Ashleigh Kelman-Poto was the star of the second round of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam Women’s competition on Saturday.
The former Mount Albert Grammar standout was in an unstoppable mood scoring 36 points to lead the Sparks to a 63-51 victory against Team Sky.
Renee Johnston scored an early three for Team Sky but a couple of baskets each from Kaitlin Burgess and Kazia Kelly opened an early lead for Sparks that stretched to 31-21 at half-time
Sharne Pupuke-Robati and Rhyannon Poto, both current MAGS students, did their best to keep Sky in the hunt but Kelman-Poto was in irresistible form scoring 13 straight points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
36 points was a career high for the 24 year old forward who graduated from East Central University, Oklahoma earlier this year.
Sparks 63 – Kelman-Poto 36, Burgess 9, Tangiariki 6
Sky 51 – Pupuke-Robati 11, Poto 10, Manase 8, S Herewini 6
In game two Team Storm won for the second time coming from behind to beat The Suns in a close one 62-59.
The scores were locked 31 apiece at half- time with Safena TeNana-Williams nabbing 10 points for Storm, Anna Lacey and Mikayla Blair leading the way for The Suns.
Both teams were deprived of players early in the second half. Suns guard Shauna Povey was forced out with an ankle injury and Storm forward Keeley Tini followed her to the sideline soon after.
The Suns shone in the third producing a dominating 17-8 surge as Kat Leslie, and the Jenkins duo Annabelle and Tabitha Jenkins cut loose.
The Suns still led by double figures with six minutes to play but were run down by Zara Jillings and Georgie Henare in the closing minutes, the pair scoring a collective 19 points in the fourth.
In an exciting finish Annabelle Jenkins had kept the Suns ahead with a minute to play but a Jillings drive leveled proceedings. A strong inside move from Jazz Kailahi gave the advantage to The Storm only for Blair once again to tie the scores with 30 seconds to play.
Following a timeout Henare nailed a sideline triple – The Suns unable to find an open shot to force overtime in the remaining 11 seconds.
Storm 79 – Jillings 19, TeNana-Williams 11, Henare 7, Tini 6
Suns 59 – A Jenkins 11, T Jenkins 9, Lacey 8, Blair 7