The Jenkins sisters, Jillings and Pupuke-Robati shine in Mexicali League


Sharne Pupuke-Robati

The 2016 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam Women’s competition began on Saturday with some of the best age group players in Auckland demonstrating their abilities.

In the opening game The Suns were too good for The Sparks winning 62-53 on the back of a combined 25 points from the Jenkins sisters Tabitha and Annabelle.

Eight early points from former Tall Fern Amanda Buck and half a dozen from Yzabelle Tevao helped the Sparks to a 26-23 half-time lead. Tabitha Jenkins with 10 points led all scorers at the interval.

Mikayla Blair landed a brace of baskets and Shauna Povey connected with a triple and with the Sparks kept to ten points in the quarter the Suns rose to a 39-36 three-quarter time advantage.

Despite 8 points in the final quarter from Kaitlin Burgess the Sparks were left in the shadows of the Sun down the stretch – threes from Blair, Povey and Sylvia Wierzorek plus eight points from Annabelle Jenkins saw the Suns home.

Final score;

Suns 62 – Blair 16, T Jenkins 15, A Jenkins 10, Wierzorek 8, Povey 7

Sparks 53 – Buck 12, Burgess 11, Theyers 7, Tevao 6, Kelman-Poto 6

In game two Team Storm prevailed against Team Sky 79-70 with Junior Tall Fern Zara Jillings nailing 27 points for Storm.

Storm held a commanding 38-24 advantage at half-time with Jillings and Georgie Henare connecting from long range on a couple of occasion s each.

Team Sky, led by NZ Under 16 standout Sharne Pupuke-Robati, came back strongly in the second half to reduce the deficit. A three from Jordan Maddix and regular contributions from Ngapipi Herewini kept the Sky score ticking along.

However Jillings (five triples in the game), fellow Westlaker Keeley Tini and Under 15 Nationals MVP Jazz Kailahi were in no mood to allow their early advantage to evaporate holding on for the win despite being outscored 24-19 in the last period.

Final score;

Storm 79 – Jillings 27, Jazz Kailahi 13, Tini 11, Henare 11

Sky 70 – Pupuke-Robati 19, N Herewini 12, Maddix 9, Te Huia Taylor 9


Close games were the order of the day in the second round of the Men’s 2016 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam.

The Breakers Development team included all three SKYCITY Breakers D players Ethan Rusbatch, Sam Waardenburg and Derone Raukawa as well as rostered player Jordan Ngatai for their encounter with Mai FM 88 Sixers.

Raukawa, returning after a 6 week lay off with a badly broken finger, was quickly in the action combining well with Ngatai and knocking down a couple of trade mark jumpers as the Breakers forged a 41-35 advantage

Brook Ruscoe showed touches of class to keep the Sixers in touch as did the double B forward punch of Patrich Bolstad and Nick Barrow.

A couple of typical Manny Matambanadzo slashing penetrative drives were countered by Isaac Letoa and Rusbatch triples.

Johnny Fesolai edged Sixers ahead at half-time 57-55 as they continued to trouble the Breakers on the glass.

The Sixers opened the second half with a 9-2 run but quickly racked up fouls gifting the Breakers opportunities at the foul line, the Breakers drawing level 54 each courtesy of Rusbatch

Thomas Whyte and Kruz Perrott-Hunt sunk threes although a drive and the bonus from Ruscoe kept Sixers 80-77 to the good at three-quarter time.

A Sam Waardenburg put back tied the scores with four minutes to play.

It was 90 apiece with three to play but a couple of Dan Fotu defensive efforts turned the game in favour of the Breakers. On consecutive plays the swingman came up with an athletic block and a key defensive rebound allowing Ngatai the opportunity to score at the offensive end to open a narrow 93-90 lead.

Ana Haku took advantage of some sloppy Breakers defensive work to narrow the gap to a single point but the experienced Tall Blacks pair of Rusbatch and Ngatai sealed a narrow 96-94 win for the Breakers.

Final Score;

Breakers 96 – Ngatai 22, Rusbatch 17, Waardenburg 14, Fotu 11, Perrott-Hunt 9, Raukawa 7, Whyte 7

Mai FM 88 Sixers 94 – Ruscoe 24, Fesolai 16, Haku 14, McIntosh 11, Matambanadzo 9, Barrow 8

In the second game Justin Bailey, Carl Buck and Brandon Lucas, a senior last season at East Central University Tigers, made up an all American back court for The Birdmen, the trio helping them to remain in touch with 68a Nelson Street at half time.

Nelson Street held a 57-53 advantage with Marco Alexander and Lindsay Tait prominent.

Lucas led all scorers with 19 points at the break, Tait next best with 17 points for Nelson Street.

The in form Jaylen Gerrand and Lucas landed threes but a spinning drive from Liam Thornton and a couple of Joe Webb scores reduced the arrears before James and Bailey added buckets to keep Birdmen ahead at three-quarter time 89-82.

A Gerrand three brought up the 100 for Birdmen necessitating a time by Nelson Street – trailing by ten points with 5:35 to play and without the influential Dillon Boucher (fouled out early in the fourth quarter).

Joe Webb and Linus Jakszt gave Nelson Street some hope but Buck and Sam Aruwa took the advantage, in favour of the Birdmen, to 112-103 entering the last two minutes and that was enough to seal the win.

Final score;

Birdmen 116 – Bailey 26, Lucas 26,Gerrand 17, Buck 16, Sam Aruwa 13, Schipper 10

68a Nelson St 110 – Tait 31, Alexander 29, Boucher 14, Jakszt 14, Webb 12, Thornton 10

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