Monthly Archives: July 2018

Oh so close for U17 Women at World’s

NZ U17 team

The New Zealand team couldn’t quite cap off a fantastic comeback against European heavyweights Hungary at the U17 World Cup in Belarus last night.

Down 22 points and without three injured players the Kiwis staged a remarkable comeback to almost steal the win before going down 68-60.

Queensland based guard Tara Manumaleuga paced the Kiwis with a game high 23 points as she, Sharne Pupuke-Robati (13 rebounds), Charlisse Leger-Walker (10 points & 10 rebounds), Helen Mathews (7 points & 3 steals) and Tayla Dalton played massive minutes in the second half to lead the fight back.

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Not all pain as NZ loses to Spain at U17 World cup

NZ U17 Team & Officials

The scoreline of 83-48 in favour of Spain suggests the Kiwis were hammered in their first ever Fiba U17 World Cup game.

In fact New Zealand went toe for toe with their illustrious opponents until midway through the third quarter. Trailing 43-36 they were well in the contest but from there things went downhill as the Ferns were outscored 40-12 in the last 15 minutes, committing far too many turnovers.

Plenty to be encouraged about with strong contributions from Jazz Kailahi-Fulu, Tayla Dalton, Tara Manumaleuga, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Sharne Pupuke-Robati.

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Tom Higgins latest Kiwi to commit to an NCAA Div II college

It’s difficult to keep tabs on all the Kiwis attending college in the States and those we pay closest attention to are invariably the NCAA Division I players.

However with the ever-growing number of New Zealand players heading to Division Two schools interest in that level of the college game is bound to increase.

The announcement this week that Tom Higgins, who has been training with the Mainland Eagles Academy since leaving Auckland Grammar School last year, is headed to Texas A&M International next month the interest in the Heartland Conference which will feature four Kiwis next college season has been heightened.

In addition to Higgins two other freshmen, Will Heather and Oscar Oswald, will be playing in the Heartland Conference as will Nikau McCullough.

Higgins will head to Texas to play for the Dustdevils following the Fiba U18 Asia Cup in Thailand early next month. Also on international duty is former Palmerston North Boys High standout Oscar Oswald who will head to St Edwards University, Austin in August.

The third freshman is William Heather – the former Rosmini College forward will suit up for Dallas Baptist University Patriots the reigning Heartland Conference regular season champions. Heather and Higgins will come face to face early in the conference season, the Patriots entertaining the Dustdevils at the Burg Centre in their conference home opener on December 1st.

Waikato guard McCullough is about to embark on his third year at St Mary’s University, Texas. McCullough was a member of the New Zealand 3×3 team that won gold at the 2015 Fiba U18 World Cup in Hungary. In addition to the former St John’s College star that team comprised of Tai Wynyard, Sam Timmins and Matt Freeman.

Kiwi men attending NCAA Division II Universities for the 2018-2019 collegiate season:


Mandela Baledrokadroka Davis & Elkins College
Jayden Bezzant Northwest Nazarene University
Denhym Brooke University of Hawaii at Hilo
Isaac Davidson Sonoma State University
Wilfred Dickson South Dakota School of Mines & Tech
Logan Elers South Dakota School of Mines & Tech
William Heather Dallas Baptist University
Tom Higgins Texas A&M International
Liam McRae Minot State University
Nikau McCullough St Mary’s University Texas
Oscar Oswald St Edwards University
Tom Power University of Hawaii at Hilo
William Raisbeck Notre Dame College
Alex Talma Biola University
Zack Te Puni College of Saint Rose
Haize Walker Concordia University-Portland
Brandon Watkins Mars Hill University

Tall Ferns in good form ahead of trip to Japan and Taiwan


Kalani Purcell – photo credit Fiba

The Tall Ferns team heads to Japan on Tuesday morning with a number of the young, inexperienced squad displaying good club form of late.

On Friday Stella Beck scored 16 points and added 8 rebounds and 4 assists as league leaders Townsville Flames proved too hot for USC Rip City in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) winning 82-66.

Also in the QBL Brooke Blair scored 9 points for Rockhampton Cyclones as they blew away Toowoomba Mountaineers 103-60. Blair is averaging 16 points per outing for the Cyclones.

Kalani Purcell, who will captain the Tall Ferns on the trip, was in double-double form as South West Metro Pirates enjoyed twin successes at the weekend with an 81-72 win against North Gold Coast Seahawks and a 79-70 victory at Brisbane Capitals. Against the Seahawks she racked up 11 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals and was even more dominating against the Capitals(20points, 12 rebounds, 8assists and 5 steals).

Newcomer Ashleigh Karaitiana scored 15 points for Bendigo Lady Braves as they remain unbeaten in SEABL action with a 91-83 win at Geelong Supercats.

Tessa Boagni, Penina Davidson, Alyssa Hirawani, Nicole Ruske and Tera-Akiene Reed have enjoyed a week off since the New Zealand Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) concluded in Dunedin.

Both Ruske and Davidson were named to the WBC All-Star Five. Ruske played a key role for the Gold Rush as they claimed the 2018 WBC title averaging 16.2 points per game.

Davidson, recently graduated from Cal Berkeley, averaged 16.8 points and 14 rebounds per game for Harbour Breeze. Reed, also paying for the Breeze, averaged 23 points per outing.

Hirawani, despite carrying an ankle injury, still averaged 16.2 points per game for Waikato Wizards and Boagni logged 13 points and 12 rebounds for Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats.

The Tall Ferns will play three games in Japan at the end of this week before heading to Taiwan to compete at the William Jones Cup (July 25-29).

It will be the 40th edition of the William Jones Cup. In addition to New Zealand (ranked 42nd in the world) the tournament will feature Korea (16th), Japan (reigning FIBA Asia Cup champions and No 13 ranked team in the world), Chinese Taipei (40th), Chinese Taipei B and India (45th).

New Zealand Tall Ferns Team

Stella Beck (Townsville Flames/Formerly St Mary’s College, California)

Jacinta Beckley (Formerly Seattle University)

Brooke Blair (Harbour Breeze/ Rockhampton Cyclones/Formerly Idaho State University)

Tessa Boagni (Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats/Formerly California State University, Northridge)

Penina Davidson (Harbour Breeze/Formerly University of California, Berkeley)

Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato Wizards/Formerly Murray State College)

Ashleigh Karaitiana (Bendigo Spirit)

Kalani Purcell (Melbourne Boomers/South West Metro Pirates)

Tera-Akiene Reed (Harbour Breeze/Virginia Commonwealth University)

Nicole Ruske (Otago Gold Rush)


Cocks and Farnworth close to triple-doubles plus other Tall Ferns news

Micaela Cocks and Toni Farnworth came close to logging triple-doubles as a number of Australian based Tall Ferns posted impressive numbers at the weekend in State League action.

Farnworth, playing for Perry Lakes Hawks in the Western Australian State Basketball League, recorded 29 points (5/8 3PG), 9 rebounds and 8 assists in the win against Kalamunda. The Hawks started their season in disastrous fashion losing eight of their first nine games but are now up to eighth on the table with an improved 8-11 record.

In the Queensland State League (QBL) Micaela Cocks was one assist shy of a triple-d with 25 points (5/10 3PG), 10 rebounds and 9 assists as Townsville Flames beat Mackay Meteorettes 93-81. Recent recruit Stella Beck scored five points for the Flames who head the QBL ladder with a 12-1 record.

One spot behind the Flames are South West Metro Pirates (10-2) who beat Logan Thunder 83-63 with Kalani Purcell posting 17 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. The Pirates achieved the win without the services of Natalie Taylor and Charmian Mellars who were both playing for Auckland Dream at the WBC Finals in Dunedin.

Brooke Blair was busy at the weekend as the Rockhampton Cyclones undertook a three game road trip. Despite 28 points from Blair (4/9 3PG) the Cyclones were edged 94-90 by Southern District Spartans on Friday.

The Cyclones fared better after that with a 78-55 demolition of North Gold Coast on Saturday and an even bigger 89-52 victory at Brisbane Capitals on Sunday. Blair scored 11 points against NGC and compiled 23 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists against the Capitals. The Cyclones are sixth on the QBL ladder with a 9-5 record.

In Melbourne Jess Bygate and Sandringham Sabres remain fourth on the South East Australia Basketball League (SEABL) table after a valuable 76-75 win against second placed Kilsyth Cobras. Bygate scored 11 points whilst former Tall Fern Megan Craig chipped in with 4 points and 6 rebounds.

Recently selected Tall Fern Ashleigh Karaitiana scored 12 points as the Bendigo Lady Braves beat Launceston Tornadoes 95-81 to remain a perfect 16-0 in SEABL action

In Adelaide Jordan Hunter dealt only in threes, making 6 from 7 from beyond the arc, as she added 18 points to 8 assists for Sturt Sabres. The Sabres snapped a four game losing streak to beat Woodville Warriors 109-66 and still remain second on the South Australia Premier League standings with an 11-5 record.

Beck, Blair, Karaitiana and Purcell will be in action again this weekend before linking up with the Tall Ferns for their Asian tour early next week.

NZ fall to Philippines on final day at U17 World Cup


The efforts of the previous day’s hard fought victory against China took it’s toll as the New Zealand U17 Men lost 73-51 to the Philippines in Argentina today.

The result means that the Kiwis finished fourteenth at the sixteen team Fiba U17 World Cup.

Having beaten the Philippines 76-60 at the Asian Championship back in April to claim bronze at that tournament New Zealand would have been hoping to achieve a similar result in Santa Fe.

However it wasn’t to be with the Philippines winning every quarter on their way to a comfortable victory. Mitch Dance was once again the leading scorer with 12 points, Shalom Broughton the only other Kiwi in double figures with ten points.

Thanks to Anzac Rissetto, Haven Dixon and Dance New Zealand comfortably won the rebounding count 60-43 but some of the other statistical categories were not so positive.

The Kiwis gave up 18 turnovers, ten more than their opponents. Neither team shot the ball well from beyond the arc but inside and mid-rand the Philippines were a reasonably efficient 44% (33/75). In comparison the Kiwis connected with just 20 from 79 at 25%.

The team finished the tournament a very respectable eighth in the rebounding statistical category but last in shooting percentages.

Dance was the team’s leading scorer averaging 15.6 points a game with Marvin Williams-Dunn (7.9) and Kainoa Lepou (7.2) the next best.

Anzac Rissetto was a top ten rebounder at the tournament collecting 8.9 boards a game. Dance demonstrated his value with 6.6 rebounds per outing and Haven Dixon corralled 5.9 per game.

Philippines 73

NZ 51 – M Dance 12/11r, S Broughton 10, T Cowie 6, M Williams-Dunn 6, H Dixon 5/9r, E Vaigafa 5, A Rissetto 4/12r, J Mckinlay 3

NZ defeat China at U17 World Cup

NZ U17 men.jpg

Six days after the Tall Blacks beat China in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers the New Zealand U17 Men replicated that achievement with a 62-57 win against China at the Fiba U17 World Cup in Argentina.

Mitch Dance backed up his 30 points haul the previous day against Serbia with 23 points in this one – his Rosmini College teammate Marvin Williams-Dunn was also in good form scoring 17 points including 4 from 5 from beyond the arc.

There were also key contributions from Anzac Rissetto (8 points) and Shalom Broughton (5 points). The pair also combined for 17 rebounds to ensured the Kiwis gained parity on the glass.

The Kiwis jumped out to a 17-8 first quarter lead and in fact led 17-4 at one stage after Dance and Williams-Dunn (twice) knocked down triples.

Another 10-0 run stunned the Chinese as they found themselves 27-8 down early in the second period – Kainoa Lepou and Anzac Rissetto adding to a third triple from Williams-Dunn.

China found their scoring touch as half-tine approached but the Kiwis were still in the ascendancy at the break leading 35-25.

The third quarter was shaded by China but the Kiwis remained 51-43 to the good at three-quarter time.

After China scored the first eight points of the final period to tie proceedings the game became a battle of nerves.

To their credit NZ held theirs even though they could never stretch their lead beyond five points after Williams-Dunn made it 56-51 with 6:30 to play.

The Kiwis went four minutes without scoring but China weren’t hitting shots either – Shalom Broughton made it 59-54 with 2:30 left after an And-1 play.

China made a triple and once again it was a one possession game – Dance and Rissetto missed a pair of free throws each to heighten the tension but the former made one soon after to give the Kiwis a 60-57 lead inside the last 30 seconds –Broughton sealing the deal in the dying seconds for a memorable win.

New Zealand will play-off for places 13-14 on the final day of competition tomorrow.

China 57

NZ 62 – M Dance 23/7r, M Williams-Dunn 17, A Rissetto 8/8r, S Broughton 5/9r, K Lepou 5, H Dixon 2, E Vaigafa 2

Otago and Waikato Wizards to contest WBC Final


charlisse copy

It should be a cracking final. The WBC grand finale will feature the young Waikato team led by Charlisse Leger-Walker against a more experienced Otago Gold Rush.

read report on semi-finals

Canterbury Schools latest roundup


The Whelan Top Four has now been found, with a tiebreaker being needed for the final position.

Kaiapoi was the big winner on the night in the McDonald’s Whelan Trophy Competition, winning by 27 points over their North Canterbury Neighbours from Rangiora.

Equally important for Kaiapoi’s hopes, Christchurch Girls’ knocked out Middleton Grange 65-52. Despite being down 21-12 at the end of the first quarter, the Gators used balanced scoring from Annabel Lapworth (12), Katie Jo Van den Bogaert (11), Sofia Kennedy (10) and Fia Lai Kong (10), to jump ahead 43-45 at the end of three quarters. CGHS’ Olivia McIntyre (30), Sammy Arnold (13) and Violet Eaton (12) helped spark an 11-0 run to retake the lead, and hung on to finalise their place in the Top Four.

Rangi Ruru and St. Andrew’s join Kaiapoi and Christchurch Girls’ when they battle for semi-final seedings in term Three.

In Division II, Ellesmere welcomed Megan Ellis (Middleton Grange 2017) to their line-up, and dealt Avonside their first defeat of the season, 63-58 – setting up a very interesting last few rounds with four teams (Avonside, Ellesmere, Lincoln, St. Margaret’s) all tied at 6-1. Lincoln High got there by virtue of a comprehensive 83-30 win over Papanui. Kate Herman led the way with 22 points, while her sister Mandy had 14. Samantha McCrone also had a twenty-point game (21) for the winners.


In the Thomson Trophy Ihaia Kendrew had another big scoring week with 36 against the Gators. Hillmorton were able to stay close to Gators through the first half – only down 48-44, with Ihaia Cox-Winiata’s and Jacob Milne’s 10 scoring ten points each. Ben Carlile-Smith (27) with Trey Te Awa (14) and Harry Roth (12) extended the Gators’ lead to 11 after three quarters, and then pushed it out to 18 at the final buzzer, 92-74.

Round Nine at the beginning of term three sets up some compelling games, with Cashmere, Middleton Grange and Shirley Boys’ all guaranteed to make the quarter-finals, only three spots remain to be claimed. Christchurch Boys’, Christ’s College, Rangiora, and St. Andrew’s are all in contention for the final three spaces, with one team guaranteed to be disappointed.

Rangi Ruru and Cashmere High retained the Phil Burns’ and Dowson Cups respectively, with only Rangi Ruru needing to physically take the court against Cashmere to defend the cup. There are no games scheduled over the school holidays, or week one of term three, so Tuesday July 31 is the next date for our competitions to back in earnest.

From James Lissaman

Week Eight Results

Whelan Division II
Ellesmere 63-58 Avonside

Lincoln 83-30 Papanui

Villa Maria 54-25 Marian

Hillmorton 62-33 Burnside


Whelan Division I
St. Andrew’s 76-47 Cashmere

Rangi Ruru 77-41 Cashmere

Kaiapoi 77-48 Rangiora

Christchurch Girls’ 65-52 Middleton Grange

St. Andrew’s 81-57 Ashburton


Thomson Division II
St. Thomas 92-59 Linwood

Ashburton 86-65 Ellesmere

Lincoln 78-76 Rangiora New Life

Riccarton 101-76 Hornby

Cathedral 103-76 Kaiapoi


Thomson Division I
Shirley Boys’ 75-64 Rangiora

Christ’s 85-69 St. Andrew’s

Middleton 92-74 Hillmorton

Cashmere 20-0 Burnside (default)

WBC Finals – Day 1 Wrap on all games


There are still semi-final places up for grabs at the WBC play-offs although defending champions Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats have been ousted.

In one of the all-time great WBC games they were pipped at the post by South Island rivals Otago Gold Rush.

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