From James Lissaman
It’s beginning to look like Rangi Ruru and Middleton Grange are on a collision course to meet in the #McDsWT Final, as both teams are 4-0, although last year’s beaten finalist (Christchurch Girls’) are also unbeaten at 3-0 and more than capable of knocking the mantle of favourite from one of those two teams.
Division II is much closer, though Avonside and St. Margaret’s are both unbeaten, and will be favoured to reach the final. Villa Maria’s play has improved over the season under Kenny Perkins’ direction, and they had a strong 61-45 win over Hillmorton, where balance was key. Four players reached double figures: Georgia Knowles (15p); Casey Robinson (14p); Hannah Glen (12p); and Rose Clarkson (11p). Hillmorton’s Michelle Scott (15p) and Holly Iafeta (14p) helped the Hillmorton team get back in the game (down 13-33 at the half, but closing the gap to eight a handful of times in the third and fourth quarter).
On the boys’ side, Division II has three teams battling for supremacy, with Hillmorton leading the way at 7-0, while Papanui and St. Thomas are right behind at 6-1. Linwood was no match for Hillmorton’s dominance here, going down 107-46, as all 12 Tigers scored, led by Maoluma Sakaria (17p). Mahonri Tauiliili-Pau (16p), Ihaia Kendrew (14p), Jovin Fabic (12p), and Rhys Kershaw (11p) also hitting double figures for Hillmorton.
Rhoi Sanchez was held in check for Linwood, only just managing to reach 10 points. St. Thomas scored a 118-42 win over Hornby, where they raced out to a lead thanks to a 42 point first quarter. Jacob Sue (who had been scoring over 40ppg recently) was unavailable, but eight players from STC reached double figures in the win.
In Division I, Cashmere, Christ’s College and Burnside are leading the way, but Middleton Grange will be one team none of these want to face early in the playoffs, as Junior Tall Black Angus McWilliam will be back from his international duty by then for Tim Bennetts’ team.
Shirley Boys’ is another team with the potential for a strong postseason run, proving so as they dispatched Christchurch Boys’ 82-71. Point guard Sean Kelly finished with 23p and three steals, young big man Josh Thomson showed he’s been studying the dream shake (16p), while his post partner Joel Jeffrey scored 11p.
St. Bede’s is still searching for a Division I win, falling to Burnside 97-64. Rchi Lugtu (15p) and Tom Hughes (11p) performing admirably in a game that got away from the Bedeans, partly due to their inability to keep possession (24 turnovers).
Whelan Division I
Cashmere 73-69 St. Andrew’s (Double OT)
Ashburton 72-34 Kaiapoi
Rangi Ruru 79-39 Rangiora
Whelan Division II
St. Margaret’s 61-32 Ellesmere
Avonside 64-56 Lincoln
Villa Maria 61-45 Hillmorton
Thompson Division I
Burnside 97-64 St. Bede’s
Cashmere 84-44 Rangiora (Dowson Cup defended)
Shirley 82-71 Christchurch Boys’
Christ’s 98-62 St. Andrew’s
Ashburton 82-71 Middleton Grange
Thompson Division II
Hillmorton 107-46 Linwood
St. Thomas 118-42 Hornby
Kaiapoi 65-54 Ellesmere
Papanui 88-57 Cathedral
Riccarton 84-69 Lincoln