With two rounds to go in the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Grade the regular season title battle is still wide open but the relegation fight has become a three horse race.
Mt Albert were indebted to a 33 points haul from Xjana Luamanuvae-Su’a as they recorded a 79-70 win at Macleans College. The win secures Premier League status for another season for MAGS but leaves Macleans in a three-way scrap with St Kentigern College and Kelston Boys for top flight survival.
The win, Mt Albert’s fourth on the bounce, looked in doubt when they trailed by six points at the mid point of the third period. However they stopped the Maclean scoring flow to edge ahead 52-50 at three-quarter time and were never headed in the fourth as Luamanuvae-Su’a, Ryan Laumatia and in-form forward Te Akau Pumipi took charge.
Earlier the trusty duo of Blake van Uden and Alex Arthur gave the home side a good start despite a salvo of threes from Luamanuvae-Su’a. He hit four in the opening stanza alone connecting with 7 from 12 on the night.
Michael Babaran scored the last 5 points of the first half for Macleans, his team 35-33 ahead at half-time.
Van Uden, Harrison Roper and Sai Kuvelkar gave Macleans the edge early in the third but 10 points from Laumatia either side of the third quarter break stole back the initiative much to the relief of the travelling MAGS supporters.
Macleans 70 – van Uden 24, Arthur 17, Kuvelkar 10, Babaran 7
MAGS 79 – Luamanuvae-Su’a 33 Laumatia 19, Pumipi 13, Vink 6
As usual Rangitoto College were players down on their excursion over the Harbour Bridge to take on Auckland Grammar.
Good news for Rangitoto fans is that Dan Fotu is finally fit and ready to take the court – bad news is that he is currently in Houston representing the Asia Pacific team at the prestigious Adidas Nations Tournament. His absence and that of others brought the travelling Rangitoto team numbers down to six.
Needless to say they struggled against an in form Auckland Grammar that moved out to a 16-8 quarter time lead.
A triple from Logan McIntosh and 9 points in the second period from Harry Clarke helped Rangi but threes in reply from Rua Winitana and Elijah Andrews plus half a dozen points each from forwards Sam Aruwa and Anzac Rissetto stretched the Grammar advantage to 42-26 at the break.
The third period was shared 21 points apiece and although Ethan Mendeno landed a trio of threes the all round scoring threats (five players scoring in double figures) possessed by Grammar ensured a home win was never in doubt.
AGGS 79 – Aruwa 18, Rissetto 12, Higgins 12, Winitana 12
Rangitoto 59 – Clarke 21, Mandeno 15, McIntosh 9, Langridge 7
Another team with just six players were St Kentigern College and they, like Rangitoto, found the going a little tough at Rosmini College going down 79-38.
Peter Jenkins scored a brace of early baskets to help Rosmini to a 7-0 opening salvo. Max Shorter got the score moving for the visitors but a Kruz Perrott-Hunt triple pushed the Rozza lead out to 17-4 requiring St Kent’s coach Aaron Young to call a timeout.
Ryan Jones scored after the restart and Shorter landed a three but a corner three in reply from Terrence Abdon gave Rosmini a 24-9 quarter time lead.
Jenkins again opened the scoring in the next stanza and with turnovers proving costly coach Young was forced to burn his second timeout with his charges 34-9 down.
With just those six players to call on Young’s options were limited but Martin Gan did take St Kent’s into double figures – it was an improved showing in the second but Rozza still led 46-20 at the interval.
A dozen points from Jenkins led the first half scoring –Shorter with 9 points the main contributor for St Kent’s’.
Abdon took the margin past thirty points and although Shorter kept pegging away for St Kent’s Mitch Dance made 8 points in the quarter and the advantage was 63-27 at three-quarter time.
Back to back baskets from Thomas Hyland ended something of a scoring drought in the early stages of the fourth – a sweet drive from Marvin Williams-Dunn and a version with a higher degree of difficulty from Abdon were the highlights in the fourth as Rozza look forward to entertaining Auckland Grammar in a top of the table clash on Monday.
Credit to St Kent’s for a tireless effort, as they had to manage without Shorter in the final quarter after he twisted an ankle.
Rosmini 79 – Jenkins 16, Dance 14, Abdon 12, Williams-Dunn 10, Perrott-Hunt 10
St Kentigern 38 – Shorter 14, Hyland 12, Jones 5
Kelston Boys remain with one foot in the relegation cellar after being thumped 128-56 on their home court by Westlake Boys. Unless they win both their remaining games – and other results go their way – they will be relegated from Premier Grade at season end.
Westlake achieved the win without forwards Thabo Manyere and James Moors. Moors is also, like Fotu, attending the Adidas Nations Tournament in Houston but the presence of the Lake big men was hardly missed as the guard trio of Reuben Fitzgerald, Marc Malingin and Josh Hidalgo ran amok combining for 84 points.
Surprisingly with such a one sided scoreline the teams were tied 26 points apiece at quarter time as George Taulagi and To’o Mase kept pace with the Westlake guards.
After that it was one-way traffic in favour of the visitors.
Kelston 56 – Prescott 15, Mase 15, Taulagi 10, Brooking 6
Westlake 128 – Fitzgerald 34, Malingin 26, Hidalgo 24, Winter 14
Boys Premier Grade Standings
9-3 Auckland Grammar
5-7 Mt Albert
3-8 St Kentigern
* Westlake and St Kentigern have a game in hand.
There are a full round of games on Monday August 7th with the regular season concluding Friday August 11th.
In Senior A St Peter’s continued on their merry way with a 98-32 romp against an under strength Western Springs.
Christian Fromont (24pts), Phoenix Leupolu (22pts), Boston Schuster (12pts) and Finlay Morris (11pts) led the way for St Peter’s. Ike Conway was the best for the Springs with 10 points.