Auckland Dream gained early season bragging rights over Harbour Breeze with a 55-48 victory in the first Ross Williams Cup game held at Epsom Girls Grammar School on Friday night.
Ross Williams, a Basketball New Zealand Life Member, gave over 50 years service to basketball, and the women’s game in Auckland was particularly dear to his heart. If he had been able to attend the encounter on Friday Ross would have enjoyed the occasion, as two evenly matched teams went toe to toe in front of a good crowd.
Shauna Povey and Paddy Pupuke-Robati shared all of Auckland’s first quarter points but the Breeze shaded the period 13-11 as Tabitha Jenkins scored just prior to the break.
The second quarter was all the Dream. Povey moved into double figures as the hosts won the frame 13-6, to take a 24-19 lead into the locker room at the interval.
Jazz Kailahi-Fulu made a couple of inside baskets for the Breeze but triples from Stevee-Rose Theyers and Leiani Tautiepa pushed the Dream advantage into double figures. A late third period flourish from former Westlake teammates Mareta Davidson and Keeley Tini dragged the Breeze to within three at the last break – down 38-35.
Luye Murphy scored five quick points to start the fourth, but Tini and Kailahi-Fulu kept the Breeze in touch and when Morgan Ili scored inside it was a two-point game (48-46) with three minutes to play.
Sharne Pupuke-Robati and Kailahi-Fulu exchanged baskets but although the Breeze had opportunities to level it was the Dream that finished the stronger closing out a seven point win.
The two teams will lock horns again in a couple of weeks when they play the opening game of the 2018 Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) in Tauranga on May 4th.
In the curtain raiser St Mary’s College, Ponsonby defeated Orewa College 80-32. The win means St Mary’s replace Orewa in the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Grade for the 2018 season.
Auckland Dream 55 – Povey 14, P Pupuke-Robati 12, S Pupuke-Robati 9, L Murphy 5
Harbour Breeze 48 – J Kailahi-Fulu 14, M Ili 9, T Jenkins 7, K Tini 7, M Davidson 6