The largest crowd of the season was on hand to witness a couple of the Auckland Premier Grade heavy hitters go head to head on Friday night.
It was packed to the rafters in the Westlake Sports Centre as local favourite James Moors scored the first points of the game although Mitch Dance and Kruz Perrott-Hunt opened up a slim 6-2 lead for the visitors. Perrott-Hunt was forced to the bench with a second early foul but Marvin Williams-Dunn twice hit threes to open a 12-4 lead for the visitors.
A couple of steals and a Thabo Manyere dunk brought the home crowd to its feet, his athleticism troubling the Rozza defence. A late Reihana Maxwell-Topia basket edged Rosmini ahead 20-18 at quarter-time.
A pair of Reuben Fitzgerald drives restored the Westlake advantage 24-23 but Matt Sokol replied with a brace himself as the lead changed hands on numerous occasions in the second.
Another Manyere dunk – another lead change – Rosmini coach Matt Lacey called a timeout – 31-30 with 4:07 left in the half.
Dance made a couple of inside baskets on the resumption but five straight points from the Moors carried Lake to a 41-35 half-time lead. The Westlake swingman led all scorers at the interval with 15 points.
A Manyere flush opened the second half but shortly after was forced to the bench with a third foul. However Westlake continued to puncture the Rozza defence via Moors and Fitzgerald and opened a 52-45 lead.
Peter Jenkins and Dance responded for Rozza to reduce the lead to two points, 52-50, Zac Fitzgerald needing a timeout mid third term in the third.
Manyere scored on his reintroduction although Peter Jenkins kept Rozza in touch, down 61-56 at three-quarter time.
Both teams struggled to score in the early stages of the fourth before Moors and Mark Malinga took the Westlake lead to ten points (66-56).
A Maxwell-Topia jumper and a Dance floater helped Rozza but the visitors were finding it increasingly difficult to score – Moors, Manyere and Lucas Mennenga ensuring no second chance opportunities were on offer a feature of Westlake’s defensive play that would have impressed on-looking Lake alumni Jack Salt.
Fitzgerald had the hot hands and his 10 straight points, including a brace of threes, took Lake to a commanding 78-62 lead with 3:40 to play.
Rosmini were unable to threaten in the closing minutes, Westlake easing to a convincing fourth straight win, 82-64.
Score: Westlake 82 – Moors 24/11r, Fitzgerald 21, Manyere 17, Malinga 9
Rosmini 64 – Williams-Dunn 16, Dance 13, Sokol 10, Maxwell-Topia 7
Despite 20 points from Kelston power forward Kale Lawson, Mt Albert Grammar was able to get a first win of the season, protecting home court advantage, to record a 77-55 win.
Both teams entered the game with 0-3 records but it was MAGS, courtesy of six points from Mandela Baledrokadroka that made the more promising start leading 16-5 at quarter time.
Things improved greatly for Kelston in the second stanza as Lawson found his range. A brace of buckets from Clarke Aiono kept MAGS in the ascendancy, 27-22 at the break.
Threes from Ryan Laumatia and Lawson plus a handy six point contribution from Xjana Luamanuvae-Su’a kept the visitors at bay as MAGS took a 50-40 advantage into the final period – Kelston well served in the period by To’o Mase.
A strong fourth quarter performance from guard Matangi Prescott hinted at a Kelston revival but 10 final quarter points from Luamanuvae-Su’a sealed the deal for MAGS.
Score: MAGS 77 – Luamanuvae-Su’a 15, Baledrokadroka 15, Laumatia 13, Te Akau Pumipi 9 Kelston 55 – Lawson 20, Prescott 13, Brooking 8, Mase 7
Tom Higgins reeled off a third consecutive 30 points haul as Auckland Grammar returned to winning ways with a close 75-65 success at St Kentigern College.
Max Shorter drained a couple of early threes for St Kent’s but Higgins and Tony Solomoana combined to give AGS a 17-13 early advantage.
St Kent’s had further success from the land of triples in the second as Kyle Robb and Zac Chan connected from deep. However Rua Winitana responded in kind for the visitors and a couple of inside baskets from Anzac Risetto helped Grammar to a 38-30 lead at half-time.
Ryan Jones had an outstanding third frame for St Kent’s landing 10 points in the period but the combined force of Higgins and Risetto (19 points between them in the quarter) maintained a nine points buffer for AGS at the last break.
St Kent’s captain Kyle Robb kept the home team in touch in the fourth but threes from Teancum McCarthy and Elijah Andrews plus the inside one-two punch of Higgins and Risetto sent the visiting fans home happy.
Score: St Kentigern 55 – Robb 26, Shorter 14, Jones 13, Chan 6
Auckland Grammar 65 – Higgins 35, Risetto 17, Andrews 7, Solomoana 6
Rangitoto College are now three from three after the Harry’s, Clarke and Payne, combined for 58 points in a high scoring contest against Macleans College.
The national champions are well versed at performing without some of their big guns and this week was no exception as Dan Fotu, Zac Te Puni and Caleb Langridge were sidelined.
The loss of the experienced trio certainly didn’t hinder Rangi – threes from Payne and Clarke began a first quarter rampage as the hosts raced to a 33-18 lead.
Despite Alex Arthur and Blake van Uden making a couple of baskets each things didn’t improve greatly for Macleans in the second. Jarrod Thornton and Co made light of the visitors defence and were in full control at the interval leading 51-29.
Macleans made adjustments in the half-time break and put together an improved second half performance. Michael Babaran and Sai Kuvelkar assisted Arthur and van Uden with some scoring punch although the result was never in doubt.
Cam Stone waded in with 12 second half points, Thornton and Joon Back also got in on the scoring act but it was Clarke and Payne that caused Macleans most grief.
Score: Rangitoto College 111 – Clarke 32, Payne 26, Thornton 22, Stone 14
Macleans 89 – van Uden 31, Arthur 25, Babaran 15, Kuvelkar 13
Premier Grade Standings
2-2 St Kentigern, Auckland Grammar
1-3 Macleans, Mt Albert