By James Lissaman
Semi-Final week started off with an excellent game between Ellesmere and St. Margaret’s, with Josh Thompson’s team racing out to an early ten point lead. This was largely due to the defensive prowess of Kersha Timpson – scoring six straight points (19p total) after harassing the home team into turnovers. The margin stayed consistent through the first three quarters, before St. Margaret’s was able to pull ahead late in the fourth, with Emily Stewart (17p) and Madison Eder (11p) being the main catalysts. St. Margaret’s found themselves up six with only a few minutes remaining in regulation, but this lead shrank and Ellesmere’s Paris Nurse (17p) got sent to the Free Throw line with only five seconds remaining – and tied the game at 55-55. Despite missing the second, nurse had a chance to win it after an offensive rebound bounced back to her. Overtime belonged to St. Margaret’s though – with Lina Pale scoring four of her 16 points, and a spot in the finals after a 67-57 win.
Avonside Girls’ had an early ten-point lead, with Molly Cockburn hitting on tough shot after tough shot in the first half. Villa Maria was still facing a deficit in the fourth quarter, but closed the gap all the way to three points with only a few minutes to play. Avonside’s defensive resolve stiffened here, and they managed to keep their noses just ahead of Villa Maria, booking a Division II finals match against St. Margaret’s in what will be a preview of their game against each other in the BBNZ South Island Premiership.
Division One of the McDonald’s Whelan Trophy Competition was just as tight as Division II, with both games being decided on the final possession. Rangi Ruru and St. Andrew’s had a thrilling head-to-head matchup between Junior Tall Ferns Esra McGoldrick (28p) and Charlotte Whittaker (27p). Each team struggled with the pressure of the moment on the fourth – with a turnover for one team almost always being repaid in kind by their opponent. Lose Faingaanuku had 10p for St. Andrew’s in support of Whittaker, but it was Rangi Ruru’s Alida Pohatu-Barnes who came through in the clutch – hitting a big two as part of her 11p, including making three straight free throws. Whittaker almost had a miracle finish for StAC, banking in a three, and getting fouled on another attempt, but just ran out of time to finish off the comeback, as StAC fell 61-59.
Despite being the higher seed, Middleton Grange came out tentatively against last year’s other finalist – Christchurch Girls’. Amiee Book had a huge haul of 32p, and Megan Ellis had 21p, but fellow star Lauryn Hippolite faced excellent defence and could only muster three points herself. Christchurch Girls’ faced a similar conundrum, as their star guard (Sapphire Wairau) was held to only eight points, but Alana Wouters (19p) and Bella Luhetoa (17p) kept Phil Burns’ team rolling. It looked like all was lost heading into the last quarter for the Gators, as a ten-point buffer was between them and the lead. A gradual comeback was completed, as Megan Ellis hit a clutch three to tie the game at 59-59, before a Wairua bucket in the lane after a beautiful step-through immediately gave Girls’ High the lead back, as they hung on to win 64-62.
In Division I of the Thompson Trophy, a full strength Christ’s College team easily ran away from Rangiora High 105-70, as the dynamic duo of namesakes Max (De Geest and Darling) were too tough inside and out for the young Rangiora team. Cashmere and Shirley Boys’ had the best crowd of the night, with an almost constant chant of defence being heard in the first half, no matter which team had the ball! Both teams were locked at 30-30 at half time, with Sean Kelly (15p) keeping the visitors close. A strong third quarter run saw Cashmere pull ahead 52-36 at the final break, eventually going on to win 77-52.
Papanui overcame an extremely loud crowd at Cathedral College, as they utilised their superior size advantage to win 71-52, despite an early scare when Cathedral was able to speed the game up with a few half-court steals. Hillmorton had nowhere near as easy a path, with two key players out due to injury (Jibraan Safi – ACL, and Joshua Nickel – fracture). St. Thomas and Hillmorton traded baskets throughout the first three quarters, and it looked like Neville Brooker’s team was going to claim a spot in the final, pulling ahead by nine points late in the fourth. Three Ihaia Kendrew threes (46p total) quickly erased this lead, along with 15p from Mahonri Tauiliili-Pau, and allowed the Tigers to escape with a tight 84-82 win, despite Ben Ruffles (21p), Jacob Sue (21p) and Izaac Beever (18p) all scoring well for STC.
#McDsTT and #McDsWT Finals’ Night Schedule
Tuesday, 29 Aug 2017 – Cowles Stadium (Free Entry, Shop and Live Music from DJ Justone for Division I Finals)
|Date/Time||Cowles 1||Cowles 2|
|4:00 PM||McDsTT DII Final
|McDsWT DII Final
St Margaret’s vs
Avonside Lady Eagles
|5:45 PM||McDsWT DI Final
Rangi Ruru vs
|7:30 PM||McDsTT DI Final
Thompson DI Results:
Christ’s 105-70 Rangiora
Cashmere 77-52 Shirley
Thompson DII Results:
Hillmorton 84-82 St. Thomas
Papanui 71-52 Cathedral
Whelan DI Results:
Rangi Ruru 61-59 St. Andrew’s
Christchurch Girls’ 64-62 Middleton
Whelan DII Results:
St. Margaret’s 67-57 Ellesmere (overtime)
Avonside 53-50 Villa Maria