The Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam begins its fifth season on Saturday with games being played at the Breakers training facility, 7 Atlas Place Mairangi Bay.
Entry is free for spectators with games played at 2pm and 4pm each Saturday for the next eight weeks with the final of both the Women’s and Men’s tournaments set down for December 16.
Tournament manager Lindsay Tait has placed an emphasis on youth for the 2017 event although there are still places for former internationals Dillon Boucher, Hayden Allen, Brooke Ruscoe, BJ Anthony and, in the women’s competition, ex Tall Fern Amanda Buck.
Add current Tall Blacks James Hunter and Derone Raukawa to a swag of Junior Tall Blacks past and present and there are the makings of an exciting competition.
The Men’s tournament begins with a match up between 68a Nelson Street and Railsplitters.
68a Nelson Street, named as such in memory of the basketball hotbed that was Youthtown before its demolition, will feature Boucher senior, playing alongside his son Jayden. NBL players Ana Haku, Carl Buck and Raukawa will add depth to 68a as will Breakers Development player Mitch Newton.
Railsplitters will also have plenty of NBL talent on display with Hayden Allen joined by Anthony, Hyrum Harris and Dan Green. When available, they will also be able to call on Breakers and Southland Sharks forward James Hunter.
Suiting up for The Birdmen in the second game on Saturday will be Junior Tall Blacks star Quinn Clinton who will join a handy back court that will also include Brooke Ruscoe and Matt Lacey. They will also have some decent rebounding power with Nick Barrow, Dom Kelman-Poto, Tipene Friday and American Brandon Lucas pounding the boards.
The Birdmen will face off against the Breakers Academy that boasts a posse of junior internationals including Dan Fotu, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, James Moors, Tom Higgins, Thabo Manyere and Will Heather.
The Women’s competition will also have some senior players to compliment an abundance of young talent. The Sparks versus Storm fixture will open the competition at 2pm.
Mikayla Blair and Shanee Kiriau will lead the Sparks with assistance in the backcourt from Jada Manase and Ramona Fuaivaa.
The Westlake pair of Sophie Dill and Mareta Davidson will shoulder some rebounding responsibility in the absence of Sharne Pupuke-Robati, still on international duty with the NZ U17 team in India.
Storm will also be a player light for its opening fixture with Tall Fern Deena Franklin currently in Mongolia with the NZ team at the 3×3 Asia Cup.
In her absence Stevee Theyers will guide the team that includes Shauna Povey, Emme Shearer and the Rangitoto College duo Bella Elgar and Gracie Hasler.
Former Tall Fern point guard Amanda Buck will be driving team Sky with Ashleigh Kelman-Poto and NZ U18 international Keeley Tini in the front court. St Kentigern College standout Summer-Jean Motufoua will back up Buck with Riana Rangi-Brown and Hannah Wentworth also lining up in the guard spots.
In the 4pm game Team Sky will take on the Suns that boast a pair of sisters in its squad. The more experienced Tabitha and Annabelle Jenkins will join the St Mary’s College pair of Jazzmyne and Zaaliyah Kallahi-Fulu.
Morgan Ili and Anna Lacey will add some veteran know-how to the Suns lineup.