Category Archives: Age Group NZ Teams

Junior Tall Ferns push China all the way

JTF's huddle

The Aon Junior Tall Ferns pushed China all the way in their second game at the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Bengaluru, India on Monday before eventually going down 67-58.

New Zealand led for large parts of the first half and even when falling behind in the second were still able to keep the contest close. They trailed by just four points with eight minutes to play after the Wellington duo of Leah Mafua and Grace Hunter landed back-to-back threes (52-48).

China scored the next six points before Tayla Dalton scored via a put back and then knocked down three free throws after being fouled beyond the arc.

New Zealand were still applying pressure in the last five minutes and although Mafua and Charlisse Leger-Walker added to their tallies New Zealand could not quite get near enough to cause an upset.

Leger-Walker was outstanding with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 assists whilst Mafua also filled the stats line with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and a block. Charlotte Whittaker was a constant threat inside and finished with 12 points (6/11FG).

As against Japan on the opening day Whittaker and Leger-Walker combined to give New Zealand an early 5-0 lead. The Kiwis were having trouble with giant Chinese centre Yutong Liu but a score from Emme Shearer and a dozen points in the period from Leger-Walker took the Kiwis to a 16-13 quarter-time lead.

Whittaker opened the scoring in the second frame but a 10-2 run took China to a 23-20 lead. Mafua responded with an And-1 play and a penetrative drive and when Rochelle Fourie scored from a Leger-Walker assist the Kiwis were all square at 27 apiece.

Chine had the final say in the half, a ‘Hail Mary’ triple carrying them to a 30-27 lead at the break.

A Whittaker put back and a Leger-Walker three helped New Zealand to a 36-35 lead before China reeled off a 13-4 run to carry them to a 48-40 three-quarter time advantage.

The Kiwis pushed China all the way in the fourth to the delight of Head Coach Jody Cameron.

“I think Japan and China are surprised at what we have brought to the table, we are contenders not just making up numbers. I would like to play them again now we have had the experience of playing them. We are trying to establish that we are as good as the other teams here and better than some.

“We need to get better at rebounding and limit our turnovers. We are playing against teams that are playing week in week out. Our girls are probably playing a quarter of what some of the other teams are playing. Playing regular international basketball will help our development greatly.

“We are honoured to be part of the Asian Championship and its great for the development of our game in New Zealand,” added Cameron.

New Zealand will round out pool play against Malaysia (tip-off 01.15am Wednesday NZ time). Both teams are looking for its first win with China and Japan, both unbeaten, facing off to decide Pool B winners.



NZ 58 – C Leger-Walker 22/8r, C Whittaker 12/4r, L Mafua 10/4r, T Dalton 5, G Hunter 3, K Lewis 2, E Shearer 2, R Fourie 2


Box Score here

Pool A standings: Australia (2-0), Korea (2-0), Chinese Taipei (0-2) and Indonesia (0-2).

In the B Division Oceania representatives Samoa and Guam are both 0-2 after two rounds.

Leah mafua.jpg

Charlotte Whittaker scores 23 points but Junior Tall Ferns come up short against Japan


Despite 23 points from Canterbury forward Charlotte Whittaker and a double-double (14 points and 13 rebounds) from Waikato guard Charlisse Leger-Walker the Aon Junior Tall Ferns were defeated 77-62 by Japan in their opening game at the 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship campaign in Bengaluru, India early on Monday morning (NZT).

In a spirited display New Zealand only trailed by eight points with five minutes to play but couldn’t overcome their more composed opponents down the stretch.

Whittaker got the Kiwis on the board with an early basket courtesy of a Grace Hunter assist and Charlisse Leger-Walker followed that up with a triple.

However Japan, the silver medalists at the last U18 Asian Championships, were quick to respond forging a double figure advantage.

Despite Koha Lewis making her first basket in international colours Japan led 23-13 at the end of the opening quarter.

Hunter and Whittaker sored again early in the second and with Emme Shearer joining Lewis as a scorer on debut New Zealand were very much in the contest at the mid-point of the stanza trailing 30-23.

Despite a couple of scores from Leah Mafua Japan had the better of the back end of the half leading 41-29 at the interval.

Whatever was said in the locker room by coach Jody Cameron at half-time worked a treat as the Kiwis put together a strong display in the third period.

Nine points from Whittaker and contributions from Leah Mafua, Hunter, Lewis and Leger-Walker meant the JTF’s trailed 52-47 in the shadows of three-quarter time. A three from Tayla Dalton on the final play of the frame pulled the Kiwis to within two points (52-50) with ten minutes to play.

Japan opened the final quarter with a 10-2 run although when Leger-Walker connected with a jump shot the margin was still only eight points (62-54) with five minutes to play.

Missed scoring opportunities and turnovers (26 given up in the contest) proved costly for New Zealand in the closing minutes but the overall performance was certainly encouraging for Head Coach Jody Cameron.

“It was a great hit out against Japan although the turnover count really let us down. If we could have minimized those we would have been well in contention to have taken the win,’” said Cameron.

“The team were well led by Charlotte and Charlisse plus Koha and Emme played very well on debut, both giving us great energy off the bench,” she added.

New Zealand has a short turnaround lining up against defending champions China tonight – tip-off 8.45pm Monday.

NZ 62 – C Whittaker 23, C Leger-Walker 14/13r/4a, G Hunter 9, L Mafua 7/8r, K Lewis 4, T Dalton 3, E Shearer 2, E Bradley 6r


Charlotte Whittaker

JTF’s tip-off Asian Championship campaign


The Aon Junior Tall Ferns open their 2018 FIBA U18 Asian Championship campaign in Bengaluru, India early on Monday morning.

Having had just a couple of days to acclimatize and get over fatigue from a long flight New Zealand face 2016 Asia Championship silver medalists the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on October 28th (tip-off 01.15am Monday NZ time).

New Zealand, drawn in Pool B face defending champions China (tip-off 20.45pm Monday) and round out pool play against Malaysia (tip-off 01.15am Wednesday NZ time).

Pool A is made up of Australia, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia.

The top four teams will represent Asia at the 2019 FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup therefore securing a place in the semi-finals earns a trip to Bangkok, Thailand next July.

Four players return to international duty having last played for New Zealand at the 2017 FIBA U17 Oceania Championship in Guam. Grace Hunter, Leah Mafua (both Wellington), Olivia O’Neill (Otago) and Charlotte Whittaker (Canterbury) all played key roles as the Kiwi’s secured silver medals at that championship.

Harbour guard Emme Shearer earns a call-up after some outstanding performances for the New Zealand U16 team last year.

Coach Cameron hands debuts to Rochelle Fourie, Koha Lewis and Sofia Kennedy.

Lewis has been a consistent performer in Waikato age-group teams in recent seasons and Fourie was outstanding at the Schick Secondary Schools National Championships recently earning Tournament MVP recognition as Manukura claimed the Girls ‘A’ title.

Kennedy is set to become, like Shearer a dual international, the Canterbury guard having represented New Zealand at the World Schools Cross Country Championships in Paris in April. Shearer played volleyball for New Zealand earlier in the year.

2018 Aon Junior Tall Ferns

Ella Bradley (Waikato Basketball Council/Waikato Wizards)

Tayla Dalton (North Harbour Basketball/Harbour Breeze)

Rochelle Fourie (Manawatu Basketball)

Grace Hunter (Wellington Basketball)

Sofia Kennedy (Canterbury Basketball)

Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Council/Waikato Wizards)

Koha Lewis (Waikato Basketball Council/Waikato Wizards)

Leah Mafua (Wellington Basketball)

Olivia O’Neill (Basketball Otago/Otago Gold Rush)

Emilia Shearer (North Harbour Basketball)

Tessa Talo-Tomokino (North Harbour Basketball/Harbour Breeze)

Charlotte Whittaker (Canterbury Basketball/North Canterbury Spirit)

Former Olympians plotting Junior Tall Ferns course

NZ U17's

The New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns fly out of Auckland on Thursday bound for the Asian Championship in India. The team will be guided by former Olympians Jody Cameron and Leanne Walker (plus Tim Dennis) as they aim to qualify for the 2019 FIB U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The top four teams from next week’s tournament will progress to the World Cup.

The Junior Tall Ferns open their campaign against Japan at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangaluru on October 28th (tip-off 01.15am October 29 NZ time).

New Zealand will be led by Leanne’s daughter Charlisse Leger-Walker playing at her third major tournament in 2018.

The team has three international debutants but also boasts a number of players with international tournament experience including Charlotte Whittaker, Tayla Dalton, Grace Hunter and Ella Bradley.

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Junior Tall Blacks headed to Greece



The FIBA Executive Committee yesterday confirmed the host country for the FIBA Men’s U19 Basketball World Cup in 2019 will be Greece.

The New Zealand Men booked their ticket for the prestigious event last month when they finished runners-up to Australia at the Asian Championship in Thailand.

New Zealand’s success was built around the core of Max Darling, James Moors, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Oscar Oswald and Flynn Cameron and no doubt the availability of that quintet and others like Max de Geest, Sam Mannenga and Tom Higgins will be key to a successful campaign next year.

The World Cup will take place in Heraklion, on the Greek island of Crete, from June 29-July 7 of next year – I can think of worse places to visit!

The FIBA Women’s World Cup will be held from 20-28 July, in the Thai capital of Bangkok.

The New Zealand team, announced this week, needs to finish in the top four at the Asian Championship being played in India next month

That team is:

New Zealand win silver at U18 Asian Champs

U18 podium

New Zealand produced a highly commendable effort in the Final of the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Thailand on Saturday before going down 72-63 against Australia.

When you think only on Tuesday they were beaten 111-62 by the same team in Pool play the improvement was marked.

Max Darling top scored for New Zealand with twenty points with Kruz Perrott-Hunt and Flynn Cameron scoring 16 points apiece.

Darling averaged 13 points per game and along with James Moors (14.0ppg) and Perrott-Hunt (13.7ppg) all three featured in the top twenty scorers.

Moors top the rebounding count with 7.9 boards per game.

Cameron had a strong tournament finishing second on the assists list (5.6pg) and fifth in the steals column with 2.4 per outing.

In the shooting stats Max de Geest was the leading three-point exponent (10 from 26 at 39%), Moors was the most efficient from the free throw line (22 from 31 at 71%) and Darling the best from the field (36 from 58 at 62%).

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NZ advance to quarter-finals at FIBA U18 Asia Championship


New Zealand made it through the Round of Sixteen at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Thailand on Wednesday beating India 109-76.

It took the Kiwis a while to get going as they only led by ten at half-time (52-42) but a 32-16 third quarter did the trick.

Oscar Oswald (17 points) was the main source of points for New Zealand in the early stages half with James Moors (20 points) finding his scoring touch in the second.

Matt O’Connell (15 points) put some icing on the win in the closing stages.

New Zealand will now face Iran in the critical quarter-final tie on Thursday. The winner obviously advances to the semi-finals but more importantly secures a place at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup next year.

The major concern for the Kiwis was a knee injury suffered by Max Darling who was sidelined in the first half and remained on ice in the second.

New Zealand Scorers:

James Moors 20/8r, Oscar Oswald 17/8r, Matt O’Connell 15, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 14/8r/6a, Max Darling 12/9r, Tom Higgins 11, Isaac Faamausili 6, Max De Geest 5, Flynn Cameron 4, Sam Mennenga 3/8r, Max Stephens 2

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New Zealand beat Thailand at U18 Asian Championship

U 18huddle

New Zealand made it two wins out of two at the FIBA U18 Asian Championship in Thailand on Monday beating the host nation 89-47 with Harbour forward Sam Mennenga scoring 18 points (6/10FG).

There were also double figure contributions from Tom Higgins, Flynn Cameron and James Moors.

It took the Kiwis a while to get going as they only led 28-20 at the mid point of the second quarter before increasing the advantage to 40-23 at half-time.

The third period was a different story with Thailand outscored 35-10.

The two teams split a sloppy fourth quarter 14 points apiece, a finish that will concern the New Zealand coaching staff ahead of a sterner test tomorrow when they lineup against Australia.

Also of a slight concern is the Kiwi shooting from the free-throw line – just 11 from 25 at 44% in this one.

NZ Scorers:

Sam Mennenga 18/8r, Tom Higgins 11, Flynn Cameron 10/11r/4a, James Moors 10/7r, Max De Geest 9, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 9/12r/3st, Max Darling 9/6r, Isaac Faamausili 7, Oscar Oswald 3, Max Stephens 2, Nathan Hanna 1

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New Zealand beat Bahrain in Asian Championship opener


New Zealand got their FIBA U18 Asian Championship campaign underway with a first up victory against Bahrain in Thailand on Sunday.

Building on their 94-45 success against Kazakhstan in a warm up game a couple of days earlier the Kiwis proved too strong for their Croup C opponents winning 94-62.

All 12 New Zealand players featured on the scoring list with Canterbury guard Max de Geest leading the effort with 19 points (4/7 3PG).

New Zealand Scorers:

Max De Geest 19, James Moors 14, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 10, Nathan Hanna 10, Max Darling 9/11r, Isaac Faamausili 7, Sam Mennenga 6, Flynn Cameron 6, Matt O’Connell 4, Oscar Oswald 4, Max Stephens 3, Tom Higgins 2/7r

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Tall Ferns win but U17’s lose in overtime

TF's Huddle.jpg

Oh the agony of giving up a handy fourth quarter lead only to be run down and lose in overtime. That’s what happened to New Zealand at the U17 World Cup in Belarus.

Read how it happened

The Tall Ferns made life hard for themselves in the first half against Chinese Taipei B at the William Jones Cup. However they dominated the second half and now play Japan – the winners will take home the trophy.

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