Monthly Archives: December 2016

W’s for Davidson, Boagni and Beck to see out 2016


Stella Beck

Like the Tall Blacks in college the USA based Tall Ferns have begun conference play and it’s been a tale of mixed fortunes in the opening round.

Penina Davidson and University of California Bears began Pac-12 action with a bang. Davidson had a career high 14 rebounds, including 8 off the offensive glass, as Cal won 74-64 at Arizona for a 13th straight win. The former Rangitoto College forward also landed 12 points and muscled 2 blocks.

Also quick out the blocks were St Mary’s Gaels as they got their West Coast Conference programme off to the best possible start. Stella Beck was a huge contributor scoring a game high 18 points at a very accomplished 75% (6 from 8) from the field as the Gaels beat Loyola Marymount 74-59.

Also in the West Coast Conference Kalani Purcell hoovered up a game high 15 rebounds but Brigham Young Cougars were run down at Santa Clara 64-63. BYU led most the game but could only manage 10 points in the final frame. Purcell, who played all 40 minutes, also had 15 points but will be disappointed to have given up 9 turnovers.

Shalae Salmon had her best game of the season for BYU nabbing 10 points (5/7FG), 3 boards, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.

Mate v Mate

 In a non-conference game Tessa Boagni and Jacinta Beckley found themselves in opposition as Beckley’s Seattle University Redhawks entertained Cal State Northridge Matadors on Friday. Both players had double figure outings with Boagni recording a double double of 15 points and 11 rebounds (plus 3 blocks) and Beckley snaring 5 steals to go with a career high 16 points.

The pair were prominent in the closing minutes – Beckley landed a three to tie the game up, 61 apiece, with 70 seconds to play. However Boagni bookended that effort with a pair of crucial blocks and also landed a late free throw as Cal State edged home 68-64.

In Australia

 Toni Edmondson celebrated her 200th WNBL game in Perth but it wasn’t a night to remember for the Cantabrian, as the Lynx were outclassed 93-69 by Sydney Flames. Edmondson claimed 3 rebounds and 3 steals to go with 4 points as Perth remain 4th on the ladder with a 9-6 record.


It has been a struggle all season for Adelaide Lighting as they prop up the WNBL with a 0-15 record. The latest loss was against Sydney University Flames going down 89-72 on Thursday. Jordan Hunter did have the satisfaction of earning a starting spot in the Flames line-up and responded with a season high 9 points (4/8FG) to go with 4 assists and 2 steals.

Season high for Izayah Le’Afa and Tai Webster keeps rolling


The interesting stage of the American college season has arrived with teams embarking on conference schedules.

No 12 ranked Virginia Cavaliers opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with an upset 61-53 win at No 6 Louisville on Thursday. Centre Jack Salt only scored two points but he did snare a game high 7 rebounds in the victory.

Also upsetting higher seeded opposition on enemy territory were Tai Webster and Nebraska. The Huskers won 87-83 at Indiana to open their Big Ten Conference campaign in style with the Tall Blacks point guard scoring 21 points. He also came up with 4 steals a brace of assists and 4 rebounds. What made the win even more meritorious was the fact that Indiana had won 26 straight home games leading into Thursday’s encounter.

Incidentally that is fourteen straight double-digit scoring performances from Webster, one of only two seniors on a very young Huskers team.

Freshman Tai Wynyard has found it difficult to gain quality court time at powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats averaging just three minutes an outing in the 8 appearances he has made in the current campaign. The Wildcats swept aside University of Mississippi Rebels 99-76 on Friday with Wynyard required for just 2 minutes and not troubling the scorers.

Fellow Freshman Izayah Le’Afa had managed eight starts at Sacramento State Hornets but the point guard had struggled to get his shooting game going in the early part of the season. Le’Afa had connected with only 4 of 21 three-point attempts and an overall 7 from 33 from the field.

That changed a little on Friday, the former St Pat’s College standout recording a season high 10 points in the opening Big Sky Conference game. Unfortunately the Hornets went down at home to Northern Colorado 69-53 but Le’Afa will be encouraged after connecting with 2 from 5 triples on 4 from 7 shooting overall.

It isn’t good news from Spain where Zaragoza suffered a disappointing loss at lowly Joventut, going down 84-80, and slipping into the bottom half of the Liga Endesa table with a 5-8 record. Isaac Fotu managed 8 points (4/6FG) and 4 rebounds in the defeat.

Other News

 Junior Tall Black Quinn Clinton has committed to the University of New Mexico for the next four years. The Canterbury shooting guard joins the Lobos after helping the JTB’s advance to the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championships following their victory over Australia at the Oceania Championships.

Clinton follows in the footsteps of fellow JTB’s Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami) and Takki Fahrensohn (University of Portland) in committing to an American college programme. Others from the team, including guards Tobias Cameron and Isaac Letoa, are likely to follow suit in the near future.


Quinn Clinton

The 15 teams that will join the Junior Tall Blacks at the World Champs


The draw for the 2017 FIBA Under 19 World Championships will be made in early January.

Following the conclusion this week of the FIBA U18 European Championships the 16 qualifying teams are now known and needless to say a bunch of powerhouse teams await the Kiwis in Egypt.

As anticipated defending champions USA won the Americas tournament beating Canada in the final. Defeated semi-finalists Brazil and Puerto Rico also qualify from that region.

The three African qualifiers are Angola, Egypt and Mali – Angola the winners of the African U18 champs for the fourth time.

Perhaps slightly surprising – Iran were the Asian Champions beating Japan 71-65 in the Asia U18 Championship game. Korea was the third qualifier defeating Lebanon 86-63 in the critical 3rd/4th play-off game. China missed out on a return to the World Champs finishing fifth.

We will be seeing more of these nations in age group competition in the future following the merger of the Asia/Oceania regions for FIBA qualifying tournaments.

The European championships, held in Turkey, only finished on Thursday with France beating Lithuania 75-68 in the final. Italy and Germany both qualify having made the semi-finals and the all-important fifth and final spot was clinched by Spain after they downed Bosnia and Herzegovina 77-65.

The strength and depth of the European competition is evidenced by the fact that strong basketball nations Serbia, Greece, Croatia and Turkey all missed out on qualifying for Cairo. All four nations had participated in the 2015 Under 19 World Champs in Crete.

2017 FIBA U19 World Championships Qualifiers.

USA, Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico

France, Lithuania, Italy, Germany, Spain


Iran, Japan

New Zealand

No rest ahead of Xmas


Penina Davidson

Xmas may be looming but it has been business as usual for many of the Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks in college and Europe this week.

Penina Davidson has been by far the busiest with the University of California Berkley Golden Bears playing three games in as many days at a tournament in Las Vegas.

No problems with the schedule for the Bears winning three from three to extend their unbeaten run this season to 12 games. Cal recorded victories against Southern Mississippi 71-51, Oklahoma 82-74 and Arkansas State 80-55. Starting forward Davidson averaged 6 points and 5 rebounds across the three games.

Kalani Purcell produced her fourth double double of the season, as BYU was downed 82-70 by No 9 University of Washington on Thursday. The Tall Ferns swingman scored 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

New Zealand Select international Shalae Salmon is gathering more court time for BYU in her freshman season. The Wellington forward played 12 minutes in this one collecting 4 points and 2 rebounds.

5 points (2/2FG) and 5 rebounds from Jack Salt helped Virginia Cavaliers hold off the University of California, Berkley 56-52 on Thursday. The Cavs now ranked No 12 open Atlantic Coast Conference play next week at No 10 Louisville.

For the 13th straight game Tai Webster was in double figures as Nebraska Huskers concluded non-conference action with an 81-76 victory against Southern. The former Westlaker had 10 points, 5 rebounds and a game high 5 assists as Nebraska improved to 7-6 for the season.

Mate v Mate

Cal State Northridge Matadors snapped a 10 game losing streak in the series against St Mary’s Gaels winning 73-61. Tessa Boagni added 7 rebounds and 3 steals to 5 points as the Matadors improved to 6-5 with a hard fought 73-61 win. Stella Beck led the Gaels scoring effort with 15 points and also dished 4 assists in their last non-conference game of the season.

This was a pleasing return for Boagni, the Cantabrian centre having missed a couple of games due to concussion.

In Europe

 Jillian Harmon helped Le Mura Lucca improve to 11-1 at the top of the Italian League. The power forward scored 16 points (8/16FG) and garnered 7 rebounds and 4 steals as Lucca comfortably beat Vigarano 75-52 ahead of a two weeks break over the holiday period.

Mike Karena with 10 points and 6 rebounds helped Sammic ISB climb to third equal spot on the Spanish Liga Endesa Silver Standings with a 75-67 win against Avia. Both teams have a 9-5 record.

NBL coming to you live and free in 2017


 Basketball New Zealand is excited to announce a new media partnership with NZME and Maori Television, who have joined forces to broadcast the 2017 season of the New Zealand NBL.

NZME will continue to build on the success of the 2016 live streaming in 2017. At least two games a week will be livestreamed on The New Zealand Herald website, as well as all games during the Final Four weekend.

Maori Television will televise free to air live coverage of a NBL game every Sunday afternoon at 3pm, for the duration of the competition, and live coverage of the Final Four weekend comprising of the Semi Finals and Final. Maori Television will also show delayed coverage of a second game every week on a Saturday afternoon during the season.

Chief Executive of Basketball New Zealand, Iain Potter, says this unique media partnership recognises the growth of basketball in New Zealand, as more participants and fans are tuning their televisions and devices to the game.

“It’s an exciting agreement to have two strong media partners with big audiences recognising that their viewers are increasingly tuning into basketball. It’s sensational for the NBL and Basketball New Zealand, as our players, teams and brands are building on the increasing upsurge of Kiwi fanaticism in basketball.” says Potter.

Head of Sport Trevor McKewen says NZME are proud to be live streaming basketball to make it more accessible to New Zealanders.

“Streaming the games through The New Zealand Herald website allows Kiwis to tune into the games wherever they are, on whatever device they choose. NZME is excited to be partnering with Basketball New Zealand and bring the sport to New Zealanders up and down the country,” says McKewen.

Maori Television’s Head of Content, Mike Rehu, says they are equally proud to be getting in behind the ground swell of support for basketball.

“We are excited to be ramping up our collaboration with Basketball New Zealand and the NBL. We know basketball is growing in popularity with our rangatahi (youth) audience and we are happy to provide the fans with a league that weaves a mix of youthful exuberance with a proud legacy.”

The 2017 season will run for 14 weeks and finish with the Final Four weekend, 15-17 June. The opening game will tip off on Thursday, 16 March, between perennial powerhouses the Nelson Giants and the Southland Sharks.

Electric Edmondson heads Tall Ferns overseas performances

Basketball - Tall Ferns v Japan, 27 August 2009

Toni Edmondson

An outstanding shooting performance in the Australian WNBL headlines this week’s efforts by Tall Ferns overseas.

Toni Edmondson put on a shooting clinic converting 6 from 7 three points attempts as she amassed 24 points for Perth Lynx on Sunday – 22 points coming in a five minutes spell either side of the three-quarter time mark!

For the record Perth beat bottom placed Adelaide Lightning 102-52. Edmondson remarked, “It’s definitely been a while since I felt like that.” Unfortunately most of us never get to experience the feeling Edmondson was referring to.

Also in the WNBL Melbourne Boomers wound up their pre Xmas programme with a welcome 70-50 win against Canberra Capitals. Jess Bygate shot a perfect 4 from 4 for the Boomers and also corralled 5 rebounds.

In Europe Jillian Harmon continues to light up the Italian league. The power forward accrued 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists as Le Mura Lucca remained top of the table after defeating San Martino 76-61. Oh and she had the small matter of 5 steals as an aside!

 Despite a poor shooting night (1/7FG) Kalani Purcell was still able to make a major contribution to BYU Provo Cougars 60-40 success at Utah State. The Tall Ferns forward only scored three points but did contribute a team high 8 rebounds and 5 assists as the Cougars improve to 6-4 for the season.

Mate v Mate

Chevannah Paalvast and Micaela Cocks will head into the festive season a little happier than Jordan Hunter after Townsville Fire improved to 8-7 in the WNBL following a 74-68 road win against Adelaide Lightning. The Lightning bolted to an early 22-16 lead but were doused (35-25) in the second half.

Hunter failed to score but was productive in other areas in her 33 minutes collecting 3 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. For the Fire Paalvast had 3 points plus a pair of rebounds and assists whilst Cocks dished 2 assists to accompany 4 points and 6 rebounds.

It is also bragging rights for Stella Beck over Krystal Leger-Walker as St Mary’s Gaels defeated Northern Colorado Bears 75-65 on Saturday. Beck, a former Hutt Valley player is having a fine season and almost recorded a double double as she registered 14 points and 9 rebounds. Leger Walker made 6 points for the Bears.

Tai Webster and Jack Salt shine


Jack Salt and Tai Webster headlined the performances by Tall Blacks overseas this week.

Salt, having appeared to cement a spot in the Cavaliers starting frame, scored a career high 10 points as Virginia pasted Robert Morris 79-39. Reportedly eight of Jack’s family is heading to LA this week to see the 13th ranked Cavaliers take on University of California, Berkley.

Webster breezed to a team high 17 points but it was not enough as Nebraska Huskers fell 70-62 to Gardner Webb. The Tall Blacks point guard also posted 5 rebounds and 4 assists but will be disappointed with 7 turnovers.

In the ANBL Reuben Te Rangi put in a strong shift for Brisbane Bullets as they headed Melbourne United 100-90 on Saturday. Te Rangi scored 7 points and impressed with his 18 minutes of endeavor at the defensive end matching up on the likes of Chris Goulding and Casper Ware.

In Spain Isaac Fotu converted all four scoring attempts on his way to 8 points and 5 rebounds as Zaragoza improved to 5-7 with a convincing 90-74 victory against Andorra. The win moves Zaragoza up to 10th on the Liga Endesa table.

Sammic ISB slipped to 4th on the lower tier LEB Silver table after a 78-56 thumping by Granada. Mike Karena returned 9 points (4/10FG) to compliment 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Other News

Sam Waardenburg has played his last game in New Zealand for a while. One of the standout performers for the Junior Tall Blacks last week in Fiji at the FIBA U18 Oceania Champs Waardenburg had 13 points and 7 rebounds as Breakers Development went down 114-91 in the final of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam on Saturday. The Rangitoto College forward is University of Miami bound on December 28th, we wish him well.

The Suns win 2016 Women’s Mexicali FreshSummer Jam


The 2016 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam Women’s competition was decided solely on league results with the Suns taking the 2016 title with a 4-2 record – one win clear of their nearest rivals.

The Suns did come unstuck against team Sky on Saturday but not before mounting a strong comeback, eventually defeated 66-63.

The NZ Under 16 pair of Gracie Hasler-Ewins and Sharne Pupuke-Robati gave Sky an 8-0 start before Mikayla Blair opened the Suns account.

Alyesha Schuster knocked down a three for Suns but Jordyn Maddix capped a strong opening stanza for Sky ahead 21-14 at the first break.

A pair of long threes from Blair (10 points in the period) opened the second quarter scoring and a Tayla Dalton floater reduced the arrears but Maddix, the third NZ U16 international player in the Sky lineup, had the hot hands in this one. The Westlake shooting guard landed six triples in the game, three on the bounce in the second, to propel Sky to a 43-31 half-time advantage.

Anna Lacey and Dalton reduced the advantage to 43-36, coach Tania Hunter needing a timeout for Sky.

Another couple of Maddix threes broke the Sky third section scoring drought, their three-quarter time lead 51-42.

Lacey and Terina Aratangi landed treys for the Suns but Pupuke-Robati, Lua Murphy and Sophia Herewini extended the Sky lead to 62-53 with less than two minutes to play.

A frantic finished ensued as a pressing Suns defence created turnovers enabling Dalton to make a basket and Lacey to land her third triple as Suns closed to 64-63 well inside the final minute.

Fittingly Maddix, the game’s leading scorer, iced the contest from the free throw line to give Sky a slightly nervy win.

Final score;

Sky 66 – Maddix 22, Hasler-Ewins 10, Pupuke-Robati 10, Herewini 4, Jada Manase 4, Breeze Leonard 4

Suns 63 – Blair 18, Lacey 15, Schuster 9, Dalton 7, Aratangi 5

Despite the presence of the industrious Tayla Ammunson in the Storm backcourt they were beaten 62-56 by the Stevee Theyers paced Sparks in the other game.

Storm had the better of the first half leading 27-24 at the interval as Paddy Pupuke, Mariah McCarthy and Isabella Elgar kept the score ticking over.

However 10 points from Theyers and half a dozen from Michelle Tangiariki helped Sparks boss the third 21-11.

Sparks built on their 45-38 three-quarter time advantage courtesy of Heeni Blakey and Kate Gillespie but had to survive a strong finish from Storm.

Elgar, Pupuke and Charlotte Armstrong got Storm within six points but an Amanda Buck three ensured the win for Sparks.

Final score;

Sparks 62 – Theyers 21, Tangiariki 14, Blakey 10, Gillespie 8, Buck 7

Storm 56 – Pupuke 15, Armstrong 15, Elgar 11, Rosalia Samia 10

Final Standings

Suns 4-2

Sky 3-3

Sparks 3-3

Storm 2-4

Nelson Street defeat Breakers in Mexicali Fresh Final

Winners Mexicali Summer Jam Mens.jpg

Without the services of Lindsay Tait 68a Nelson Street still proved too good for Breakers Development in the final of the 2016 Men’s Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam winning 114-91 as the veteran duo of Dillon Boucher and Hayden Allen dominated proceedings.

The Breakers featured three of the successful Junior Tall Blacks team, Sam Waardenburg, Taki Fahrensohn and Isaac Letoa although Fahrensohn, after a promising start, was forced out of the encounter in the first half with an ankle injury.

Letoa and Waardenburg combined for the first 6 Breakers points but both teams were guilty of giving up easy points in transition, the first quarter tied 25 apiece.

Hayden Allen, Chris Duthie, Hyrum Harris plus a Liam Thornton three helped Nelson St open up a double-digit advantage in the second – disgruntled Breakers coach Mike Fitchett calling a timeout.

A Letoa three helped the Breakers cause but they still trailed 54-46 at the interval. Duthie, with 14 points, led all scorers at the break. Waardenburg, playing his last game in NZ before departing for the University of Miami, not far behind with 13.

Jordan Ngatai opened the second half scoring Hayden Allen quickly replying and although Letoa landed another three the ‘old school’ of Boucher and Allen kept Nelson St in the ascendancy. However a fourth foul called on Boucher forced him to the sideline.

A Marco Alexander triple and a Thornton put back extended the Breakers lead but scores from Ethan Rusbatch and Ngatai ensured the game was still in the balance at the final break – 78-70 to Nelson St.

That balance was tipped heavily in favour of Nelson St as they sprang a 10-0 run at the start of the fourth to take the game away from the Breakers.

Ngatai then Raukawa ended the run but Allen’s three and a Harris And1 stretched the Nelson St lead to 19 points with 6 minutes to play – the game and title decided.

Allen capped a game high 28 points performance with a late scoring flourish – the Breakers left to rue a disappointing performance.

Final score;

68a Nelson Street 114 – Allen 28, Duthie 21, Alexander 17, Harris 16, Tom Higgins 10, Boucher 8, Linus Jakszt 7, Thornton 5, Stu McEwan 2

Breakers Development 91 – Ngatai 21, Raukawa16, Letoa 16, Waardenburg 13, Rusbatch 10, Cam Stone 5, Fahrensohn 4, Thomas Whyte 3, Marvin Williams-Dunne 3

Braswell Blitz at Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam


Despite a 40 points barrage from Kevin Braswell 68a Nelson Street were able to edge Mai FM 88 Sixers in the last regular season round of the 2016 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam.

 Both teams had a host of current NBL players but it was the former Breaker and now Saints head coach that stole the show as he constantly threatened the Nelson defence.

 The scores were locked at 50 apiece at half-time but a dominant third quarter led by Liam Thornton and Lindsay Tait took table topping Nelson Street out to a 79-71 lead.

 Hayden Allen and Thornton extended the lead further but the Sixers weren’t finished. Ana Haku and Johnny Fesolai combined for 14 points in the fourth and with Brook Ruscoe and Braswell landing threes the game was forced into overtime with the scores locked at 100 each after regulation.

 Braswell twice and Haku landed triples in the additional period but it was Nelson Street that prevailed as the veteran trio of Dillon Boucher, Tait and Allen locked in the win and a place in next Saturday’s final.

Final Score:

68a Nelson St 119 – Tait 26, Allen 25, Thornton 16, Hyrum Harris 11, Boucher 10 Mai FM 88 Sixers 114 – Braswell 40, Haku 19, Fesolai 19, Ruscoe 12, Will Heather 12

 Nelson St will face Breakers Development in the final after Breakers beat The Birdmen 108-95 in the second game of the day.

 The Breakers edged the first quarter 34-32 then fuelled by 10 second quarter points from Derone Raukawa moved to a 65-50 advantage by half-time. Jordan Ngatai, with a game high 32 points, and Ethan Rusbatch increased the lead in the third to 20 points.

 The Birdmen trio of Jaylen Gerrand, Brandon Lucas and Justin Bailey mounted something of a comeback in the final period but Auckland Grammar guard Tom Whyte had the final say as the Breakers closed out a comfortable win.

Final score:

Breakers Development 108 – Ngatai 32, Rusbatch 20, Raukawa 19, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 16  Birdmen 95 – Lucas 25, Gerrand 20, Bailey 15, Sam Aruwa 10

The final between Nelson Street and Breakers development will be held at 5pm on Saturday December 17th, at the Breakers HQ, Atlas Place