Monthly Archives: April 2023

Sacred Heart and St Peter’s secure Prems berths

April 6

The Auckland Secondary Schools Boys Premier Grade Play-off games were completed this week with the results determined in contrasting styles.

St Peter’s earned promotion in a narrow tense encounter while Sacred Heart College were runaway winners as they protected home court and the much coveted spot in the top grade.

In a tense intriguing contest St Peter’s College won a nail-biter in the Auckland Schools Premier Grade Play-off Game defeating Liston College 65-61.

St Peter’s, the 2022 Senior A champions, made a terrific start taking the first quarter 23-14 with Gus Dallow, Bailey Smith and Montana Ekeroma each knocking down triples.

Any suggestion that the first quarter was a sign of things to come were quickly dispelled by the hosts as they made it a three-point game at the half (37-34). A late triple from Zyhmon Moreno and 5 points from Rasheed Ieremia brought Liston back into the game.

The third quarter mirrored the second with Liston having the better of the exchanges – a brace of scores from Marvellous Michael, Dhon Lao and Ieremia helped Liston forge a 53-50 three-quarter time lead.

Both sides struggled to make baskets in the fourth as the tension ramped up, in fact there was only a combined eight field baskets made in the period.

Jeydin Ale made a couple of those for Liston but it was the combination of Dallow (nine final quarter points), Bryan Masters and Mario Nola that got St Peter’s over the line.

Dallow, a 2022 New Zealand U15 international, finished with a game high 17 points while Masters and Nola each made critical threes as Saint Peter’s edged the final period 15-8 to clinch the win and promotion.

St Peter’s 65 – Dallow 17, Ekeroma 13, Smith 9, Manio 6, Masters 5

Liston 61 – Ieremia 12, Ale 11, Moreno 6, Michael 6, Juan 6, Lao 5

In the second play-off game Sacred Heart College overpowered Avondale College to win 120-66 but in the early stages that margin of victory appeared highly unlikely.

In fact it was Avondale that made the early running with Deuel Lelaulu, Jaycob Holmes and, in particular, Liam Takenaka-Wesley causing the hosts defence a few problems. 

Avondale led 25-18 at quarter time and when Takenaka-Wesley scored immediately after the break Avondale had put together a 9-0 run.

Nate Muller kept Avondale in the ascendancy but the tide began to turn in favour of Sacred Heart after back-to-back scores from Tyrell Cocker.

Matt Schuler reduced the deficit further before Jerome Jakeman levelled the tie at 34 points apiece with a basket in transition.

Takenaka-Wesley kept Avondale in the hunt with a pair of threes but after a couple of transition dunks from Cocker (he had 14 points in the second period) and a triple from Jamie Vile it was Heart that were pumping at the half-time break – ahead 56-41.

Lelaulu scored on the resumption but soon after centre James Tipelu picked up his fifth foul. The Avondale centre’s absence was sorely missed as Heart ran in 28 points in the third – Preston Tuaputa, Josh Tengblad and Matt Fautuaalii-Taia the beneficiaries of some sloppy Avondale defence.

With the three-quarter time score 84-51 in Heart’s favour, and the result determined, both teams were able to give extended minutes to their bench players.

In the closing stages the large contingent of home supporters were treated to some fine shooting from Vile and Snowdon while Muller and Raymond Korboe showcased their range from deep for the visitors.

Avondale remain in Senior A for the 2023 season while Sacred Heart will be keen to build on their Prems experience from last season which culminated in a prized first ever appearance at the 2022 Secondary Schools National Championship.

Sacred Heart 120 – Cocker 23, Fautuaalii-Taia 18, Tuaputu 17, Snowdon 14, Jakeman 13, Vile 13, Tengblad 9

Avondale 66 – Takenaka-Wesley 21, Muller 16, Lelaulu 16, Holmes 8

The bottom two Senior A teams in 2022 have both been relegated and replaced by the top two teams from Open Grade.

Selwyn College defeated Aorere College 86-79 while Kelston Boys High School return to Senior A after beating Macleans College 69-56.

Northcote College win promotion to Premier Grade

Northcote College, after a long hiatus, are back in the Auckland Schools Girls Premier Grade after a commanding 78-48 win against Rangitoto College in the promotion/relegation play-off game on Tuesday.

Games are not won and lost in the opening quarter but Northcote certainly opened the contest with a statement of intent.

Nikki Gear nailed a corner three on the first possession to initiate a 10-0 opening salvo prompting Rangitoto coach Justine Reed to call a timeout.

Zaara Sain’s scooped layup got Rangi on the board but the first quarter belonged to the visitors who led 24-10 after ten minutes.

The large crowd were treated to an exciting second quarter as fortunes ebbed and flowed.

Ester Roberts knocked down a triple and with Maddison Skelton and Mela Andrews making shots the Northcote lead was shaved to 29-21.

Northcote would regain the initiative via Lily Morgan and DJ Hannah only for Roberts and Eva Veale to counter – Northcote ahead 40-28 after a fast paced first half.

The second half couldn’t have started worse for Rangi as Gear stole the restart inbounds pass before converting an uncontested layup while Lizzie May dropped her fourth triple (of five) to stretch the lead to 45-28.

Skelton got the scoreboard moving again for the hosts but it would be a quarter dominated by Northcote, and DJ Hannah in particular. 

The livewire guard was responsible for a couple of steals and 8 points as the Northcote lead stretched to an unassailable 62-34 by the three-quarter mark.

With the result not in doubt both teams gave opportunities to their bench players in the closing minutes – Lisa Gear and Grace Giles taking the opportunity to impress.

After a long absence Northcote – the national champions back in 2006 – will return to the top tier of schools basketball in Auckland for the 2023 season. Rangi will set about their rebuilding in Senior A.

Northcote 78 – Hannah 24, May 15, Morgan 14, N Gear 13, L Gear 6

Rangitoto 38 – Roberts 17, Skelton 9, Andrews 9, Giles 3

Takapuna Grammar headed to Prems

April 4

Takapuna Grammar School, on the back of 40 points from Bailey Flavell, won 71-64 at Carmel College in the play-off for a Premier Grade spot for the 2023 season.

Takapuna, the Senior A champions last season, appeared to be cruising to victory midway through the third period when the led by 17 points, 46-29. However Carmel weren’t going down without a fight and roared back into the contest with a 16-4 run to trail by just 5 points at the three-quarter mark (50-45).

With Ruby Railton dominant in the low post and guards Imogen O’Rourke and Hannah Bellett forcing turnovers Carmel made it a single point game at 57-56 with a shade under five minutes to play to set up a tense finish.

Amy McKenzie eased the Taka nerves with a nice finish and soon after Flavell nailed a corner three to give her team some much needed breathing space.

Railton replied with another inside bucket but Flavell scored six straight to take the Taka lead out to double digits with two minutes to play (69-59).

Mackereth cancelled out another Railton score and although Carmel scored the last four points of the game Takapuna had done enough to secure the win.

Earlier in an understandably nervy start it was Carmel, with Zahara Tibbotts to the fore, that made the better start scoring the first six points of the game.

It took Taka over six minutes to score their first field goal, courtesy of Mackereth and her free throw tied the scores at 13 all at quarter time.

The early stages of the second period were tight before Taka put together a 15-8 run to go into the half-time break with a 35-23 advantage.

Flavell and Mackenzie further increased the lead in the early stages of the third before Carmel embarked on their stirring comeback.

Unfortunately for the hosts it wasn’t quite enough and it’s Takapuna that will play Premier basketball next term with Carmel slotting into Senior A.  

Takapuna 71 – Flavell 40, McKenzie 11, Mackereth 10

Carmel 64 – Railton 23, Bellett 14, O’Rourke 11, Tibbotts 7