The 2016 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam Women’s competition was decided solely on league results with the Suns taking the 2016 title with a 4-2 record – one win clear of their nearest rivals.
The Suns did come unstuck against team Sky on Saturday but not before mounting a strong comeback, eventually defeated 66-63.
The NZ Under 16 pair of Gracie Hasler-Ewins and Sharne Pupuke-Robati gave Sky an 8-0 start before Mikayla Blair opened the Suns account.
Alyesha Schuster knocked down a three for Suns but Jordyn Maddix capped a strong opening stanza for Sky ahead 21-14 at the first break.
A pair of long threes from Blair (10 points in the period) opened the second quarter scoring and a Tayla Dalton floater reduced the arrears but Maddix, the third NZ U16 international player in the Sky lineup, had the hot hands in this one. The Westlake shooting guard landed six triples in the game, three on the bounce in the second, to propel Sky to a 43-31 half-time advantage.
Anna Lacey and Dalton reduced the advantage to 43-36, coach Tania Hunter needing a timeout for Sky.
Another couple of Maddix threes broke the Sky third section scoring drought, their three-quarter time lead 51-42.
Lacey and Terina Aratangi landed treys for the Suns but Pupuke-Robati, Lua Murphy and Sophia Herewini extended the Sky lead to 62-53 with less than two minutes to play.
A frantic finished ensued as a pressing Suns defence created turnovers enabling Dalton to make a basket and Lacey to land her third triple as Suns closed to 64-63 well inside the final minute.
Fittingly Maddix, the game’s leading scorer, iced the contest from the free throw line to give Sky a slightly nervy win.
Sky 66 – Maddix 22, Hasler-Ewins 10, Pupuke-Robati 10, Herewini 4, Jada Manase 4, Breeze Leonard 4
Suns 63 – Blair 18, Lacey 15, Schuster 9, Dalton 7, Aratangi 5
Despite the presence of the industrious Tayla Ammunson in the Storm backcourt they were beaten 62-56 by the Stevee Theyers paced Sparks in the other game.
Storm had the better of the first half leading 27-24 at the interval as Paddy Pupuke, Mariah McCarthy and Isabella Elgar kept the score ticking over.
However 10 points from Theyers and half a dozen from Michelle Tangiariki helped Sparks boss the third 21-11.
Sparks built on their 45-38 three-quarter time advantage courtesy of Heeni Blakey and Kate Gillespie but had to survive a strong finish from Storm.
Elgar, Pupuke and Charlotte Armstrong got Storm within six points but an Amanda Buck three ensured the win for Sparks.
Sparks 62 – Theyers 21, Tangiariki 14, Blakey 10, Gillespie 8, Buck 7
Storm 56 – Pupuke 15, Armstrong 15, Elgar 11, Rosalia Samia 10