Monthly Archives: February 2017

Harmon goes down in Italian Cup Final and Abercrombie debuts in Turkey

 

A day after arriving in Turkey Thomas Abercrombie took the court for his new club Demir IBB – which is a lot quicker to write than Demir Insaat Buyukcekmece Basketball club. The Tall Blacks and Breakers swingman shook off some of his jet lag by coming off the bench to score 7 points (3/4FG) in 13 minutes of action but Demir, 13th on the Turkish League ladder, were comfortably beaten by 4th placed Banvit BK 89-65.

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Also beaten at home by higher placed opposition was Zaragoza in the Spanish League. Isaac Fotu produced his third double double of the season and his highest rebound tally – 17 points / 12 rebounds – but it wasn’t enough to prevent Zaragoza going down 99-88 to Baskonia. Zaragoza with a 7-14 record is slipping towards a relegation battle after this latest defeat.

In the Spanish third division Sammic ISB jumped back to the top of the table with a 72-67 victory against Zamorano. Canterbury Rams forward Mike Karena continued his good form with 12 points and 9 rebounds for Sammic that now boast a 16-6 record.

In Italy Le Mura Lucca was defeated by rivals Famila Schio 88-60 in the Italian Women’s Cup Final played in Venice at the weekend.

Lucca trailed by just a point at half-time 31-30 and the same margin at the end of the third (53-52) but with free scoring Tall Ferns forward Jillian Harmon held to just 6 points it was blitzed 35-8 in the last quarter.

The two teams meet again in a fortnight in league action.

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Erin Rooney has averaged 20 minutes a game across her first 7 appearances for Artego Bydgoszcz in the Polish League. Artego are 6-1 since the Cantabrian’s arrival in early January and now sit 5th on the league table with a 13-7 record after their latest victory, a nail biting 85-83 win against close rivals Gorzow Wielkopoiski. Artego dished an impressive 22 assists in the encounter with Rooney contributing 4 of those as well as 4 points.

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New Zealand U16 Girls teams named

The New Zealand Under 16 girls basketball team, and the New Zealand Select Under 16 girls team have been named. These teams will travel to Australia in June and July to take on some of Australia’s top junior teams.

Head Coach of the New Zealand Under 16 Girls team, Natalie Visger says, “the wider squad is a very athletic and passionate group with a bright basketball future.”

For a full report go to;

http://www.basketball.org.nz/News/new-under-16-girls-basketball-teams-named

 

And still there are four

And still there are four!

Four Kiwis remain active in the Australian Men’s and Women’s National Basketball leagues – but only just with the three Tall Ferns representatives in the WNBL just one defeat away from elimination.

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Jarrod Kenny and the Perth Wildcats are striving to retain their NBL title in a five game Grand Final series against surprise finalists Illawarra Hawks.

Perth swept their semi-final series against Cairns 2-0 but Illawarra had to come from one game down to defeat the 36ers in the deciding game 106-98, in Adelaide last Thursday.

In the opening game of the Grand-Final series Perth took care of business on their home court winning 89-77. Kenny was his reliable self in his back up role behind captain Damian Martin knocking down his only shot – a three in the opening stanza.

Game two is in Wollongong on Wednesday night.

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Micaela Cocks, Townsville Fire point guard

 Also looking to retain their crown is the Townsville Fire. In fact the Fire, with Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast in their line up, are going for a three-peat having won the last two WNBL championships.

The Fire played the first of their three game semi-final series on Saturday night against Sydney University Flames and was annihilated 111-69 by the regular season champions. Sydney won every quarter including a dominating third 38-14 as the Fire could find few answers. Cocks contributed 6 points, 2 dimes and 3 steals and Paalvast chipped in with a couple of rebounds and an assist but it looks like the Flames are going to be too hot for the Fire

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Also on Saturday night Toni Edmondson was in action as Perth Lynx visited Dandenong Rangers in the other semi-final. Perth endured a horror first half trailing 45-23 at the break and despite a brave fight back went down 73-66. Edmondson produced 4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal for the Reds.

Game two of both semi-finals is on Friday.

Beck and Purcell star as WCC championships beckon

The American College season is closing in on Conference championship time. Some conferences wrapped up their regular season programmes this week – others will do the same next week.

Two of the teams wrapping up their regular seasons were West Coast Conference universities St Mary’s and Brigham Young Provo (BYU) and both recorded a pair of wins over the weekend.

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On Friday Kalani Purcell marched to her 15th double double of the season – 19 points and 13 rebounds –as BYU Cougars beat Portland 73-60. She followed this with an equally impressive 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in the 71-63 win against Gonzaga on Sunday.

BYU will now prepare to compete as the No. 2 seed in next week’s 2017 West Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

One place back in the conference, in third spot, will be St Mary’s Gaels.

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Stella Beck had the honour of being named in the West Coast Conference All- Academic team on Tuesday. She celebrated in style scoring a game high 17 points as the Gaels thumped Pepperdine 84-57 on Friday.

48 hours later she had 9 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists as the Gaels comfortably downed Santa Clara 73-58.

The University of California Berkeley have also wrapped up the regular season finishing 8th in the Pac-12 Conference after going down to league leaders Oregon State 71-56.

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Penina Davidson had 8 points and 3 rebounds for the Bears that have a tough draw heading into the Pac-12 Championships beginning on Friday. If they get past 9th seed USC they have a rematch against Oregon State in the quarter-finals

 

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Tessa Boagni demonstrated a good scoring touch as Cal State Northridge Matadors beat Cal State Fullerton 71-54 on Thursday. The Cantabrian centre tallied 14 points (7 from 10 from the field). A couple of days later Boagni had 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists as the Matadors improved to 10-4 in the Big West Conference with a ninth straight victory defeating UC Riverside 79-70.

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Katelin Noyer has recently been rewarded with extended playing time for Fresno State. She responded with 4 points, 6 rebounds and a couple of blocks as the Bulldogs improved to 8-8 in the Mountain West Conference with two games remaining after defeating San Diego State 59-50.

Major honour for Stella Beck

 

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On Tuesday former Hutt Valley player Stella Beck had the distinction of being named in the 2016-17 West Coast Conference (WCC) All-Academic team alongside St Mary’s team mates Devon Brookshire and Carly Turner.

Beck carries a 3.57 GPA in psychology: neuroscience and is the only junior (third year player) to make the All-Academic team. This is her second year earning WCC All-Academic team honours. The Tall Ferns guard leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game along with 5.9 rebounds per game. She has tallied 19 double-digit scoring games and scored her career-high of 28 in a comeback win against San Diego earlier this month. Beck recorded a career-high nine assists against Boise State in November and has flirted with a double-double on multiple occasions.

 

At the conclusion of each athletic season, the WCC selects an all-academic squad. To be considered, a student-athlete must maintain at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average, while also being a significant contributor to her team on the court.

Beck emphasised her value to the Gaels by scoring a game high 17 points as St Mary’s defeated Portland 73-60 on Thursday.

Tall Ferns Abroad – winners and losers this week

Plenty of action this week with three Tall Ferns still in contention for the WNBL title, fine performances from college players plus news of a Tall Fern excelling on court, in the pool and in the classroom.

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Stella Beck led all scorers with 18 points (8/10FG) as St Mary’s Gaels won at Portland 75-65 on Friday.

The Gaels will rue a lost opportunity on Sunday after going down by a single point, 59-58, at West Coast Conference leaders Gonzaga. Beck was one of two St Mary’s players in double figures with 11 points but was guilty of committing 6 turnovers as the Gaels committed 22 in total compared with 8 by Gonzaga.

Despite the turnover count the Gaels looked to have sealed the win when Beck put her team ahead 58-57 inside the last minute but Gonzaga scored the go ahead basket in a game that had a staggering 19 lead changes.

 Kalani Purcell had a game high 16 points to compliment 8 rebounds and 4 assists as BYU Cougars thumped Pepperdine 88-49 on Friday. BYU made it two from two over the weekend with a 72-61 victory against San Francisco on Sunday and are now 10-4 in West Coast Conference play. Purcell had 13 points and 7 assists as well as 8 rebounds in the second game. Purcell now has 678 rebounds in her career at BYU – she is now 10th all-time in rebounds in BYU history in just two seasons as a Cougar.

 Seattle University Redhawks improved to 7-1 in Western Athletic Conference play with a resounding 82-53 win against Chicago State on Friday. Jacinta Beckley scored 15 points (7/10FG) for Seattle, the Paraparaumu College alumni is in good form for the Redhawks.

Tessa Boagni scored just 4 points but amassed 13 rebounds, including 7 off the offensive glass, as Cal State Northridge Matadors eased passed UC Santa Barbara 62-55 on Friday. The Matadors improved to 6-4 in the Big West Conference with a 70-67 overtime victory against UC Riverside 48 hours later. Again Boagni was in rebounding form with 9 boards – she also converted an important free throw in the additional period.

Penina Davidson had a team high 11 rebounds plus 4 points but couldn’t prevent Cal Berkeley Golden Bears slipping to a 64-59 home loss against Colorado on Sunday. The Bears are now 5-9 in Pac-12 Conference games.

Krystal Leger-Walker dished a game high 6 assists as Northern Colorado Bears went down 67-61 against Eastern Washington. Leger-Walker added 3 points and 5 rebounds in this the second loss of the season in Big Sky Conference play.

Australian WNBL

The WNBL play-off race is down to five teams with one round remaining next weekend.

It took overtime but Perth Lynx are certain of a play-offs spot after beating Melbourne Boomers 87-81 on Sunday and improving to 15-7. Toni Edmondson fouled out with 1:40 left in regulation after contributing 9 points, 3 rebounds and a steal to the Lynx cause.

Micaela Cocks also scored 9 points as Townsville Fire downed Dandenong Rangers for the second consecutive weekend although fellow Tall Fern Chev Paalvast didn’t take the floor. The victory means the Fire have a 2-1 winning split on Dandenong that may be enough, depending on the results of the final round of games next week, to carry them to third spot on the WNBL ladder.

However nothing is certain as fifth placed Canberra, who visit Townsville on Saturday, hold the series advantage over the defending champions.

Jess Bygate (Melbourne Boomers) and Jordan Hunter (Adelaide Lightning) will conclude their seasons next week with their teams filling the last two places on the ladder.

The WNBL ladder with just 1 round to play – teams play 24 regular season games and top 4 qualify for semi-finals;

Sydney University Flames 17-6

Perth Lynx 15-7

Townsville Fire 14-9

Dandenong Rangers 14-9


Canberra Capitals 12-10

Bendigo Spirit 11-11

Melbourne Boomers 5-18

Adelaide Lightning 2-20

Europe

 It was third hosting first in the Italian League and despite a customary double-digit contribution from Jillian Harmon (16 points) it was third that prevailed but only just. Despite losing 60-58 at Venezia, ending a 14 game winning streak, Le Mura Lucca (15-2) still holds top spot on the ladder.

Other News

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Many high school athletes excel in more than one sport, but very few can match the 2016 accomplishments of American based Junior Tall Fern McKenna Dale in the unusual pairing of swimming and basketball.

Her amazing feats during the 2016 calendar year have earned Dale the Hal Levy Female Athlete of the Year Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

“I am definitely surprised; I had no idea I would stand out that much with all the talented athletes in Connecticut,” Dale said in a recent interview.

The lanky 6-footer, who didn’t start playing basketball until fifth grade, began the year by leading E.O. Smith to its first Central Connecticut Conference girls basketball tournament title, averaging 24.3 points per game, including 30 in an 81-68 win over South Windsor in the championship game.

In November at Southern Connecticut State University, Dale successfully defended her 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle titles at the Class L meet, posting a 23.17 time in the 50 freestyle that eclipsed not only her own class record, but also the state mark of 23.20, held since 1997.

Four days later at Yale University, Dale topped herself, shattering her own state record in the 50 freestyle and adding the 100 freestyle crown with a personal best.

Rather than rest, the dual citizen of New Zealand (father Darren is a former NZ 400m athletics record holder) and the United States immediately got into international basketball mode, traveling to Fiji to play at the FIBA Oceania U-18 Championships where she averaged 10.4 points per game for the Junior Tall Ferns.

A true scholar-athlete, Dale has committed to play Division I basketball at Brown University of the prestigious Ivy League later this year.

“Sometimes it’s hard to keep a good balance between athletics and academics, but academics has always been a high priority and will continue to be, going to an Ivy League school,” she said.

Mixed fortunes for our overseas based Tall Blacks last week

There were mixed results for the European, Australian and American college based Tall Blacks last week.

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Tai Webster led Nebraka’s scoring with 19 points but the Huskers suffered their third single digit defeat of the season going down 70-69 in overtime to No7 Wisconsin on Friday.

Webster, who also led his team in assists with 5 in that category, “Played his butt off” according to coach Tim Miles.

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Jack Salt scored 4 points including a tip back going into half-time as Virginia, ranked No 9 in the country beat No 4 Louisville 71-55 on Wednesday. Salt’s play pleased teammate London Perrantes and helped set up a dominant second half display.

“It gave us a lot of energy. We were down by two going into the half and that was what we need from him. We need energy, we need those offensive rebounds, we need his blocks. Everything we get from him is huge, but obviously, there was a lot of energy from that moment.” Salt added 6 rebounds for good measure.

 Things didn’t go to plan for Salt or his team on Sunday beaten 80-78 in double overtime by rivals Virginia State. Salt logged 4 fouls in just 14 minutes managing 2 points and 4 rebounds in that time.

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The Sacramento State Hornets had a significant double over the weekend. On Friday they knocked off Big Sky Conference leaders Weber State 77-74 and followed this with a 75-63 win against Idaho State on Sunday. Izayah Le’Afa played a solid hand contributing 3 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a game high 3 steals against Weber State and 10 points against Idaho as the Hornets improve to 6-6 in conference play.

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In Spain Zaragoza was thumped 100-67 at Valencia and drop to 13th (7-13) on the Spanish League table. Isaac Fotu played a team high 31 minutes and scored 10 points but it must have been hard going in a fixture totally dominated by fourth placed Valencia.

Also in Spain Sammic ISB slip to second on the LEB Silver ladder after losing 79-70 at Cambados. Forward Mike Karena played a strong hand for Sammic snaring 6 rebounds as well as scoring 16 points

Junior Tall Blacks

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The Junior Tall Blacks have been drawn alongside European champions France, third placed Asian qualifier Korea and a yet to be announced fourth team from the Americas at the FIBA U19 World Cup.

The 16 teams event will be held in Cairo, Egypt from July 1st-9th.

New Zealand qualified for the event following their stunning success at the Oceania Champs in Fiji in December where the JTB’s knocked off favourites Australia 57-51 in the final.

Group A – Americas TBA, NZ, Korea, France

Group B – Germany, Egypt, Puerto Rico, Lithuania

Group C – Canada, Japan, Spain, Mali

Group D – Iran, Angola, Italy, USA

Australian NBL

Jarrod Kenny will be the sole Kiwi representative in Australian NBL play-off basketball. The Tall Blacks guard played an important part in Perth’s two victories over the weekend. In the pivotal game on Sunday Kenny scored 8 points, including a couple of long threes, as Perth accounted for Melbourne 96-94 and in the process eliminated the Breakers.

 Neither Reuben Te Rangi or Dion Prewster, the two other Kiwis with Australian clubs, will be in play-off action as Brisbane (8th) and Sydney failed to finish in the top four. Prewster, in what has been a disappointing season for the Nelson Giants bound guard, scored two points, as Sydney Kings were defeated 101- 74 in Perth.

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Te Rangi managed 4 points, a rebound and three assists but the injury ravaged Bullets were no match for Illawarra Hawks going down 106-79. Te Rangi will now return to NZ and link up with the Southland Sharks.

Then there were Four

And then there were four!

Four Kiwis remain active in the Australian National Basketball leagues, men’s and women’s, – two in Perth and two in Townsville. Jarrod Kenny and Toni Edmondson are flying the flag out west whilst Micaela Cocks and Chevannah Paalvast are doing the same in North Queensland.

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Jarrod Kenny will be the sole Kiwi representative in Australian NBL play-off basketball. The Tall Blacks guard played an important part in Perth’s two victories over the weekend. In the pivotal game on Sunday Kenny scored 8 points, including a couple of long threes, as the defending champions accounted for Melbourne 96-94 and in the process eliminated the Breakers.

 Neither Reuben Te Rangi nor Dion Prewster, the two other Kiwis with Australian clubs, will be in play-off action as Brisbane and Sydney failed to finish in the top four. Prewster, in what has been a disappointing season for the Nelson Giants bound guard, scored two points, as Sydney Kings were thumped 101- 74 in Perth.

Te Rangi managed 4 points, a rebound and three assists but the injury ravaged Bullets were no match for Illawarra Hawks going down 106-79. Te Rangi will now return to NZ and link up with the Southland Sharks.

The WNBL play-off race is down to five teams with one round of the regular season remaining next weekend.

 

 

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It took overtime but Perth Lynx are certain of a play-offs spot after beating Melbourne Boomers 87-81 on Sunday and improving to 15-7. Toni Edmondson fouled out with 1:40 left in regulation after contributing 9 points, 3 rebounds and a steal to the Lynx cause.

 

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Micaela Cocks also scored 9 points as Townsville Fire downed Dandenong Rangers for the second consecutive weekend although fellow Tall Fern Chev Paalvast didn’t take the floor. The victory means the Fire have a 2-1 winning split on Dandenong that may be enough, depending on the results of the final round of games next week, to carry them to third spot on the WNBL ladder.

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However nothing is certain as fifth placed Canberra, who visit Townsville on Saturday, hold the series advantage over the defending champions.

Jess Bygate (Melbourne Boomers) and Jordan Hunter (Adelaide Lightning) will conclude their seasons next week with their teams filling the last two places on the ladder.

 

 

Junior Tall Blacks in Group A at World Cup

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The Junior Tall Blacks have been drawn alongside European champions France, third placed Asian qualifier Korea and a yet to be announced fourth team from the Americas at the FIBA U19 World Cup.

The 16 team event will be held in Cairo, Egypt from July 1st-9th.

New Zealand qualified for the event following their stunning success at the Oceania Champs in Fiji in December where the JTB’s knocked off favourites Australia 57-51 in the final.

Group A – Americas TBA, NZ, Korea, France

Group B – Germany, Egypt, Puerto Rico, Lithuania

Group C – Canada, Japan, Spain, Mali

Group D – Iran, Angola, Italy, USA

Three Junior Tall Blacks selected for Basketball Without Borders Camp

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Three young Kiwi basketballers have received an invitation from FIBA and the NBA to attend a global basketball camp that will be peppered with US College scouts, NBA Coaches and NBA players, albeit Sam Waardenburg has reluctantly declined the invitation due to his College commitments in the United States.

Waardenburg, Quinn Clinton and Taane Samuel attended Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia, held in Australia last June. After strong performances, all three were selected to attend BWB Global, an exclusive camp for only the best players from the regional 2016 camps in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with Clinton and Samuel taking up the invitation.

Basketball New Zealand Chief Executive, Iain Potter, says having three players selected from any nation is unique.

“The Global Basketball Without Borders camps enable FIBA and the NBA to tap into talent outside of the U.S. In the past, we were proud to have one player selected, with Matt Freeman selected in 2015 and Tai Wynyard in 2016, both of whom have gone on to secure scholarships to high ranking Universities. To have three young Kiwis selected is outstanding and an example of the exceptional basketball talent that is being produced in New Zealand,” says Potter.

Sam Waardenburg was named camp MVP of the BWB Asia camp in June while Quinn Clinton was named MVP of the camp’s All Star Game. Consequently, they were both guaranteed a spot at BWB Global. But Tanne Samuel was not automatically selected and he says the invitation letter comes as a pleasant surprise.

“I am grateful and humbled to be a part of this great event and given the opportunity. The BWB Asia camp in Australia really helped me improve as a player physically and mentally. It helped me to identify my weaknesses and work on turning that into a strength.

“To receive the elite level of coaching at BWB is a once in a lifetime opportunity and to share this with other players my age around the world is surreal. I’m really thankful,” said Samuel.

Christchurch’s Quinn Clinton is equally excited to be involved.

“I’m really looking forward to this experience. It’s going to be great for Taane and I to represent our country together and help promote New Zealand basketball on the world stage. I’m keen to learn as much as I can from the NBA coaches and players, and get an insight into what it means to play at this higher level,” said Clinton.

 

 

The international prestige of this event is gathering momentum as more BWB players are finding their way into the pinnacle events of the sport, including FIBA World Cups and the NBA. FIBA says over the years 43 alumni have been drafted into the NBA. The NBA Draft of 2016 contained three BWB Global participants, all selected in the top 10 picks. This is the third BWB Global Camp, while the NBA and FIBA have staged 48 BWB camps in 29 cities in 25 countries since 2001.

To add to the excitement of the event, BWB Global will centre around the NBA All Star Game in New Orleans. The NBA All-Star Game is a basketball exhibition game hosted annually by the NBA, which matches the league’s star players from the Eastern Conference against their counterparts from the Western Conference. Camp participants will attend and participate in NBA All Star activities throughout the weekend. The camp will also consist of basketball positional development, strength and conditioning, life-skills sessions, and games and competitions during the day.

The camp is fully funded with the players’ expenses covered, including flights. The 2017 edition of Basketball without Borders Global will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, from 17 to 19 February, 2017.

The invitation further underlines the growing reputation of the burgeoning talent pool coming out of New Zealand, with increasing numbers of young men and women securing scholarships into prestigious American Colleges.

Such opportunities further emphasize that basketball is not only a numbers game (amongst the fastest growing sports in New Zealand) but also a high performance achiever, with the New Zealand U19 Men set to appear at the FIBA Junior World Championships in Egypt in July this year, following on from their history making defeat of Australia at the Oceania Champs in 2016.