Liston College retained their place in the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier competition with a comfortable 67-50 victory over Long Bay College at a packed St Dominic’s Gymnasium on Friday night.
It looked anything but comfortable in the opening quarter as George DeFelice scored seven early points for Long Bay. A couple of triples from rangy forward Keegan Hall gave the travelling Long Bay supporters plenty more to cheer as their team ended the first quarter 19-12 ahead.
From there it began to slide downhill for ‘The Boys from the Bays’. A three from Desmond Helu was followed by buckets from Troy Lee Baker and Sefa Prasad meant that the scores were tied two minutes into the second period and Long Bay Coach Justin Bailey needed a timeout.
The stoppage failed to halt Liston’s progress. Although DeFelice landed a much needed three-pointer for Long Bay, an 8-2 run from Liston swung momentum firmly in their favour – they led 31-25 at half-time.
James Hickey and Desmond Helu with transition baskets and Troy Lee Baker and Evangel Lo Tam with inside scores continued to stretch the Liston advantage. Luca Becker made a deep three for Long Bay but they had their backs to the wall at three-quarter time trailing 57-35.
Clifford scored six points for the visitors in the final stanza but Liston Head Coach Kaea Samson had the luxury of giving his bench players significant minutes in the closing stages with the victory secured.
The result means Long Bay remain in Senior A whilst Liston retain their Premier Division status in the Auckland Secondary Schools competition and will strive to improve on their seventh place finish in 2019.
The regular season for both leagues starts on Friday June 26.
Liston 67 – Baker 16, Lo Tam 14 Prasad 9, Hickey 8
Long Bay 50 – De Felice 12, Hall 10, Clifford 8, Becker 7