Monthly Archives: March 2018

W’s in Europe for Jillian Harmon and Tai Webster

J Harmon

Due to her club commitments in Italy Jillian Harmon is unavailable for the Tall Ferns Commonwealth Games programme just getting underway in Australia.

Harmon and her Napoli team lost their final regular season game against Lucca 74-66. Lucca are of course the club Harmon won a championship with last year before signing with Napoli.

Harmon recorded an impressive 20 points (10/18FG), 8 rebounds and 5 assists in a game that proved to be a forerunner to the upcoming play-offs – the two teams are drawn to play each other in the Serie A quarter-final after Easter.

Corey Webster added 18 points (8/16FG) to a game high 7 assists but Ironi Nahariya slipped to a fifth straight loss going down 95-86 at Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Nahariya are now eleventh on the twelve team Israeli Winner League table with a 7-14 record.

Webster has become as much a facilitator as a scorer this season leading Nahariya in the assists category (4.0apg) as well as being the second highest scorer on the team averaging 13.6 points per game.

In Germany Frankfurt Skyliners moved up to seventh on the Bundesliga table after a valuable 79-75 win at Telekom Bonn. Tai Webster contributed 11 points and 3 assists as Frankfurt recorded a fourth win in the last five outings to further enhance their top eight standing with a 15-11 record.

Ratiopharm Ulm stayed a win and a place behind the Skyliners after a decisive 91-74 win at Wuerzburg. This was a fine road win considering Ulm were without the injured Isaac Fotu for the trip and Wuerzburg had the same number of wins (13) as their opponents before the game began.

Curtain comes down on US college season for Harbour Reps

zara jillings

It’s all over for the last of the Harbour reps playing at end of season college tournaments in the USA. However there is a silver lining for Zara Jillings.

Also a bit of Harbour Breeze news.

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Tall Ferns squad has nice blend of youth and experience – Charlisse Leger-Walker to debut


Guy Molloy with Tall ferns - credit FIBA-2

The Tall Ferns squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games has a nice blend of youth and experience. The team features most of the players that attended the Asia Cup in India last year although Jillian Harmon  (playing for Napoli in the Italian League) is a notable absentee.

Terrific to see teenagers Charlisse Leger-Walker and Zara Jillings included.

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Kiwis in good form in Europe including a big performance from Corey Webster


It was a pretty good week for our leading Kiwi players in Europe with all four making major contributions.

In Israel, Ironi Nahariya went down 96-88 at home to Ironi Nes-Ziona but the loss couldn’t be blamed on Corey Webster. The Tall Blacks shooting guard scored a game high 27 points as well as dishing 6 assists. His shooting line made good reading – 3 from 5 threes, 11 from 15 in total from the floor and both free throws knocked down. Webster’s 27 points equaled his season best for Nahariya for whom he averages 16 points per game.

Frankfurt Skyliners guard Tai Webster was missing from action last week due to illness but returned to the court in the 90-82 Bundesliga win against Oettinger. Webster recorded 14 points (4/7FG), 2 rebounds, 4 assists and a pair of steals as the Skyliners improved to 14 wins -11 losses, holding 7th spot on the German League ladder.

Webster did well containing Sydney Kings star point guard Jerome Randle who had 14 points for Oettinger – that’s better than most Australian NBL guards managed this season.

Two places behind the Skyliners are Ratiopharm Ulm who beat bottom of the table Walter Tigers 95-82. Isaac Fotu was in good form for Ulm notching 18 points (8/11FG) and 5 rebounds. It was a much-needed win for Ulm as they had lost their previous four games.

In Italy Jillian Harmon produced 17 points (8/17FG), 7 rebounds and 2 assists as Napoli recorded a valuable 69-66 win against San Martino. Napoli had lost their previous two games but the win solidifies their 4th placed spot in Serie A with just one round of the regular season remaining.

Harbour players still flying NZ flag at national tournaments in the States

zara jillings

Despite all the Kiwis bowing out in the first round of the Big Dance there are still players involved at the sharp end of a couple of major tournaments in American college basketball.

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Kiwis bow out early from Big Dance

Jack Salt

The involvement of the Kiwis in the NCAA Tournament ended in stunning fashion on Saturday when the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, stunned Jack Salt and the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Virginia became the first No 1 seed to lose to a No 16 seed in NCAA Men’s Tournament history, bundled out 74-51.

Last week we were celebrating a record eight New Zealanders heading for the Big Dance. On Saturday the dancing shoes were thrown in the closet for 2018 as all eight suffered first round exits.

On Friday Oklahoma Sooners (Matt Freeman) and Miami Hurricanes (Sam Waardenburg) were shown the door.

If that was disappointing Saturday’s action quickly changed from a quick step to a slow waltz as team after team struggled to keep pace with their opponents.

In early action on Saturday, Northern Colorado (Krystal Leger-Walker and Tiarna Clarke), Cal State Northridge (Tessa Boagni) and Cal Berkeley (Penina Davidson) left the stage.

Soon after Jacinta Beckley (Seattle University) became the fifth and final Kiwi woman to bow out.

New Zealand’s hopes of second round representation then rested on the broad shoulders of Salt but he and the Cavaliers missed their steps badly and became the victims of arguably the biggest upset in Men’s Tournament history.

The disappointment for Boagni, Davidson and Beckley will be the most acute as all three are seniors and their successful four-year college careers now come to an end.

For the other five, and the numerous other Kiwis on NCAA Division 1 teams, the practice routines for the 2019 Big Dance will soon get under way.

Kiwi women exit Big Dance after first round


Last week’s ‘Super Sunday’ when a record five Kiwi women reached the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is replaced by ‘Sad Saturday’ as all five bowed out in the first round of the Big Dance today.

The individual performance of the day belonged to Tessa Boagni. Despite another massive performance from the Big West Tournament MVP Cal State Northridge Matadors went out 99-81 against Notre Dame.

The former Christchurch Girls High standout finished with 23 points (11/14FG), 13 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Matadors. Boagni has finished her career in style. She led the Matadors to a Big West Conference Championship and across the last nine games, since mid February, has averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game.

The University of California Berkeley were without Kristine Anigwe, their leading rebounder and scorer for their encounter with Virginia.

Penina Davidson picked up the slack in the paint recording 10 rebounds and 3 blocks plus 2 points but Cal couldn’t quite overcome the loss of Anigwe. The scores were tied at 57 apiece with two minutes to play but Cal were outscored down the stretch losing 68-62. The senior forward finished the season averaging 7.4 points and 7 rebounds for Cal.

Also finishing her career with a loss was Jacinta Beckley. Seattle University Redhawks were up against it facing Oregon Ducks, the Pac-12 champions with a 30-4 record this season and ranked No 6 in the country. As anticipated Seattle struggled throughout and were eventually beaten 88-45. Beckley, playing her last game for Seattle, finished with 6 points but does have a Western Athletic Conference winners-medal to cherish.

Like Seattle it was a first ever appearance at the Big Dance for Northern Colorado Bears. The Bears, featuring Krystal Leger-Walker and Tiarna Clarke, found the going too tough against seventh seeded Michigan losing 75-61. Leger-Walker had 4 points and 4 assists with freshman guard Tiarna Clarke knocking down 2 from 3 threes for 6 points for the Big Sky champions.

Agony for Freeman and Waardenburg at NCAA Tournament


Both Sam Waardenburg and Matt Freeman, and their respective teams Miami Hurricanes and Oklahoma Sooners, exited the NCAA Tournament in disappointing and dramatic circumstances today.

Miami Hurricanes went down 64-62 to Loyola Chicago and Oklahoma Sooners fell 83-78 to Rhode Island in overtime.

Waardenburg looked to have helped the University of Miami to a narrow win when he secured a defensive rebound with 9 seconds left to play. However a one-and-one free throw opportunity was missed by the Hurricanes allowing Loyola Chicago to steal the win with a three virtually on the buzzer. It was certainly a heart breaking way to finish the season for the 22-10 Hurricanes.

the winning shot

Waardenburg didn’t score any points but he did post a more than useful 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 block and one steal in his first appearance at the Big Dance.

Oklahoma, semi-finalists in 2016, went out with an overtime loss despite 28 points and 7 assists from dynamic freshman point guard Trae Young. The scores were locked at 69 apiece after regulation time.

Freeman, the Sooners sophmore forward, didn’t take the court as his team finished the season with an 18-14 record.

Jack Salt, the sole Kiwi left playing in the men’s tournament and all five New Zealanders in the women’s tournament will be in first round action tomorrow.

Saturday March 17, 10.00am, California State Northridge (Tessa Boagni) v Notre Dame

Saturday March 17, 10.00am, Northern Colorado (Krystal Leger-Walker & Tiarna Clarke) v Michigan

Saturday March 17, 10.00am, California Berkeley (Penina Davidson) v Virginia

Saturday March 17, Noon, Seattle (Jacinta Beckley) v Oregon

Saturday March 17, 2.20pm Virginia (Jack Salt) v Maryland, Baltimore County

Corey Webster struggles to match Tall Blacks form

corey webster

The outstanding shooting form Corey Webster displayed for the Tall Blacks in the recent FIBA international window seems to have temporarily deserted him.

The shooting guard has made just 2 from 15 threes in the two games he has played for Ironi Nahariya since returning to the Israeli League following the New Zealand games in China and Korea.

Webster had 10 points, 5 assists and 2 steals in the 83-62 loss at Maccabi Ashdod and 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the 89-79 home defeat to Maccabi Rishon.

With the two losses Irono Hahariya (7-10) have slipped to 10th on the 12-team Israeli League ladder.

Also suffering a pair of losses have been Isaac Fotu and Ratiopharm Ulm. In fact Ulm were absolutely pummeled on Fotu’s first game back from Korea going down 89-54 against Ludwigsburg – 4 points for the Kiwi forward.

Fotu top scored with 15 points (6/9FG) for Ulm in their latest game, a 90-67 loss to Brose Basket but an accumulated points differential of -58 points suggests there is a little work needed at the defensive end in practice this week.

Ulm have fallen to 10th on the Bundesliga ladder with a 12-11 record.

There was a little more joy for Tai Webster as he posted 16 points (5/15FG), 3 rebounds and 6 assists as Frankfurt Skyliners defeated Wuerzburg 78-72.

In their most recent game the Skyliners fell 95-92 in a thriller against Goettingen but were without Webster in the lineup with the Tall Blacks point guard missing due to sickness. The Skyliners are a couple of places above Ulm on the German League ladder with 13 wins and 11 losses.

After a four game winning streak Napoli have recently lost two games on the bounce – the most recent defeat a 70-49 loss at third placed Ragusa. Jillian Harmon was one of just two Napoli players in double figures scoring 14 points (5/15FG) and adding 8 rebounds. Napoli remains fourth on the Italian League ladder with an 11-9 record.

The Tall Ferns forward leads the Serie A in scoring (19.2ppg), is 3rd in rebounding (9.7rpg) and 7th in the assists category (3.5apg).

Five Kiwi women dancing to the NCAA Division 1 Tournament


Today we feature the record number of New Zealand women heading to the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Tournament. In addition we recap the news on the three Kiwi men also heading to the Big Dance.

Penina Davidson and the Cal Berkeley Golden Bears were provided with an invitation from the NCAA Selection Committee. Their addition takes to five the number of women involved in the 2018 Tournament beginning later this week.

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