The penultimate full round of the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Grade regular season competition on Friday night saw wins for the two top sides Rosmini College and Mt Albert Grammar School.
There was also a first win of the season for Avondale College, with their defeat of Westlake Boys opening the door for St Kentigern College to move into fourth place on the Premier ladder.
It was an emotional night at Avondale College with Doe Williams back on the home floor to make a presentation on Senior Night.
He and the largest crowd of the year witnessed a standout individual performance from Jaga Mete in a fine team performance as Avondale came from behind in the dying seconds to clinch their first win of the season against Westlake Boys.
Mete scored a Premier Grade season best 46 points but it was his final three that mattered. Tom Cowie had sunk a couple of pressure free throws to give Westlake a 99-98 lead with thirteen seconds left on the clock. Mete proceeded to make a spinning lay-up and convert the ensuing additional free throw after being fouled and with little time left on the clock Westlake were unable to get off a game tying shot.
The tone was set for a high scoring affair in the opening period when Westlake ran up 34 points to lead by eight – Dallas Clayton leading the way with nine points.
Westlake were held to less than half of that number in the second period and with Mete making 14 points in the quarter Avondale closed the gap t 49-45 at half-time.
Armand Donaldson scored nine points for the hosts in the third period but Paora Winitana, on his way to a season high 22 points, scored ten of those in the third to give Westlake a 73-68 lead at three-quarter time.
The tension mounted in the final period but the scoring pace didn’t slacken.
Dylan Wylkie made three of his six triples in the fourth quarter and with Cowie and Josh Kooiman also landing from deep it appeared as if Westlake would hang on for the win.
However Mete and Avondale were not to be denied.
Mete made 18 points in the final ten minutes, Tavhir Toyer chipped in with seven and Avondale, after a run of ten straight defeats, finally had a victory to cherish.
Avondale 101 – J Mete 46, T Toyer 21, A Donaldson 21, K Eteru 6
Westlake 99 – P Winitana 22, D Wylkie 18, T Cowie 17, J Kooiman 14
After Westlake’s loss the door was ajar for St Kentigern College to move into fourth place on the Premier table.
St Kent’s didn’t just push the door open they kicked it down surging to an emphatic 96-62 away win on the back of a game high 26 points from Shalom Broughton and a Premier career best 23 points from Levic Kerr.
Logan McIntosh and Harry Payne scored early points for Rangitoto but Broughton scored eleven points to carry St Kent’s to an 18-15 lead.
The visitors ran away with the second period (24-10) with Kerr and Broughton sharing sixteen points.
Ethan Mandeno led a Rangitoto fight-back after half-time but the home side still trailed 58-44 at three-quarter time.
A further revival was quickly extinguished by St Kents – Max Shorter, Alex McNaught, Zac Chan, Gabriel Nolan and Tom Chester all made threes in a 38 points fourth quarter scoring blitz to carry the visitors to a sixth win of the season and a semi-final berth in sight.
Rangitoto 62 – E Mandeno 16, H Payne 13, L McIntosh 11, O Paea 11
St Kentigern 96 – S Broughton 26, L Kerr 23, M Shorter 13. Z Chan 9
They were teammates at the U17 World Cup in Argentina last month but Anzac Rissetto and Mitchell Dance had a battle royal at Auckland Grammar. Neither gave an inch as they battled away for supremacy in the paint. Rissetto ended with 26 points and Dance 30 points – both had their periods of ascendancy in an eye catching encounter but away from that match up Rosmini put on a dominant display winning 117-77
Ilaisa Tela made some nice inside baskets for Grammar but Rosmini, despite finding some early foul trouble, led 26-16 at quarter time with Dance, Marvin Williams-Dunn and Taine Murray consistently finding ways to the basket.
An 8-2 Rosmini run was broken by Tela but when Joseph Hylton stretched the visitors lead to 40-22 Grammar Head Coach Lindsay Tait needed a timeout.
Rissetto made a couple of inside baskets after the resumption but Rozza responded with back to back threes from Williams-Dunn and Dance.
The half ended with Connor Ngan and Kainoa Lepou exchanging athletic drives – 57-35 to Rosmini.
Ngan and Daniel Boyd made threes early in the third frame and when Rissetto went coast-to coast it was Rosmini’s turn to call a timeout with their lead trimmed to 61-45.
Another Williams-Dunn triple and three straight baskets from Taine Murray carried Rosmini to an 84-61 lead at three-quarter time.
Hylton and Sean Murphy fuelled another strong Rosmini run early in the fourth – late points from Rissetto and Teacum McCarthy doing little to stop Rosmini moving to 12-1 and their hopes of a Minor Premiership still alive.
AGS 77 – A Rissetto 26, I Tela 16, C Ngan 13, D Boyd 6, T McCarthy 6
Rosmini 117 – M Dance 30, M Williams-Dunn 26, T Murray 23, S Murphy 13, J Hylton 12
Sataan Tawera and Ryan Laumatia were quickly into their work at St Peter’s College helping Mt Albert Grammar to a 20-13 lead.
There were lean pickings for St Peter’s in the second quarter –Phoenix Leupolu landed a triple but his team could only muster nine points in the period. Manu Dorcil landed a three for Mt Albert and with scoring contributions across the board led 36-22 at half-time.
Whititera Parata led a St Peter’s recovery in the third frame – he had 11 points in the quarter. However Dorcil, Tawera and Laumatia kept MAGS in the ascendancy – ahead 56-38 at the last break.
Leupolu knocked down three straight baskets for St Peter’s but MAGS had little trouble in marching to their eleventh straight win ahead of the clash with traditional rivals Auckland Grammar next Friday.
St Peter’s 51 – W Parata17, P Leupolu 15, I Franklin 9, B Schuster 6
MAGS 73 – S Tawera 19, R Laumatia 15, M Dorcil 14, N Wilson 8
12-1 Mt Albert, Rosmini
8-5 Auckland Grammar
6-5 St Kentigern
3-10 St Peter’s
On Monday August 6th Westlake Boys will entertain St Kentigern College in a fixture that may well determine the fourth semi-final place and Avondale College, with three games to play in five days, will visit Rangitoto College.