and we’re all working hard for this upcoming season,” she added.

Hunter’s signing brings to five the number of Kiwi internationals that will feature in the WNBL this season.

Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast have re-signed with 2016 champions Townsville Fire, Toni Edmondson has remained with Perth Lynx and Jess Bygate has joined Melbourne Boomers.

Akiene Reed – A young player with ambition


There are a growing number of the top basketball achievers in our high schools, both male and female, gaining scholarships at American colleges. For the young women players the path has been trodden by many before, for example, thirteen of the sixteen players that represented the Tall Ferns in 2016 graduated from, or are currently in, the American college system.

Many of the current crop of Junior Tall Ferns have an eye on a similar route.

A less common basketball/academic path explored by Kiwi teenagers is the United States High School route.

Leaving the comforts of the family home in early teenage years is not for everyone but Junior Tall Fern Akiene Reed is doing just that.

Following the series against China, and a stand out performance in game two where the languid guard scored a game high twenty points and added 8 rebounds and 4 steals, she spoke about her experiences in America.

Reed will be returning to Life Centre Academy, New Jersey for a third and final year after leaving Westlake Girls High School and the family home on Auckland’s north shore mid way through Year 10.

In the past two seasons Reed has played 93 games for Life Centre, known as the Warriors, and is only 37 points shy of 1,000 points for the team.

The Warriors play in the NISAA (National Independent Schools Athletic Association) League and the 188cm guard averages 16.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in one of the premier high school conferences in the US.

During the season the Warriors have a busy schedule often playing four games a week and it is the volume of games and the intensity of the fixtures that drew Reed to the USA.

“In New Zealand the players definitely have the fundamentals and the skills but the intensity back in the US is a lot higher. There are so many players competing for spots that it is very intense. The attraction is that you get to play a lot and get game time under your belt.

“In our conference we have really good competition, it’s said to be the best in the country, and this means every game is really tough,” said Reed.

The level of competition is beneficial for a player that has ambitions to play college basketball.

“For me it is largely about basketball and getting a Division 1 college scholarship.

I’ve had interest from colleges but I haven’t made a decision yet but I will decide later this year where I will go. A lot of the seniors in my year decided a long time ago, so I’m kind of late” she said.

She also points out that academic achievement is also important.

“Our coach is high on players maintaining their academic standards. We have to sign a contract that covers playing standards, off court behaviour and academic standards. You need to stay off the ‘D’ list otherwise you get stood down from games.”

Reed initially headed to California in Year 9 for schooling but in her words “I hated it. I didn’t like the school or the area and the standard of basketball wasn’t very good.”

Fortunately second time around things have worked out well. “I had a clear mind on what I had to get done, I was prepared and knew what my goals were.”

One of her immediate goals is rejoining the Junior Tall Ferns for the Oceania Championships in December. Amusingly for someone who doesn’t turn 18 until later this month she was surprised how young the team is (nine of the squad are younger than Akiene).

“I haven’t played with many of these girls before – some of the girls are really young but they have great skills.

“I love it being part of the team and I am looking forward to taking on the Australians later in the year,” she added.

For now it’s back to the classroom and practice court in New Jersey and another few months away from friends and family.

Breakers go down to Bullets in Tauranga


Akil Mitchell impressed on Breakers debut

The SKYCITY Breakers began their three game pre-season tour with an 80-70 loss against the Brisbane Bullets last night in front of an enthusiastic crowd of close to 3,000 at ASB Arena.

Much interest focused on the performances of new American imports Ben Woodside and Akil Mitchell and both exhibited moments of class.

Woodside (7 points/4rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals), as expected with his Europen experience, look a fine distributor and facilitator whilst also posessing the capacity to knock down the open shot.

With Loe and Vukona in foul trouble Mitchell played more minutes than perhaps anticipated demonstrating athletic capability on defence, speed in transition and a nice touch around the hoop. The man from North Carolina led the Breakers scoring with 15 points, 2 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

The Breakers began the game with a predictable lineup of Woodside, Corey Webster, Tom Abercrombie, Mika Vukona and Rob Loe.

An Abercrombie three started the score rolling for the Breakers who trailed narrowly, 24-23 at quarter time.

Scoring slowed in the second period but with 8 points from Webster and 6 apiece from Abercrombie, Loe and Vukona the scores were locked 37 apiece at half-time.

A highlight of the half was Brisbane swingman Torrey Craig leaping over the scorebench officials in an attempt to execute an intercept.

The Breakers suffered a blow early in the second half when centre Rob Loe had to sit down after picking up his fourth foul. With Vukona also in foul trouble it was left to rookie Finn Delany and new man Mitchell to battle the experienced Brisbane front court.

Despite three points and a shuddering block from Mitchell the Breakers found themselves trailing 57-45 with three minutes remaining in the period and needing a timeout.

A trio of free throws from Isaih Tueta, another basket from Mitchell, and Webster in transition, the deficit was reduced to 59-52 at three-quarter time.

Four minutes into the final quarter the Brisbane lead was twelve points, 68-56.

Despite an And 1 play from Woodside and a triple from Webster the visitors still held sway, 75-65, as Vukona fouled out with three minutes to play.

Mitchell demonstrated he is a fine addition to the Breakers roster with two late baskets but the Bullets lead was never threatened as they eased to a ten point win.

The two teams will meet again in Napier on Thursday needing to address the rebounding count (39-25 in favour of Brisbane) and the perimeter shooting (6 from 28 at 21%). The third and final hit out is in Invercargill on Saturday.

Final Score:

Breakers 70 – Mitchell 15/3 blocks/ 2 steals, Webster 13, Abercrombie 11, Tueta 8, Woodside 7/ 4 assists/3 steals, Loe 7/7 rebs/3 blocks,

Brisbane 80 – Craig 20, Young 12, Jervis 12, Petrie 10

Akiene Reed stars but Junior Tall Ferns lose

Despite a 20 points haul from Akiene Reed the New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns (JTFs) were beaten 76-58 by China Under 19 in Christchurch on Thursday. It was the second defeat in two days for the Kiwis.

China scored the opening basket of the game, but Charlisse Leger-Walker replied on the opening New Zealand offence, Akiene Reed scoring on the second.

Southland’s Aliyah Dunn and Waikato’s Kendell Heremaia converted in the paint but the Junior Tall Ferns trailed 24-12 at quarter time.

New Zealand’s defence improved early in the second period but struggled to score in the half court forcing coach Brent Matehaere to call a timeout with his charges 26-15 down.

Reed, Leger-Walker and Esra McGoldrick scored from the foul line but remarkably the JTF’s went eight minutes without a field goal before Reed pierced the China defence. Reed then landed a triple but China boasted a healthy 38-26 half-time lead.

Reed led the JTF’s scoring with 9 points but finding ways to improve the 7 from 26 (27%) shooting from the field was the major concern for Coach Matehaere to address in the locker room during the interval.

Reed continued her good first half form with the opening score of the second half, then Zara Jillings cut the deficit to single figures.

Spurred on by a sizeable Chinese contingent in the crowd the visitors seized on a couple of JTF’s turnovers to increase their advantage to 48-33 at the mid point in the third.

McGoldrick scored inside and Tiarna Clarke a floater, but baskets continued to be hard to come by for the JTF’s as the China lead extended to 60-41 at three-quarter time.

Clarke scored again with a baseline jump shot to open fourth quarter proceedings and Reed (20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals), the standout for the Kiwis on the night, converted an ‘And 1’ play.

Cantabrian Charlotte Whittaker then scored in the paint much to the delight of the home support, and the lead was cut to 64-51 with 7 minutes to play.

Jiaqi Wang halted the home team run with a three and although the JTF’s found scores from Clarke, Jillings and Whittaker, they were unable to threaten the Chinese lead and fell to a second loss on consecutive nights.

JTF’s head coach Brent Matehaere was proud of his team’s showing against the number one ranked team in Asia, but realizes there is still plenty of work to do.

“Our forwards were tremendous but our transition game let us down tonight. We need to learn to play at speed, however we are still in a building stage and we will take plenty from these two games as we move forward”, he said.

“The play went Akiene Reed’s way tonight and she was outstanding but we need contributions from seven or eight players each game,” he added.

The JTFs always knew the China side were going to be a tough team to beat. While the New Zealand players are still at school with an average age of just 17 years, and come together as a team to train four or five weeks of the year, it is far from the Chinese intensive programme. In contrast the Chinese team is together for eight months of the year playing in a professional league in their home country with just one player still at college – the remainder are full time basketball players.

Coach Matehaere says the experience from the two-game series will be invaluable for the young Kiwis as they look to the FIBA Oceania Championships, in Fiji, this December. The Championships will double as the Qualifying Tournament for the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Championships to be held in Italy.

Final Score:
NZ Junior Tall Ferns 64 – Reed 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, Leger-Walker 7, Whittaker 7/7, Clarke 6, Jillings 6
China 72 – Han Xu 16, Li Yuan 13, Jaiqi Wang 10, Cao Yijia 10

Junior Tall Ferns Squad:
• Tiarna Clarke (North Harbour)
• Aliyah Dunn (Southland)
• 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 (North Harbour)
• Stirling Walker-Pitman (Waikato)
• Charlotte Whittaker (North Canterbury)