Monthly Archives: February 2018

Goulding, Heremaia and Jillings advance in Atlantic 10 Championship but Reed eliminated.


It’s an interesting time of year in US College basketball with some conferences already into end of season championship tournaments and others in the last week of regular season games.

On Wednesday (NZ time) Fordham University Rams, with their trio of Kiwis, negotiated the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference play-offs with a comfortable 75-53 win against Rhode Island. All three Kiwis made a contribution with Cantabrian Mary Goulding (7 points, 6 rebounds and a career high 4 steals) leading the way. She was ably assisted by Zara Jillings (5 rebounds and 5 assists) and Kendell Heremaia (3 points and 3 rebounds).

The Rams will next face Saint Joseph’s in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Saint Joseph’s progressed at the expense of Tera Reed and Virginia Commonwealth Rams defeating the Rams 72-63. Reed made 9 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals – some consolation for the former Westlake guard is that she finished her freshman season as the leading scorer for VCU averaging 14 points per game.

Gus Riley finishes on a high


Riley-1085It has been a tough year for senior forward Gus Riley and the Bryant University Bulldogs.

Entering their final game of the season the Bulldogs had won just one of their Northeast Conference games and Riley himself had been struggling for playing opportunity being afforded just 10 minutes per game on average.

However in the final game of the season the basketball gods shone favourably on Riley as, afforded his seventh start of the season, the Nayland College alumni scored a career high 25 points. Remarkably Riley scored all his points from beyond the arc (7/12 3PG) or from the free throw line (4 from 4).

His previous best was 18 points, scored against Siena in November 2015. Riley finishes his career at Monmouth with 244 points and 163 rebounds in 89 appearances.

Bryant went on to win the game beating Fairleigh Dickinson 87-83 but with just a 2-16 record failed to make the Northeast Conference Tournament with just the top eight teams qualifying.

Last year Riley represented New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA 3×3 World Cup in France.

Matt Freeman named to conference All-Academic team plus college weekly wrap.

Matt Freemanpg

Congratulations to Matt Freeman who followed Stella Beck in being named to a conference All-Academic team.

The Oklahoma Sooners forward was named to the All-Big 12 All-Academic team. To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher and must have participated in 60 percent of their team’s scheduled contests.

Following her naming to the WCC All-Academic Team for the third straight year Beck scored a game high 24 points as St Mary’s Gaels clinched second seeding in the West Coast Conference with a 72-51 win at Santa Clara. The senior guard has tallied 26, 25, 20 and 24 points in her last four outings for the Gaels and heads to the WCC Tournament later this week in good touch.

Jack Salt made 6 points and had the same number of rebounds as Virginia Cavaliers defeated Georgia Tech 65-54. A couple of day’s later Virginia clinched their fourth Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title (third under coach Tony Bennett in the last five years) with a 66-37 drubbing of Pittsburgh.

The number one ranked NCAA Division I clinched the title with two conference games remaining.

Jacinta Beckley posted her first career double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds) as Seattle University Redhawks took down CSU Bakersfield 64-56 . The Redhawks are 8-5 in the Western Athletics Conference with one game remaining in the regular season.

With two games remaining, both at home, Idaho State Bengals are 10-6 in the Big Sky Conference after a narrow 66-64 loss at Eastern Washington. Brooke Blair scored a game high 19 points (7/10FG) for the Bengals who hold joint third spot on the Big Sky Conference ladder.

Tessa Boagni finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds, as Cal State Northridge Matadors were pipped 56-54 by Hawaii. The Matadors are 7-7 in the Big West Conference.

Northern Colorado Bears (13-3) are top of the table and need just one win from their final two games to clinch the Big Sky Conference regular season title. Krystal Leger-Walker filled the stats categories as the Bears beat North Dakota 51-45. The sophmore guard had 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals.


Harbour players peel off awards in US college basketball

Matt Freeman

Conference titles and Academic All-Conference Awards feature in the latest wrap on former Harbour players shining in American college basketball.

Five performances of distinction this week with more in the pipeline.

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Tera Reed shares her thoughts on an outstanding freshman season at VCU


tera reedI recently caught up with former Westlake Girls and Junior Tall Ferns guard Tera Reed who is enjoying a stunning first year at Virginia Commonwealth University.

She leads VCU in scoring and rebounding – not bad for a freshman. She shares her thoughts on that achievement and much more.

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Stella Beck showing top form on and off the court.

stella beck

Four Saint Mary’s Gaels women’s basketball players student-athletes earned West Coast Conference All-Academic Team honours on Wednesday, including senior guard Stella Beck.

Beck is knowledgeable on and off the court with a 3.63 GPA in Psychology specialising in Neuroscience. She has the distinction of being named to the All-Academic first team for the third straight year.

The 22 year-old has started in all 27 games for Saint Mary’s this season and has scored in double-figures in 21 of those games. In seven outings Beck recorded 20 or more points.

Beck scored her 1,000th career point on November 24 and scored a career-high 31 points versus Pacific on January 20 while averaging 14.8 points per game.  In addition the former Hutt Valley High standout averages 5.8 rebounds per game, dishes out 3.2 assists and is second on the team shooting 59.7 percent from the field. Beck leads the team with 37 steals.

Last week she logged her third double-double of the season in the win against San Francisco (72-64) scoring a game-high 26 points and tying a season-high with 11 rebounds. She followed that up with a 25-point, nine-rebound performance in the win against Portland. Her 51 points across the two games moved her into 15th all-time on the Saint Mary’s career scoring list.

St Mary’s are 11-5 in West Coast Conference action and with two regular season games remaining look likely to carry second seeding into the WCC Tournament beginning March 1 in Las Vegas.

Kirk Penney memories and numbers



Numbers don’t tell the full story of what Kirk Penney has contributed to the SKYCITY Breakers but they do help illustrate what a massive contribution he has made to the success of the club and the many memories he has provided.

Penney made his debut for the Breakers on October 4th, 2007 at NSEC scoring 23 points against West Sydney Razorbacks – Oscar Forman and Mika Vukona played for Breakers that day although Paul Henare missed the game, bringing to an end a run of 130 consecutive games.

Penney scored 23 points that day, the beginning of quite a sequence of scoring in his first season with the club. In 31 games he passed the twenty points mark in all but four games as the Breakers made the play-offs for the first time. He finished that season with 749 points at 24.2ppg.

The following season he soon waltzed past the 1,000 points mark for the club – tallied in just 41 games. Just 15 players have reached that milestone for the North Shore club and he passed that number in ten games fewer than the second quickest – Mike Chappel.

The Breakers went a game deeper into the play-offs that year but fell in the semi-final to a star studded Melbourne Tigers. Penney’s output was almost identical to season one amassing 747 points in exactly the same number of games.

Season 2009-2010 was the one that got away. The team won the last six games on the bounce but missed the play-offs by a whisker with a team that felt they could have gone all the way to a title. It was also the beginning of the 40-minute game era that naturally impacted on the number of points scored by teams and individuals. It didn’t affect Penney greatly as he still averaged 23 points an outing.

At the back end of that season he scored a career high 49 points against Adelaide which still stand as the second highest individual score by a Breakers player, just behind 50 points from Carlos Powell against Melbourne Tigers in 2006.

2010-2011 was a season to savour, a season when Penney helped bring the first of four NBL Championships to the club. Penney’s numbers were down slightly with 581 points at a still healthy 20 points an outing. However in the play-offs he produced a memorable performance to help take the Breakers to their first Grand Final.

You may remember that in game one of the semi-final series the Breakers suffered a serious bout of stage fright and were stuffed 101-78 by Perth Wildcats at NSEC. To make matters worse Mika Vukona hobbled out of the game with a serious leg injury.

Three days later, in Perth, Penney and the Breakers caused an upset by defeating the Wildcats 93-89. The performance was memorable on two counts. Firstly Vukona not only defied the medics and played but he also garnered a game high 10 rebounds. Secondly Penney reeled off a match- winning 38 points – a couple of his corner three jump shots still live in the memory.

The Breakers took care of business in game three back on the North Shore and went on to claim their first title with a two games to one victory against Cairns.

Following a five-year break Penney returned to the Breakers last season and although they fell one win short of another play-offs appearance he still led the team in scoring. Playing in all 28 games, he scored in double figures 25 times finishing with 486 points at 17.4ppg.

Having missed the last five games with a calf injury Penney’s place as the Breakers all-time leading points scorer has been overtaken by Tom Abercrombie – but only just.

Penney has scored 3,200 points at 20.3ppg with Abercrombie just four points ahead. (3,204 points at 11.7ppg).

Other Penney numbers at the Breakers:

Has made the most 3 point shots for the club (483)

Has scored 30 points or more in a single game on 30 occasions.

158 appearances

641 rebounds

369 assists

125 steals


Stella Beck gets the headline but big performances from Boagni, Clarke, Reed and Le’afa

SMC Women's Basketball vs Gonzags

Stella Beck logged her third double-double of the year for St Mary’s Gaels in the win against San Francisco (72-64) on Thursday, scoring a game-high 26 points and tying a season-high with 11 rebounds. She followed that up with a 25-point, nine-rebound performance in the win against Portland on Saturday. The 51 points across the two games moved her into 15th all-time on the Saint Mary’s career scoring list.

St Mary’s are 11-5 in West Coast Conference action.

Jacinta Beckley produced 11 points and 9 rebounds but unfortunately Seattle Redhawks fell 69-67 in overtime at Texas-Rio Grande Valley. That was followed by a second road loss, 64-53 at New Mexico State, with Beckley scoring 10 points in that one. Despite the losses the Redhawks are still handily placed in the Western Athletic Conference with a 7-4 record.

Brooke Blair produced 13 points (5/11FG), 4 rebounds and 3 assists to help Idaho State Bengals to an 83-71 home win against Sacramento State mid week. She was also in double figures with 11 points in a 72-64 win against Portland State on Sunday. The Bengals are 9-5 in the Big Sky Conference with four games to play.

What a shooting performance from from Tessa Boagni. The Cal State Northridge Matadors centre shot 8 from 10 from the field and 10 out of 10 from the free throw line. Boagni finished with a game high 26 points (plus 9 rebounds) as the Matadors beat Cal Poly 86-66 and are now 7-6 in Pac 12 Conference play.

It was a big night for Penina Davidson on Saturday being recognised at the Cal Berkeley Bears seniors ceremony following the ‘Battle of the Bay’ against arch rivals Stanford.

Stanford, ranked number 17 nationally, and Cal, met twice in three days with Stanford prevailing 74-69 on Thursday but the Bears avenging that defeat with a 78-66 win two days later in front of 4,000 home fans. In her final home game Davidson snared 8 rebounds – 5 at the offensive end – plus 3 points, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.

It’s been quite a week for 2016 Junior Tall Fern Tiarna Clarke. The former Westlake combo-guard enjoyed career nights in consecutive games to help Northern Colorado Bears (12-3 in the Big Sky Conference) to two wins. Clarke bettered her 19 points against Northern Arizona on Thursday by scoring 20 points against Southern Utah two days later.

Kendell Heremaia, another 2016 JTF had her most productive scoring game of the season scoring 11 points (3/5 3PG) in Fordham Rams 79-54 loss at Dayton- Fordham now 11-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

A third JTF Tera Reed snared a career best 16 rebounds to accompany 12 points but Virginia Commonwealth slipped to 3-11 in Atlantic 10 Conference games after a 59-54 loss at Richmond.

And the Men………….

Two former Harbour players met when Jack Salt and newly crowned No 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers visited Sam Waardenburg and Miami Hurricanes. in an internationally televised encounter. It was Virginia’s first game carrying the top ranking in NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball since December 1982 and after losing their last outing – an overtime defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech – ensured their would be no upset and prevailed 59-50.

Salt finished with 2 points, an assist and a team high 7 rebounds whilst Waardenburg, who is enjoying increased court time for Miami, made 6 points (2/3 FG, 2/2 3PG) and claimed a steal.

Izayah Le’afa made all three of his three point attempts as he put up a stats stuffing 15 points, 3 rebounds a pair of steals and blocks plus an assist for Sacramento State Hornets. Unfortunately the Hornets, now 3-11 in the Big Sky Conference, slipped to a fifth straight loss going down 83-73 to Weber State.

Sam Timmins had 8 rebounds and 2 points in the game Washington Huskies retired the No 2 jersey of former Huskie, now Los Angeles Lakers star Isaiah Thomas on Saturday. The Huskies beat Colorado 82-59 and now sit 8-6 in the Pac 12 Conference.

Career high’s for Tiarna Clarke and Tera Reed plus more on Harbour players in college

Tiarna Clarke

Tiarna Clarke posted a career best twice in one week, Tera Reed did it twice plus double doubles from Katie Diakhaby, Alex Talma and Reed.

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Isaac Fotu loses bragging rights to Tai Webster


Prior to the last FIBA international window Tai Webster and Isaac Fotu went head to head for their respective clubs in Germany before boarding a plane to New Zealand for the Tall Black’s game against Korea.

Once again, ahead of the Tall Blacks trip to China and Korea, the Bundesliga fixtures pitched the two Kiwis in direct opposition.

The storyline was the same in both instances with the visitors getting the W on each occasion.

Back in November Fotu and his club Ratiopharm Ulm stole the win on Frankfurt Skyliners home court.

There was a reverse of fortunes on Wednesday night as the Skyliners pinched the narrowest of wins (78-77) at Ulm with Webster making 5 points (2/2FG, 1/1FT) and dishing 3 assists. Fotu had 10 points (5/6FG) and 5 rebounds for Ulm.

Ulm are in seventh spot on the German League ladder with a 12-9 record one place ahead of Frankfurt who have the same number of wins but have an additional loss.

Both Kiwis are in good form ahead of the internationals. Fotu scored 24 points in each of the previous two games for Ulm and Webster also nabbed 24 points a couple of games back for Frankfurt.

Webster is averaging 15.7 points and 4.8 assists per game for the Skyliners with Fotu claiming 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per outing for Ulm.

The pair will fly direct to China after the weekend to link up with their Tall Blacks teammates ahead of the Asian Zone World Cup Qualifiers against China next Friday and Korea in Seoul three days later. The bulk of the Tall Blacks team depart from Sydney on Monday following the Breakers game against the Kings on Sunday afternoon.