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.

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