Monthly Archives: May 2019

Women’s Basketball Championship tips-off Friday.


The Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) is set to tip off tomorrow, with the 13 teams from two divisions releasing their rosters this week.

A Division One game will be livestreamed on each of the three days. The opening game of the season in Division 1 sees Harbour Breeze take on Waikato Wizards at 4.00pm at Cowles Stadium.

Peppered with Tall Ferns, NZ Select and elite age-group players, the 2019 Division 1 season is promising to be the best yet. Early indications suggest the Am I Fit Otago Goldrush will have a tough time retaining their title if they are to overcome the talented line-ups from the Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats, Auckland Dream, Harbour Breeze, Taranaki Thunder and the Waikato Wizards.

In Division 2 , the championship is wide open and until the opening tournament tips off tomorrow afternoon at Cowles Stadium in Christchurch, the favourites are hard to pick.

A number of current and former Tall Ferns will take the floor this weekend. The Auckland Dream have an all-star line-up including Tall Ferns Captain Natalie Taylor and her three sister Kalani Purcell, Charmain Mellars, and Hailey Moala. Experience Tall Ferns guard and Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Jordan Hunter will be there too. Tall Ferns Assistant Coach, Aik Ho, takes the lead coaching role with Tania Hunter (Jordan’s Mum) as assistant.

The Wildcats will be strong contenders with the ever-competitive guard in Shea Crotty. She’ll be linking with Tall Fern Tessa Boagni and the exciting Russian talent that is Marita Davydova. The Cantabrians also bring a swathe of current or former New Zealand age-group reps.

The Am I Fit Goldrush bring a strong list of returning players that helped take the 2018 title. Veteran Natalie Smith will captain the team with Tall Fern Nicole Ruske will undoubtedly lead from the guard position.

The Harbour Breeze will see Tall Ferns Deena Franklin, None Martin, Tera Reed and Penina Davidson working alongside talented up and comers like Tayla Dalton and returning US College players like Ella Fotu and Matangiroa Flavell. Word from the team is that it’s unlikely Penina Davidson will be able to take the court as she recovers from the ankle injury she suffered at the FIBA 3X3 World Cup Qualifiers in Puerto Rico earlier this week.

The Waikato Wizards are always a fierce rival for any WBC team. They bring Tall Ferns Charlisse and Krystal Leger-Walker, Alyssa Hirawani, plus young talents Ella Bradley and Jayzelee Waihi. Natasha Lenden will captain the side and Tall Fern great Leanne Walker as coach.

The Taranaki Thunder will be the listed underdog this year, but with the likes of talented youngsters Isabelle Cook, Rachelle Fourie and captain Simone Cook, they have the flair to create upsets along the way.

Division 2 will be too close to call, with seven teams looking to build their programmes, particularly feeder teams into the Division One sides including Harbour Zephyr, South Canterbury Stealers, and defending champs McAlpines M10 MEGA North Canterbury Spirit. The opening game in Division 2 sees Wellington take on Rotorua at 2.15pm, Friday – Waikato Country are a late withdrawl from Division 2


The rosters for this weekend’s tournament can be found here:



Three games will be livestreamed on and on the @BasketballNZ facebook page:

  • Friday, 10th May – 7:45pm Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats V Taranaki Thunder
  • Saturday, 11th May – 7:45pm Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats V Harbour Breeze
  • Sunday, 12th May – 4pm Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats V Auckland Dream


Division One teams:

  • Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
  • AM I FIT Otago Gold Rush
  • Auckland Dream
  • Harbour Breeze
  • Taranaki Thunder
  • Waikato Wizards


Division Two teams:

  • Capital Swish
  • Harbour Zephyr
  • North Canterbury
  • Northland Phoenix
  • Rotorua Lady Geysers
  • South Canterbury Stealers
  • Wellington

Wrap on opening round of Girl’s Premier Grade


Carmel 2019

The opening round of the Premier Boys competition saw the four games decided by the average differential of 33 points. The Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Girls opening round was even more lopsided with the differential in three of the games in excess of 50 points.

The exception was the Rangitoto College versus St Mary’s College clash in the Bays which was won by the visitors 80-68 despite Rangi leading 21-8 after the first ten minutes.

Hannah Wentworth knocked down a couple of threes for Rangi in the second quarter but it was a period that belonged to St Mary’s as they rattled up 32 points. Alex Moore, Kat Leslie, Riana Matiseni and Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu all made significant contributions as St Mary’s took a 40-34 advantage into the half-time break.

The third quarter was far more even as Rangi attempted to dent the deficit via scores from Aroha Rogers and Ella Moore. They could only claw back two points as Leata Te Nana-Williams kept St Mary’s ahead 55-51 with ten minutes to play.

Moore, Wentworth and Rogers made triples for the hosts in the closing stages but Leslie, Daneka Manase and Kailahi-Fulu ensured it would be a successful away trip for St Mary’s.

Rangitoto College 68– Wentworth 26, A Rogers 19, Moore 10, W Rogers 8

St Mary’s College 80– Leslie 19, Kailahi-Fulu 14, Matiseni 14, Te Nana-Williams 12


Mt Albert Grammar kept paced with Massey High in the early stages and trailed by five (17-12) at the first break.

However it was all Massey in the second quarter as Shauna Povey and Alyesha Schuster took charge of proceedings to help forge a 41-18 half-time lead.

Yzabelle Tevao and Ramona Fuaivaa continued the good work in the second half as Massey ran away with the game winning 91-35. Rikki Burgess was the best for Mt Albert scoring almost half of her team’s points.

Massey High 91– Povey 30, Fuaivaa 11, Tevao 10, Shazalea Henry 10, Schuster 8

MAGS 35– Burgess 16, Monica Kelly 4, Tiger-Lily Cocker-Lemalie 4


It was one-way traffic on the Rosmini College court as Carmel College swept Auckland Girls Grammar aside winning 94-30.

The writing was on the wall for the visitors in the first quarter as Carmel raced out to a 29-8 lead. The scoring slowed in the second but it was still 50-13 in favour of the hosts at half-time and the result never in doubt thereafter.

Imogene Noble (15pts) and Sera Taei battled away gamely for AGGS but they could do little to deny Carmel who enjoyed scoring contributions across the board but most noticeably from Emily Broomfield and Tall Ferns trialist Tayla Dalton.

Carmel 94– Dalton 37, Broomfield 18, Quaizden Stephano 9, Estelle Davidson 8

AGGS 30– Noble 15, Sera Taei 9


The most one sided game of the round took place at Westlake where the hosts overwhelmed Botany Downs 136-14.

It was a baptism of fire for Botany playing Premier basketball for the first time and it is to be hoped they can quickly make the necessary adjustments to be competitive at this level.

For the record eight Westlake players scored in double figures.

Westlake Girls High 136– Rosalie Dil 31, Emma Pugh 19, Piper Manolas 18, Jess Moors 14, Emme Shearer 14

Botany Downs College 14– Sophia Herewini 5, Tiana Herewini 4

Decisive victories highlight opening round of Boys Premier games


The opening round of the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Boys competition saw four decisive results with the narrowest margin of victory 24 points and the average differential a whopping 33 points.

The 24 points win belonged to St Kentigern College who defeated Mt Albert Grammar 76-52, although that result looked unlikely early on with MAGS establishing a 20-15 opening quarter lead – ten points from Sataan Tawera in the initial gambit.

St Kent’s bounced back in the second to lead 39-31 at the main break.

Kazlo Evans scored ten points either side of half-time but a combined dozen points from Morgan Aiono and Tawera, who finished with a game high 25 points (3/6 3PG), meant MAGS were still in the game at the three-quarter mark trailing 53-47.

However St Kent’s, led by Evans, put the defensive clamps on in the fourth restricting MAGS to just five points.

Levic Kerr and Alex McNaught sealed the win at the offensive end as the pair, along with Shalom Broughton, registered double digit contributions.

St Kentigern 76– Evans 17, Kerr 14, McNaught 12, Shalom Broughton 12

MAGS 52– Tawera 25, Aiona 11, Nate Wilson 4p/10r


The opening quarter of the Rangitoto College versus Liston College encounter up in the Bays was a tight affair with Rangi shading it 18-16 despite Sefa Prasad landing a couple of long threes for Liston.

Quarter two was a disaster for the visitors outscored 29-5 as Zach Riley, Harry Payne and Phoenix Leapolu made a trio of baskets apiece to propel the hosts to a 47-21 half-time lead.

Desmond Helu and Kiani Saxon led a mini Liston revival in the third but any chance of sustained resistance was snuffed out in the final quarter as the hosts scored another 27 points with Payne taking his personal tally to 20 points. Tautoko Wynyard, younger brother of Southland Sharks forward Tai Wynyard, scored twelve points on his premier debut for Rangi who ran out 94-58 winners.

Rangitoto 94– Payne 20, Leapolu 12, Riley 12, Wynyard 12

Liston College 58– Prasad 17, Desmond Helu 11, Shawn Hickey 10, Saxon 10


The Westlake Boys quartet of Dylan Wilkie, Jett Thompson, Josh Kooiman and Sam Mennnenga combined to make six triples in the opening quarter as the home team built a 28-20 early advantage against Macleans College.

Harry Smith and Michael Babaran counter-punched for Macleans producing 32 points in the half as the visitors hung on to trail 51-39 at the interval.

More threes from Wilkie and Thompson extended the Lake advantage to a decisive 70-39 at the third break.

Mennenga, just back from a tour of China with the Junior Tall Blacks, put an exclamation mark on the 99-69 Westlake win with 15 fourth quarter points.

 Westlake Boys 99– Mennenga 32, Thompson 13, Wilkie 12, Kooiman 12

Macleans College 69– Smith 31, Babaran 20, Tyson Kempton 6


Rosmini College opened its defence of the premier title with a resounding 87-44 victory against Auckland Grammar in a packed Tom Gerrand Gymnasium.

The young Grammar team, with Caleb Landon providing offensive rebounding energy and Jaga Mete and Connor Naan looking threatening in the back court, made a sound start going toe for toe with the hosts in the early minutes.

Rosmini upped the defensive tempo in the second and with Taine Murray landing four of five attempts from beyond the arc dominated the period (20-7) to lead 46-23 at half-time. Murray’s offensive salvo complimented the defensive work of his teammates led by the efforts of Sean Murphy and Reihana Maxwell-Topia.

Grammar were again kept to single figures in the third as Rosmini continued the three-point barrage – Murray made another two, Thomas Morgan one and Reimar Cruz two including the last of the quarter that hit the bottom of the net as the three-quarter siren sounded.

Daniel Boyd and Cody Brown scored some consolation points for Grammar at the death but a late Tyler Martin triple capped a dominant performance by the hosts.

Rosmini 87– Murray 30, Maxwell-Topia 10, Murphy 10

AGS 44– Mete 11, Naan 6, Lain Haku 6

Jillian Harmon playing in Italian League Grand final series


Jillian Harmon posted 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals but her club Passalacqua Ragusa fell 69-64 to Familia Schio in the first game of the Italian League Grand Final series.

The Tall Ferns forward has been a standout for Ragusa averaging 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals across 28 games – second on the team in all three categories.

Ragusa finished third on the Serie A ladder with a 16-4 record headed in the play-offs.

In the quarter-finals they beat one of her former clubs Lucca in two straight games. The semi-final series was an epic affair – Ragusa dropped the first two games against Venezia before storming back to claim three straight wins including an 82-76 win in the decisive game five of the series.

Ragusa and Schio play game two on Saturday morning (NZT).

Tall Ferns quartet heading to 3×3 in Puerto Rico

Team 2

The New Zealand women’s 3×3 team depart tonight for the FIBA 3×3 World Cup Qualifier tournament, being held in San Juan in Puerto Rico on 4 and 5 May.

The team roster is Tall Ferns Micaela Cocks, Penina Davidson, Chevannah Paalvast and Kalani Purcell. All but Davidson were members of the team that won the 2018 FIBA Asia Cup last year. The Harbour Breeze centre replaces the unavailable Toni Farnworth.

Davidson and Purcell (Auckland Dream) will return next week for the first round of Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) games in Christchuch whilst Cocks and Paalvast are taking a short break from club committments in Australia.

In Puerto Rico New Zealand is in Pool B along with tough opponents: Brazil, Spain and Mali.

The top three teams from this tournament will secure their ticket to the FIBA 3×3 World Cup, which will be held in Amsterdam in June this year.

Head Coach Anthony Corban says this team brings great experience from the Asia Cup and Tall Ferns campaigns, and will fight for this as they have done in the past.

“Any time these players wear that silver fern it’s important. I have just spent the past day with Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy and understanding his belief and values in that Tall Ferns singlet. Any opportunity these outstanding young women get to perform on the world stage is one that no one takes for granted. I know we will do our best, particularly with a shot at the World Cup and beyond that Olympic qualifying berth in 2020.

“We need to advance with small steps. We just have to make the top three in our pool to secure a playoff game for a semi-final spot.  We need to improve, game by game,” says Corban.

This team has faced tough challenges off the court. Despite their gold medal win at the Asia Cup last year, their application for High Performance funding was denied. The FIBA 3×3 ranking system also plays against this talented side. Even though the New Zealand team won the Asia Cup, other teams from that same tournament that finished below have automatically qualified for the World Cup. Those include China (finished second at Asia Cup), Japan (finished fourth at Asia Cup), Indonesia (finished seventh at Asia Cup) Turkmenistan (finished 10th at Asia Cup), Iran (finished 11th at Asia Cup).

The top three teams at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will be guaranteed a spot in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament in May 2020.

3×3 Schedule

May 4-5 FIBA 3×3 World Cup Qualifier San Juan, Puerto Rico
May 24-26 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup Changsha, China
June 18-23 FIBA 3×3 World Cup Amsterdam, Netherlands

The 3×3 Tall Ferns fly tonight from Auckland. They stay overnight in Chicago and then travel on to arrive in Puerto Rico 48 hours before their first game.

More info: