Tall Ferns in title chasing form in Australia

Stella Beck

Stella Beck in action for the Tall Ferns recently

It’s the business end of the season in the Australian State Basketball Leagues and Kiwi interest remains high in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) and Big V League.

There is certain to be New Zealand representation in the QBL Final with Tall Ferns set to oppose each other in the upcoming semi-final.

Regular season champions Townsville Flames feature Stella Beck and Micaela Cocks with semi-final opponents Rockhampton Cyclones boasting Brooke Blair in their lineup.

Beck scored 12 points (5/7FG) and added 7 rebounds as the Flames doused North Gold Coast Seahawks 87-64 in the quarter-final. Cocks was a little subdued by her lofty standards scoring just five points to accompany 6 rebounds.

In another quarter-final Blair dropped 18 points (5/9 3PG) as the Cyclones blew past South West Metro Pirates 93-81.

The Purcell sisters combined for 52 points for the Pirates but it wasn’t enough to calm the Cyclones. Kalani Purcell came within a dime of a triple double (31 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists) while Natalie Taylor scored 12 points and Charmian Mellars contributed 9 points and 8 rebounds.

The Sunbury Jets, aided by 16 points (4/6FG, 7/7FT) from Tall Ferns forward Jess Bygate are through to their third consecutive Big V Grand Final series.

The defending champions, coached by former Tall Ferns Head Coach Kennedy Kereama, beat Knox Raiders 63-59 in the semi-final.

2016 Tall Fern guard Rebecca Ott scored a game high 31 points for Knox.

There is not such good news with regard to Tall Ferns playing in other leagues.

In Perth Toni Farnworth, playing for the defending champions Perry Lakes Hawks, has fallen out of contention in the State Basketball League play-offs in the quarter-finals.

In Adelaide Jordan Hunter, playing for Sturt Sabres, has been eliminated at the semi-final stage of the South Australia Premier League.

Back in Melbourne Chevannah Paalvast (Diamond Valley) and Jess Bygate (Sandringham Sabres) were knocked out in the early stages of SEABL play-off action.

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