The murky waters of the 2017 Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Qualifying Tournament have started to clear.
After two days of pool play the Boy’s competition has been reduced to eight potential qualifiers – the two top teams from each pool of five. The Girl’s competition has been whittled down to four.
All 12 teams will battle it out for the two available Premier spots in each competition on Tuesday at North Shore Events Centre.
In Pool C of the Boys Tournament Macleans College made an 8-0 start in the top two encounter with St Peter’s College on Sunday morning.
Macleans guard Blake Van Uden helped himself to easy transition points as his team opened a 21-15 first quarter lead.
The pressure defence exerted by Macleans continued to pay dividends in the early stages of the second – St Peter’s coach Leyton Haddleton needing a timeout with his team trailing 40-24.
Forward Whititera Parata helped lead a St Peter’s resurgence but it was still 50-39 to Macleans at half-time.
Opposing centres Harrison Roper and Finlay Morris had a fine battle vacuuming up countless rebounds for their respective teams and exhibiting nice touch close to the rim.
St Peter’s trimmed the lead to single figures in the third period but workhorse forward Alex Arthur, Andrew Fei and Van Uden made crucial plays to keep Macleans in the ascendancy at three-quarter time 74-68.
A ding dong battle ensued in the fourth, Christian Fromont cutting Mac’s lead to three, 83-80, with four minutes to play. Another Macleans surge – Fei and Arthur baskets – increased the Macleans advantage to eight.
Again Morris trimmed the lead to six but Van Uden capped a fine performance, he led all scorers with 32 points, with a breakaway dunk as the Adrian Boyd coached Macleans prevailed 95-84.
Two teams worthy of Premier status will be in the mix when skirmishes resume on Tuesday.
Macleans – Van Uden 32, Fei 16, Arthur 16
St Peter’s – Fromont 23, Morris 16, Boersen 10
Match of the day in Pool D promised to be the Western Springs College and Manurewa High encounter as both teams were unbeaten. However Manurewa made no race of it leading 47-33 at half-time and eventually winning 79-51.
Dominic Wallace and Pafe Momoisea, with 30 points apiece, dominated the scoring for Manurewa while Izaiah Radonovich fought something of a lone hand for Western Springs with 23 points – his effort included five three’s. Both teams progress to the quarter-finals
In Pool D St Kentigern College emerged unscathed with a 4-0 record. They won the critical games against Liston College 80-76 and Pakuranga College (93-88). Pakuranga beat Liston 88-68 to clinch the second spot in the pool.
Kings College caused an upset early on day two with a 74-64 victory against Massey High in Pool A, the tightest pool of the four. Unfortunately for Kings losses to Avondale College and more importantly Takapuna Grammar (52-45) on day one deprived them of a play-off spot. Those were secured by Massey and Avondale College with Takapuna taking third place.
Boys Pool A Massey HS (3-1), Avondale College (3-1), Takapuna GS (2-2), Kings College (2-2) Onehunga HS (0-4)
Boys Pool B St Kentigern College (4-0), Pakuranga College (3-1), Liston College (2-2), Mt Roskill GS (1-3), Waitakere College (0-4)
Boys Pool C Macleans College (4-0), St Peter’s College (3-1), Birkenhead College (2-2), Sacred Heart College (1-3), Selwyn College (0-4)
Boys Pool Manurewa HS (4-0), Western Springs College (3-1), Northcote College (2-2), Dilworth School (1-3), De La Salle College (0-4)
Massey v Western Springs
Manurewa v Avondale
St Kentigern v St Peter’s
Macleans v Pakuranga College
The six teams failing to make Prems from the above eight will contest the newly formed Senior A League beginning next term. They will be joined by two from Liston, Birkenhead, Takapuna and Northcote. All four teams play a round robin series to determine which two school’s it will be. The first round was played on Sunday evening with Liston beating Northcote 94-82 and Birkenhead edging Takapuna 70-60. The remaining rounds will be played on Tuesday.
In the Girl’s competition just four teams, the top two in each pool, will make their way to the NSEC on Tuesday.
The draw pitches Massey High against Birkenhead College and St Kentigern College versus Carmel College. The pairings give Massey and St Kent’s, both unbeaten in Pool play, the opportunity to preserve their Premier status – they were the bottom two finishers in the eight team comp in 2016.
Massey was mighty impressive in Pool A winning their four games by an average margin of 55 points.
Girls Pool A Massey HS (4-0), Carmel College (3-1), St Mary’s (2-2), Epsom Girls (1-3), Pakuranga College (0-4)
Girls Pool St Kentigern College (3-0), Birkenhead College (2-1), Mt Roskill GS (1-2), Diocesan School (0-3)