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St Kent’s the champs as Nationals Qualifiers sorted

St Kentigern College, still the reigning champions from 2019 remember, will carry the number one seeding at the 2022 Secondary Schools National Championships in October after downing Westlake 96-71 in the Final of the Zone I Qualifying Tournament at Eventfinda Stadium on Saturday night.

While Dontae Russo-Nance orchestrated proceedings it was Merrick Rillstone’s night to hit the right chords as the rangy forward dropped a staggering 49 points in what turned out to be a one-sided affair. The U15 National Championship MVP had his shooting game in fine tune as his team plundered 51 second half points.

Westlake will be content with a second placed finish, having had to undergo a change of coaching staff prior to the start the tournament, but it promised more when they led 29-19 as Rocco Chang (17 points), Daniel Ottenhoff (16 points) and Hamza Zahran (29 points) began impressively.

The Swans were just three adrift at half-time (45-42) before a major momentum shift in the third became seismic in the fourth as Rillstone, Russo-Nance (26 points) and Hunter Te Ratna (15 points) produced a scoring medley to delight the St Kent’s followers.

Rangitoto College garnered a couple of useful scalps during the tournament and should have made it a third when they led Auckland Grammar 69-60 deep into the fourth quarter and by five points inside the final seconds of the 3rd/4th play-off game.

Some indecision in their ranks allowed Josh Howes to make a game levelling three, then Cody Brown (28 points) to make the go-ahead basket with time almost expired – Rangi, unable to come up with an answer on the final possession, were pipped 71-69.

A dozen points each from forwards Jacob Fotu and Tautoko Wynyard, plus 18 from livewire guard Michael Ropotini seemed to have done the trick until Brown pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.

Rosmini College, one the back of a career best performance from young forward Julius Halaifonua (38 points), came from behind to pip Mt Albert Grammar in the 5th/6th place contest.

15 points apiece from Will Leger and Denvor Elia, plus 17 from Dante Matakatea gave MAGS the edge for long spells but Halaifonua and Tom Beattie (26 points) carried Rosmini to victory with a fourth quarter push.

Sacred Heart College claimed the coveted seventh spot at Nationals after defeating St Peter’s College 74-63 in the critical 7th/8th play-off game.

The contest was still in the balance at three-quarter time with St Peter’s only 4 points behind (54-50). 

However it was Josh Tengblad (13 points) and Adam Davies (21 points) that proved the difference makers in the fourth as Sacred Heart stamped their ticket for Palmerston North with a 20-13 closing run.

Milan Tolich (17 points), Scott Errey (15 points) and Dorian Sula (14 points) kept the Senior A champions in the hunt but they looked leg weary in the fourth and slipped to a disappointing defeat.

Auckland Dream win D League Grand Final

Etco Auckland Dream have been crowned the 2022 Women’s D League champions after defeating the Otago Gold Rush 74-60 at Eventfinda Stadium on Saturday.

The victory was far from straight forward with a resolute Gold Rush out of the blocks the quicker opening up an 11-6 lead, extended to 16-10 at the quarter mark.

In a contrast of styles the guard dominant Dream were being outworked by the front court orientated Gold Rush but made an adjustment in the second. Moving to a two-forwards axis produced immediate dividends as Coola Baudry and Trinity Paeu combined to reduce the deficit to one point.

Baudry gave the Dream its first lead of the game – a dominant second spell meaning they held a 34-29 lead at half-time.

The momentum remained with the Dream at the start of the third with the guards taking their turn to inflict damage – Summer Jean Motufoua, Darci Finnigan and Riana Rangi-Brown taking them to a 45-33 lead.

The response came from Hannah Beede and Sophie Adams (14 points and 18 rebounds), although Rangi-Brown (11 points in the quarter) had the last say of the period – 56-44 the Dream lead with 10 minutes to play.

Twenty points down at the mid-point of the fourth Otago weren’t throwing the towel in – Hannah Matahaere initiated a 7-0 run to fuel the optimism of the travelling supporters.

Fittingly player-coach Darci Finnigan and Tournament MVP Rangi-Brown (25 points) were the next two scorers as the Dream snuffed out the Gold Rush challenge to deservedly take the title.

Auckland Dream 74 – Rangi-Brown 25, Baudry 12, Motufoua 12, Finnigan 9

Otago Gold Rush 60 – Matahaere 15, Adams 14/18rebs, Mitchell 10, Beede 9

The 3rd/4th place game went the way of Canterbury after they defeated Harbour Breeze 73-65.

Canterbury: N Gleason 19, K Herman 17, L Pale 14, H Mischewski 9, K Williams 9

Harbour: H Wentworth 19, Y Negishi 12, N Scales 11, I Pugh 9

Other Placing Results:

5th/6th Waikato Wizards 95 Rotorua Lady Geysers 67

7th/8 Taranaki Airs 76 Southland Storm 56

9th Northland

10th Manawatu

11th Tauranga City Coasters

12th Auckland Dream Blue

Tournament Team

Alyssa Hirawani (Waikato)

Hannah Wentworth (Harbour)

Nicole Gleeson (Canterbury)

Karereatu Williams (Canterbury)

Sophie Adams (Otago)

Caitlin O’Connell (Otago)

Hannah Matahaere (Otago)

Darci Finnigan (Auckland)

Trinity Paeu (Auckland)

MVP – Riana Rangi-Brown (Auckland)

Prem Girls Round 8 – Three players score 30+

The 8th Round wrap of the Auckland Schools Girls Premier Grade games, brought to you by Northern Kāhu, saw wins for Westlake Girls High, Baradene College and Epsom Girls Grammar.

At Westlake Girls the 99-52 scoreline suggests a lop-sided contest. However, it doesn’t do justice to the Saint Kentigern effort, the visitors causing the league leaders some problems, particularly in the first half.

Maia Bennett gave St Kent’s an early lead as the home side, combating the enthusiastic defense of Ashleigh Tuumaialu, Maia Mealamu and Sharmaine Tapling, were forced into errors.

Westlake overcame their initial hesitancy to lead 24-12 at quarter time.

Tapling was the first player into double figures but Izzy Pugh and Mackenzie Chatfield soon followed suit as the Lake advantage stretched to 48-29 at half-time.

Rebecca Moors enjoyed an excellent third quarter, the Westlake forward added steals, blocks and rebounds to 9 points in the period.

The tireless Tuumaialu scored 8 final quarter points for St Kent’s but it was Chatfield that had the final say – a pair of threes took her to a season best 36 points.

Westlake 99 – Chatfield 36, Pugh 19, R Moors 17, Amiya Fotu 10

St Kentigern 52 – Tuumaialu 18, Tapling 13, Mealamu 7, Tiana Gray 5

On her way to a season high 35 points Deyna Topia posted 15 in the opening quarter as Baradene College thundered to a 23-10 first quarter home court lead against Carmel College.

Carmel skipper Jemma Cammell took her tally to double figures but the free scoring Topia, Harriett Burrell and Summer Faleafa took Baradene to a 46-20 half-time lead.

Millie Lloyd scored a couple of baskets for Carmel after the break before Baradene resumed their dominance. A triple from Amelia Nathan, plus multiple scores from Emily Burrows and Faleafa, stretched the Baradene lead further. 

Baradene 85 – Topia 35, Harriett Burrell 17, Summer Faleafa 16, Nathan 6, Poppy Cavanagh-Briggs 6, 

Carmel 42 – Jemma Cammell 10, Imogen O’Rourke 6, Hannah Bellett 6, Zhara Tibbotts 6

Kodee Williams-Sefo scored a season best 36 points for St Mary’s College but that outstanding performance was trumped by Epsom Girls Grammar who enjoyed a 31-point debut effort from Leah Patuwairua, to carve out a 79-63 victory.

Patuwairua had 18 points by half time, Williams-Sefo 15 for the hosts who trailed 27-23 at half-time.

Epsom put their collective foot down in the third scoring 34 points in the period – Maya Fowler leading the way with 15 of those.

Tamzin Jakeman moved into double figures for St Mary’s but Ivy Tino played a good hand as Epsom recorded a fourth win of the season.

St Mary’s 63 – Williams-Sefo 36, Tamzin Jakeman 10, Faith Ualika 6

Epsom 79 – Leah Patuwairua 31, Fowler 23, Ivy Tino 8, Talia Vea 6

The Mt Albert Grammar v Rangitoto College fixture was postponed to a later date.

Best of luck to New Zealand U17 team members Waimanu Clarken (Mt Albert Grammar), Amy Pateman (Westlake) and Ritorya Tamilo (Baradene) who head off to the FIBA Asia Cup in Jordan this week.

Current Standings:

8-0 Westlake 

7-1 Baradene

5-2 MAGS

4-4 St Kentigern, Epsom

2-6 St Mary’s

1-6 Rangitoto

0-8 Carmel

The Mt Albert Grammar v Rangitoto College fixture will be played at a later date.

Partner with the Lacey Lowdown

Lacey Lowdown has been covering basketball in New Zealand and abroad for 8 years with a specific focus on high school and collegiate players and programmes.

The website was founded, and is run by, basketball enthusiast Mike Lacey. Having posted 1,600 news stories and attracted half a million website views, the Lacey Lowdown has become a central hub of information, as well as advocating for equal promotion of the men’s and women’s game.

The 2022 High School season begins on May 7 and the Lowdown will begin its 2022 coverage that weekend. The 2022/23 Collegiate season begins in September.

The Lowdown is seeking sponsorship partners for the 2022 Boys High School Season, 2022 Girls High School Season and the 2022/23 US Collegiate Season.

If your business or someone you know is interested in supporting basketball and the coverage of the rising stars in our sport, by entering a partnership with the Lacey Lowdown, please contact Matt Lacey –

Not such a good day for Kiwi ballers in the States

Kendell Heremaia couldn’t repeat her scoring heroics of the day before (top scored with 22 points against George Mason) as sixth seeded Fordham Rams exited the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament after a narrow 66-63 loss to Massachusetts. Heremaia still managed to fill the stats line with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block.

Wofford lost the semi-final of Southern Conference Championship to Furman 64-59 – Helen Matthews, in her 50thappearance for Wofford Terriers, had a couple of rebounds and a block in the defeat.

St Mary’s California checked out of West Coast Conference play-offs after a 71-64 defeat at the hands of Loyola Marymount. Tayla Dalton had singles in assists, steals and blocks plus 8 points and 6 rebounds. Amy West came up with 5 rebounds and a dime.

Number 7 seeded Georgia Southern lost 85-76 to UT Arlington in the Sun Belt Conference quarter-finals. Cantabrian forward Tsubasa Nisbett had 3 points, 3 rebounds and a steal for Georgia Southern.  

Colorado, Colorado Springs were defeated 86-77 by top-seeded Black Hills State in the NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Conference Tournament. Invercargill native Mac Stodart nabbed a couple of rebounds for Springs.

In Junior College action Nate Wilson and South Georgia Tech are into the Grand-Final of the Region 17 Tournament after defeating South Georgia State 78-70.

Breakers Boxing Day Numbers

In the third round of the NBL Sam Timmins scored 8 points on debut against Melbourne United – becoming Sky Sport Breaker #131 in the process.

Against Illawarra Hawks Finn Delany moved ahead of Rick Rickert (600 rebounds) on the club’s all-time rebounding list – up to 9th spot with 615 rebounds.

Yanni Wetzell’s double-double against Illawarra came in the form of a career high 17 rebounds and a Breakers high 25 points. 

He also passed 500 NBL career points – 437 points scored last season for South East Melbourne Phoenix.

Averaging 18.8ppg Wetzell is 6th on the NBL scoring list.

20 year-old Hugo Besson is one place behind in 7th averaging 17.8ppg.

Will McDowell-White is 6th on the assists list averaging 4.4 dimes per game.

Former NBA player Chasson Randle will make his debut for the injured Peyton Siva in the Boxing Day game in Tasmania – the Breakers first game against the Jack Jumpers.

Rob Loe will make his 99th appearance for the club against Tasmania.

Krystal Leger-Walker brings up 100 games in style.

Krystal Leger-Walker celebrated her 100th NCAA Division I appearance with a fine individual performance and the W, as Washington State Cougars claimed a narrow 77-75 double overtime win against Oregon State.

Krystal led the Cougars scoring with 23 points, claiming 6 rebounds and a season high 5 steals. She now has 150 points for the season averaging 12.5ppg.

In an impressive family double Charlisse posted 22 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals – her 12th straight double figure tally and 7th game scoring 20 points or more.

The twelve straight double digit scores represent the longest double figure scoring streak to begin a Washington State career.

It was the fourth overtime game in the last five games (two won, two lost) for Washington State who now have a 6-4 Pac-12 Conference record.

Fordham University improved to 5-2 in the Atlantic 10 Conference with Kendell Heremaia prominent in a 68-49 win at St Bonaventure. Heremaia finished with 20 points, including 4 from 8 threes, as well as 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Jade Kirisome and Tayla Dalton made double figure contributions as St Mary’s, California recorded a 79-61 win at home to Pepperdine. 

Kirisome scored 12 points and Dalton 10 – St Mary’s 2-6 in West Coast Conference play.

Amiee Books run of eleven consecutive games in double figures came to an end at Hawaii as Cal State Fullerton went down 57-43 to the hosts. Book, just one point shy of continuing her sequence, finished with 9 points plus 5 rebounds and a couple of blocks.

Wofford College split the spoils with Western Carolina winning one and losing the other in a weekend double header. Helen Mathews secured 6 rebounds and added a couple of points in a 65-45 win followed by 6 points in a 65-54 loss on Saturday.

Akienne-Tera Reed dished a game high 5 assists and also scored 7 points but Virginia Commonwealth couldn’t overcome Richmond going down 69-64, VCU now 4-2 in Atlantic 10 play.

Emme Shearer nabbed 6 points and a couple of steals but Portland were defeated 79-61 by #18 ranked Gonzaga.

In NCAA Division II play Tessa Talo-Tomokino played a season high 30 minutes as Northeastern registered an 89-79 double overtime win against Lincoln. TT-T came up with 6 assists, 4 points and 3 rebounds as Northeastern improve to 4-8.

Eva Langton (10 points) was one of only two Texas A&M International players in double figures as they were punished 85-42 by Lone Star Conference leaders Lubbock Christian.

In the NAIA Michelle Nicholls popped up with 7 points and 7 rebounds as Central Methodist, now 8-4 in conference fixtures beat Grand View 77-56.

Junior College play is underway with a bunch of Kiwis making their debuts. We will try and bring you a full rundown later in the week but ahead of that it’s worth highlighting the performances of Waiaaria Rogers and Heeni Blakey

Rogers scored 18 points (4/73PG) as Marshalltown College Tigers  defeated Southeastern 63-50. The former Rangitoto shooting guard made 4 from 7 from three-point land whilst teamate Blakey tallied 6 points.

The pair were in double figure scoring form a couple of days later despite Marshalltown going down 73-55 to Southwestern – Blakey scored 13 points and Rogers 11 points.

The ‘M Men’ Moors, Mennenga and McClure get the W’s

Colorado State University produced their largest comeback in programme history to beat San Diego State 70-67 in Mountain West Conference play.

James Moors (5 points and 6 rebounds) played 17 minutes off the bench for Colorado, the astonishing win made even more notable given San Diego were ranked #23 in the country.

San Diego got a degree of revenge a couple of days later completing a 78-65 victory in the second game of the double header. It was another promising outing from Moors as he scored 9 points on 5 from 7 shooting.

Davidson University improved to 2-1 in Atlantic-10 Conference play with a solid 61-48 victory at Duquesne. Sam Mennenga, starting for the tenth straight game, finished with 6 points and 7 rebounds for Davidson.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored 5 points in both games as South Dakota got the double over Denver in their Summit League openers.

In Division II action ex-Canterbury Rams wing Ben Carlile-Smith scored with his first shot in NCAA basketball. He only took one shot, a three, as Colorado Christian fell 82-78 against Adams State. 

Hawkes Bay native Wilfred Dickson scored 16 points in two consecutive games as South Dakota School of Mines won a thriller against Fort Lewis but suffered a loss two days later. The Hardrockers won 84-79 in overtime to beat Fort Lewis but went down 75-64 to Western Colorado. The Hardrockers are 3-4 in the Rocky Mountain Conference.

Dallas Baptist University are off to 4-0 start in the Lone Star Conference, their latest success a 99-62 drubbing of Cameron University. Will Heather posted 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a block, the win lifting DBU to #21 on the Division II rankings.

Finn McClure posted a team high 7 assists to accompany a dozen points as Milligan University eased past St Andrews 95-87 to improve to 5-3 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.

Tall Ferns dominate the Philippines


The Tall Ferns began their Olympic Qualifying campaign in style with a resounding 111-54 win against the Philippines at Trusts Arena, Auckland on Thursday night.

All 12 Tall Ferns scored points as New Zealand led by Tessa Boagni and Penina Davidson who scored 16 points apiece. There were also hefty contributions from the experienced trio of Ashleigh Karaitiana (13 points and 9 rebounds), Toni Farnworth (12 points) and Natalie Taylor (11 points).

Captain Kalani Purcell was her usual busy self, adding 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals to a brace of points.

Full report

Webster exits EuroCup but Fotu fights on



Tai Webster scored 18 points (6/13FG, 6/7FT) for his Turkish club Galatasaray on Wednesday night but it wasn’t enough to stave off elimination from the EuroCup.

Galatasaray needed a win at Group A leaders AS Monaco but fell 76-71 and with a 3-6 record are eliminated from the EuroCup with one round of games still to play.

Still alive are Isaac Fotu and his German club Ratiopharm Ulm. With a 4-5 record Ulm travel to Italy next week to meet Brescia – the winners of the tie will grab the one remaining place available from Group A to progress to the last sixteen.

In Tuesday night’s game Ulm defeated Morabanc Andorra 88-80 to keep their hopes of progressing from group-play alive. Ulm coach Thorston Leibenath used his players sparingly with nine players logging between 14 minutes and 21 minutes. Fotu played just 14 minutes checking out with 2 points, 2 rebounds an assist and a steal.

In German League action Ulm, after a poor start losing five of their first six games, have won three games on the bounce and are up to ninth on the Bundesliga ladder with a 4-5 record.

In the Turkish League Galatasaray are sixth on the table with a 5-4 record after an 86-76 win against Banvit BK last weekend.