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.