Category Archives: Kiwi’s Abroad

Stockill and Kereama go back-to-back


Defending champions Sunbury Jets, featuring Tall Fern Josie Stockill and coached by former New Zealand national coach Kennedy Kereama looked certain to cruise to the 2018 Big V State Championship after dismantling Southern Peninsula Sharks 85-50 in game one of the best of three series last weekend.

However, as Kereama predicted, the Sharks provided a lot more bite in the second encounter on Sunbury’s home court on Saturday – the Jets taken to the wire before eventually prevailing 72-69 to claim the title.

New Zealand forward Josie Stockill was once again to the fore adding 7 rebounds and a pair of blocks to a more than useful 14 points (6/8FG).

Remarkably it is Sunbury’s third consecutive title after they claimed the Division One title in 2016 to earn promotion to the top flight. Back-to-back Big V State Championship crowns have now been won to cap a sensational three years for Kereama and the Sunbury club.

Kereama has been at the helm for all three campaigns whilst Stockill has been a starter for the last two seasons during Sunbury’s domination of Big V Women’s basketball. Another Kiwi Rebecca van Kuyk has also featured in a back up forward role alongside Stockill for the past two seasons.


Kereama and Stockill one win away from defending Big V Championship title.

Defending champions Sunbury Jets, featuring Tall Fern Josie Stockill and coached by former New Zealand national coach Kennedy Kereama, are one win away from claiming the Big V State Championship title after dismantling Southern Peninsula Sharks 85-50 on Saturday.

What makes the win even more impressive is the fact that the Sharks had home advantage therefore Sunbury will have games two and three (unlikely to be needed) on their home court next weekend to wrap up the best of three grand final series.

Stockill, in her second season with the Jets, scored 10 points and claimed 7 rebounds in the win.

Sunbury are in search of their third consecutive title after claiming the Division One title in 2016 and the State Championship crown in 2017.

Kereama has been at the helm for all three campaigns and was naturally delighted by his team’s performance.

“Obviously for us it was a great team game of basketball and was good to see us string our best basketball together when it mattered. I’m proud of how the team played and thought the contribution made by all players was valuable. We will go into next week full of confidence and hope to close the series in two games.”


It wasn’t such good news for fellow Tall Ferns Stella Beck and Micaela Cocks.

The two put together good individual numbers but Townsville Flames were beaten two games to nil in the best of three Queensland Basketball League Grand Final Series by defending champions Southern District Spartans.

Southern District Spartans won the opening game on Friday 76-63 and wrapped up proceedings with a 90-78 win on Saturday.

Beck threatened a triple-double on Saturday registering 16 points (6/12FG), 9 rebounds, 7 assists and added 2 steals for good measure. Cocks scored a team high 19 points (7/14FG) but it wasn’t enough for the Flames.

Stella Beck and Micaela Cocks hunting for QBL title

Tall Ferns Stella Beck and Micaela Cocks are headed to the Queensland Basketball League Grand Final Series after the Townsville Flames blew away the Rockhampton Cyclones 111-63 in their semi-final encounter.

With the regular season championship tucked away and home court advantage in their favour the Flames were the favourites to beat the Cyclones, featuring Brooke Blair in their lineup, but the margin of victory was certainly a surprise.

The Flames burnt the Cyclones 36-11 in the second quarter and with a 58-32 half-time lead had virtually sealed their visit to the best-of-three final with twenty minutes to play.

Beck claimed a double-double of 21 points (9/14FG) and 10 rebounds and added 5 assists and a steal for good measure. Cocks also came close to a double-double with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Brooke Blair scored 11 points for the Cyclones but was cold from deep making just one from seven three-pointers.

The Grand Final series will be played this coming weekend with the Flames taking on defending champions Southern District Spartans in their bid for a second QBL title. Game one will be played in Townsville on Friday.

Defending champions Sunbury Jets, featuring Tall Fern Josie Stockill and coached by former national coach Coach Kennedy Kereama take on the Southern Peninsula Sharks in the Big V championship series beginning on Saturday.

The Sharks will have home advantage for game one on Saturday with the Jets claiming hosting rights for games two and three (if needed) the following weekend.

Tall Ferns in title chasing form in Australia

Stella Beck

Stella Beck in action for the Tall Ferns recently

It’s the business end of the season in the Australian State Basketball Leagues and Kiwi interest remains high in the Queensland Basketball League (QBL) and Big V League.

There is certain to be New Zealand representation in the QBL Final with Tall Ferns set to oppose each other in the upcoming semi-final.

Regular season champions Townsville Flames feature Stella Beck and Micaela Cocks with semi-final opponents Rockhampton Cyclones boasting Brooke Blair in their lineup.

Beck scored 12 points (5/7FG) and added 7 rebounds as the Flames doused North Gold Coast Seahawks 87-64 in the quarter-final. Cocks was a little subdued by her lofty standards scoring just five points to accompany 6 rebounds.

In another quarter-final Blair dropped 18 points (5/9 3PG) as the Cyclones blew past South West Metro Pirates 93-81.

The Purcell sisters combined for 52 points for the Pirates but it wasn’t enough to calm the Cyclones. Kalani Purcell came within a dime of a triple double (31 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists) while Natalie Taylor scored 12 points and Charmian Mellars contributed 9 points and 8 rebounds.

The Sunbury Jets, aided by 16 points (4/6FG, 7/7FT) from Tall Ferns forward Jess Bygate are through to their third consecutive Big V Grand Final series.

The defending champions, coached by former Tall Ferns Head Coach Kennedy Kereama, beat Knox Raiders 63-59 in the semi-final.

2016 Tall Fern guard Rebecca Ott scored a game high 31 points for Knox.

There is not such good news with regard to Tall Ferns playing in other leagues.

In Perth Toni Farnworth, playing for the defending champions Perry Lakes Hawks, has fallen out of contention in the State Basketball League play-offs in the quarter-finals.

In Adelaide Jordan Hunter, playing for Sturt Sabres, has been eliminated at the semi-final stage of the South Australia Premier League.

Back in Melbourne Chevannah Paalvast (Diamond Valley) and Jess Bygate (Sandringham Sabres) were knocked out in the early stages of SEABL play-off action.

Chev Paalvast scores 35 points – Kiwis in Australia wrap



Unsure if it’s a career best but Tall Ferns guard Chevannah Paalvast scored a monster 35 points (14/24FG) at the weekend as Diamond Valley beat Ballarat Miners 99-62 in South East Basketball League (SEABL) action.

The Commonwealth Games bronze medalist added 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals in a complete all round performance – Diamond Valley to meet Geelong Supercats in the first round of SEABL play-off action on Saturday.

Also in Melbourne Sunbury Jets (12-5) solidified third spot on the Big V ladder with an 83-56 victory over Bulleen Boomers.

Josie Stockill scored 11 points for the Jets and former Tall Ferns trialist Bex Van Kuyk posted 10 points and 5 rebounds.

Queensland Basketball League leaders Townsville Flames (14-2) had a win and a loss on their road trip at the weekend.

They slipped up at Rockhampton Cyclones going down 86-71 having the day before beaten Gladstone Port City Power 91-84 with Micaela Cocks (20 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists) threatening a triple double.

Kiwi forward Ash Kelman-Poto made a double double-double (not that there is officialy such a thing!) She scored 20 points and snared 23 rebounds in an outstanding performance for Gladstone.

Over in Perth Toni Farnworth scored 12 points for Perry Lakes Hawks as the SBL defending champions went down 62-50 against Willetton Tigers.

Meanwhile the Tall Ferns are in Taiwan ahead of the William Jones Cup that tips-off on Wednesday. New Zealand takes on India in the tournament opener.

A chat with Yanni Wetzell


YanniA product of the Westlake Boys and Harbour Basketball programmes Yanni Wetzell shared some thoughts on college basketball and his Tall Blacks aspirations.

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Micaela Cocks triple double best of Tall Ferns abroad


A number of Tall Ferns were in action for their club sides in Australia at the weekend with Micaela Cocks putting the player of the week performance together.

Cocks produced a triple double of 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as Townsville Flames proved too hot for Rockhampton winning 101-67 in the Queensland Basketball League.

Also in QBL action Natalie Taylor had 8 points and 8 rebounds as South West Metro Pirates stole a 92-79 win from Sunshine Coast Rip City.

Both the Flames and the Pirates are unbeaten this season.

In Melbourne, Sunbury Jets fought of Eltham Wildcats in the Big V League winning 73-68 on the road. Josie Stockill scored 21 points for the Jets who sit fifth on the ladder with a 4-4 record. The Tall Ferns centre was impressive from the foul line scoring 14 points without missing a single attempt.

Also in Melbourne Jess Bygate scored 9 points (4/6FG) as Sandringham Sabres sped past Ballarast Rush winning 73-66. Sandringham are mid table in the SEABL competition with a 5-4 record.

Just below Sandringham on the table with a 4-5 record are Diamond Valley Eagles beaten 67-66 at Geelong Supercats. Chevannah Paalvast scored 4 points and added 6 rebounds and 4 steals for the Eagles.

In Adelaide Jordan Hunter scored 5 points as Sturt Sabres cut Southern Tigers down winning 77-68. Sturt are in second spot on the South Australia Premier League ladder with seven wins in eight games.

Further west in Perth Toni Farnworth produced 14 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists but Perry Lakes Hawks were sent crashing by South West Slammers losing 68-53. Perry Lakes are the defending champions but are having a poor time this season losing all but one of their opening ten games.

Tai Webster scores 19 points but Skyliners lose in quarter-final tie


Tai Webster put up big numbers as Frankfurt Skyliners went down 85-72 to Bayern Munich in German League play-off action.

The Tall Blacks guard scored a team high 19 points on a pretty good shooting night where he went 6 from 10 from the floor and didn’t miss a free throw landing seven straight. Webster also produced 3 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in 33 minutes of action.

The loss was the first in a best-of-three quarter-final series with the second game to be played on Saturday.

Isaac Fotu and Ratiopharm Ulm missed out on play-off action after finishing tenth in the regular season. Ulm lost seven of their last nine games to slip out of the top eight.

Tall Ferns return to the court following Commonwealth Games success.


Most of the Tall Ferns that tasted success at the recent Commonwealth Games are back on court.

The quartet of Toni Farnworth, Micaela Cocks, Chevannah Paalvast and Kalani Purcell have been in China collecting more silverware at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.

In Australia Jordan Hunter, Jess Bygate and Josie Stockill were in action in three different State Leagues last weekend.

Stockill plays for the Kennedy Kereama coached Sunbury Jets in the Big V League. She landed 18 points (8/11FG) and added 5 rebounds as the Jets beat Kellor Thunder 69-54. The defending champion Jets snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 3-3 for the season.

“Everyone wants to beat the team that won it last year, so by default we have a target on our backs,” Kerama told the Herald Sun.

“We’re not going to surprise people like we did last year, so we’ve just got to be on our A-Game all the time,” he added.

Jess Bygate and Sandringham Sabres clinched the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) Tasmanian road trip double with a 97-69 win in Launceston and a closer 97-90 victory win against Hobart. Bygate shot an impressive 17 from 24 (71%) from the floor over the two games on her way to 14 points against Launceston and 21 points in Hobart. The Sabres are up to sixth on the table with a 4-2 record for the season.

Jordan Hunter continued her good form from the Games with 11 points (4/9FG) as Sturt Sabres beat Woodville Warriors 75-63. Hunter was one of three players in double figures as the Sabres solidified second spot on the South Australia Premier League ladder with a sixth win in seven outings.

Meanwhile Deena Franklin (Harbour Breeze) and Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards) will be heading to Tauranga on Friday for the first round of games in the 2018 Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC).

Jillian Harmon in excellent form in Italy


Jillian Harmon was absent from the Tall Ferns successful Commonwealth Games campaign due to Italian League club commitments and things have been going well for the 31-year old power forward in the last couple of weeks.

During the Games Napoli safely negotiated their way through the best of three quarter-final series against Le Mura Lucca. Lucca were the club Harmon led to the title last year and she played a leading role in eliminating them from the 2018 title race.

Napoli lost the first game but bounced back to claim victories in the next two encounters with the Tall Fern averaging 16.3 points and 11.3 rebounds across the series. Napoli claimed game three 55-51 with Harmon producing a game winning double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds.

Napoli are now locked in a semi-final series with perennial finalists Familia Schio who finished top of the league after the regular season with a 20-2 record.

It didn’t look good for Napoli when they dropped game one 72-57 but they bounced back in style in the second game winning 75-66 on the road with Harmon again prominent. She came up with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a couple of steals.

This is a five game series and the two teams will clash again on Wednesday in Napoli.