The Auckland Secondary Schools Senior A Boy’s and Girl’s semi-finals were decided in contrasting styles at Eventfinda Stadium on Friday night.
While the two top seeds in the Girl’s semi-finals advanced serenely to the championship game it was a different story in the Boy’s semis where the underdogs advanced in both contests.
The most dramatic game involved North Harbour rivals Long Bay College and Northcote College. Regular season champions Northcote seemed to have done enough to claim the win when they led 79-77 with 3.7 seconds remaining. However a pair of missed free-throws gave Long Bay possession and as time expired Hayden Druce launched a half-court prayer.
To everyone’s astonishment the hopeful heave found the net – agony for Northcote and a joyous 80-79 victory for Long Bay.
The result not only brought to an end Northcote’s nine game winning streak but also ended their quest for a Premier League spot in 2020.
Northcote led 42-40 at half-time, 64-58 at the next break and the duration of the fourth quarter for all the way to the buzzer – well almost.
Northcote were paced by 25 points from Miggy Falqueza and 21 from Ethan Clark. Long Bay got important contributions from Sam Roberts and Ethan Clifford but none as significant as Druce’s game winner.
Northcote 79– M Falqueza 25, E Clark 21, O Hayward 13, R Miller-Tohu 8
Long Bay 80–S Roberts 16, H Druce 15, E Clifford 15, J Brading 8, J Jones-Harvey 7
St Peter’s College are eyeing a prompt return to Premier basketball after an 81-74 Senior A semi-final victory against Mt Roskill Grammar. The finish wasn’t as dramatic as the other semi but it was an equally terrific contest with St Peter’s only securing victory in the last couple of minutes.
St Peter’s led 22-20 after ten minutes, 45-38 at half-time and 64-58 at three-quarter time but could never get the lead out to a comfortable margin.Kennedy Matenga, Jaskaran Singh and Race Greig were immense for Roskill in the fourth quarter but the regular season runners-up couldn’t quite reel in their opponents.
Jack Donnelly and Luke Buckingham were in excellent scoring touch for St Peter’s – Donnelly coolness personified as he iced the game from the foul line in the closing seconds.
St Peter’s were relegated from the Premier League last season but a victory in Thursday’s final against Long Bay will catapult them straight back into the higher echelons of Auckland Schools Basketball.
Mt Roskill 74– J Singh 18, S Damu 15, K Matenga 11, J Sapoi 11, R Greig 10
St Peter’s 81– J Donnelly 24, L Buckingham 20, O Arlove 10, B Schuster 6
There was no such drama in the Girl’s semi-finals with Baradene College defeating Avondale College 74-48 and Epsom Grammar easing past St Kentigern College 102-66.
Florence Dallow, on her way to a game high 40 points, scored half of Epsom’s 26 first quarter points as they led by 18 at the break. The lead was 53-22 at half-time with Sarah-Joy Aruwa and Te Aroha Boxall-Hunt giving Dallow great support.
Masha Pavlenko was outstanding for St Kent’s in a losing cause scoring 31 points.
Epsom were beaten finalists in 2018 but will be hoping to go one better on Thursday.
Epsom 102– F Dallow 40, S Aruwa 26, T Kukuati-Wairau 18, L Boxall-Hunt 7, M Fowler 7
St Kent’s 60– M Pavlenko 31, S Tapling 9, E Halliday 8, M Chen 7
Despite eight first quarter points from Avondale standout Maclani Michael Baradene were 27-12 to the good at quarter time and almost out of site at half-time leading 45-21 with Denya Topia, Summer Faleafa and Lily Parke leading the way.
The second half was a far more even contest but the Baradene advantage was never threatened as they head to a grand-final showdown against Epsom.
Epsom lead the head-to-head 2-0, will it be third time lucky for Baradene?
Baradene 74– D Topia 22, S Faleafa 15, L Parke 14, R Tamilo 8, P Cavanagh-Briggs 8
Avondale 48– M Michael 17, M Whiu 14, T Raion 6
Both Senior A Finals and 3rd/4thgames will be held at Eventfinda Stadium on Thursday August 22 with tip-off’s at 4.30pm.