In an exciting finish Liston College edged Northcote College 110-107 in an Auckland Secondary School Senior A high scoring thriller on Tuesday night.
Northcote led 92-85 entering the last five minutes and looked to be heading for a win but Tyrone McClennan scored back to back threes to pull Liston to within a single point.
Miggy Falqueza scored but was forced to the bench with a knee injury with Northcote 96-93 ahead.
A Jack Burton jump shot drew approval from the home crowd – Northcote ahead 103-99 with less than two minutes on the clock.
Another three, this time from Preston Karatau drew Liston within a point before the impressive Dru Leo Leusogi-Ape punctured the home defence to give his team a 104-103 lead with 1:15 to play
Centre Lev Prokofyev scored on consecutive Liston plays but Sam Hadley’s drive kept Northcote in touch – down 108-105 with 25 seconds remaining.
Burton made two free throws under pressure for Northcote and when Liston couldn’t fully capitalize from the foul line it was still a one possession game.
Northcote coach Colin Hodgkinson used his last timeout but to his dismay, and that of the enthusiastic home supporters, a turnover resulted from the inbounds pass.
Somehow Northcote regained possession but a desperate game tying effort from Reihana Miller hit the back of the ring and Liston scraped home 110-107.
Earlier, in probably a first for Auckland schools basketball, a lights show was used to introduce the teams to a packed audience.
However most of the illuminations on the court in the early exchanges were provided by Liston who got out to an 11-6 lead and Northcote needed a timeout.
Liston continued to control the tempo – a corner three from Preston Karatai helping them to a 23-11 quarter time lead.
Falqueza landed a triple to initiate a 7-1 Northcote run to open the scoring in the second frame.
A block from Torbe Zachariassen got the home crowd excited but Leusogi-Ape reciprocated with a more athletic rejection of his own – his breakaway basket keeping Liston ahead 32-22.
Edward Magdenburg (18 points in the first half) paced the Liston effort and although Falqueza and Burton reduced the arrears a put back from Prokofyev gave Liston a 42-37 half-time lead.
Northcote rallied in the third period as Ollie Hayward made it a one point game (53-52) and then a drive from Ropene Kurukaanga gave Northcote the lead for the first time in the game.
The lead changed hands on a number of occasions as an offence dominated quarter ended with Northcote ahead 71-67 – ten points from Northcote guard Burton doing most of the damage as Liston gave up 34 points in the stanza.
An absorbing fourth quarter followed with Liston prevailing in the frantic last few minutes
The game was played in a terrific spirit between two evenly matched teams – both still in with a chance of joining St Peter’s and Avondale in the semi-finals.
Northcote 107 – Burton 29, Kurukaanga 23, Falqueza 20, Hadley 17, Hayward 12
Liston 110 – Leusogi-Ape 32, Magdenburg 19, McClennan 12, Prokofyev 11, Fabien 10
Other Round 13 Senior A results:
St Peter’s 66 Manurewa 43
Avondale 77 Pakuranga 75
Senior A Ladder
12-1 St Peter’s
4-8 Western Springs