Sacred Heart show ticker, St Kentigern top table

Sacred Heart College bowed out of the Auckland Secondary Schools Invitational Tournament on Day 3 with a fourth straight loss going down 101-61 to Westlake Boys.

It was a balanced performance from Westlake as seven players scored 8 points or more. Joseph Hunter scored a game high 22 points for Sacred Heart who, despite losing four straight games, played with spirit until the end.

Sacred Heart Head Coach Mike Robinson complimented his team, who were unbeaten in the Auckland Senior A League before Covid shut the competition down, on wanting to test themselves against more accomplished Premier League players and teams.

The opposition don’t come much tougher as between them the four Premier teams taking part have won nine of the last eleven Secondary Schools National Championships.

Westlake 101 – Antonio Leutich 14, Zane Chang 14, Christian Martin 14, Boston Caldwell 12

Sacred Heart 61 – Hunter 22, Brooklyn Vile 10, Rafe Chisholm 9, Michael Stewart 6

St Kentigern College bounced back from their disappointing performance against Westlake on Thursday to dominate Rangitoto College in the other morning game winning 96-66.

Zach Riley scored 22 points for Rangitoto as they became the last Premier Boys team to give up their unbeaten record.

Young St Kent’s guard George Turner was in sublime shooting form knocking down six threes for his 18 points and Kazlo Evans was also in good scoring touch picking up 23 points.

St Kentigern 96 – Evans 23, Levick Kerr 19, Turner 18, Kaea Rangihaeta 10

Rangitoto 66 – Riley 22, Lucas Payne 15, Zeke Priest 9, Ethan Skelton 7

The evening games saw St Kentigern beat Rosmini and Rangitoto beat Westlake meaning that Rosmini finished fourth with a 1-3 record whilst the other three teams boasted an identical 3-1 record at the end of round robin play – St Kentigern earned top spot courtesy of a superior points differential.

Rangitoto were only 2 points ahead at half-time but dominated the second half to beat Westlake 100-77.

Jett Thompson top scored for Westlake with 25 points but Zeke Priest bettered that by one and Ethan Skelton was close behind with 22 points.

Rangitoto 100 – Priest 26, Skelton 22, Zach riley 14, Jacob Fotu 12, Lucas Payne 11

Westlake 77 – Thompson 25, Boston Caldwell 13, Zane Chang 10, Christian Martin 6

It was a similar story in the other game as St Kentigern, up by just five points at the half, pulled away after the resumption to win 78-57.

Dontae Nance (27 points) led the scoring for St Kent’s but it was Levick Kerr that was the big difference maker. The towering centre blocked multiple shots and was a dominant interior presence throughout. 

Sean Murphy (17 points) was the only Rosminian in double figures.

St Kentigern 78 – Nance 27, Kaea Rangihaeta 14, Martin Gan 10, Kazlo Evans 9, Kerr 8

Rosmini 57 – S Murphy 17, Tom Beattie 9, Kane Murphy 8

The semi-finals will be a repeat of the last games of the round robin with Westlake looking to turn the tables on Rangitoto and Rosmini looking to do the same against St Kentigern. Both games will be played at Eventfinda Stadium at midday on Saturday.

Auckland Invitation Tournament – Day 2 Wrap

Day 2 of the Auckland Secondary Schools Invitational Tournament saw Rangitoto College and Westlake Boys remain unbeaten with a 2-0 record.

Westlake followed their victory against Rosmini on Day 1 with a deserved 104-96 win against St Kentigern College on Thursday evening at Eventfinda Stadium. Westlake led by over 20 points but had to withstand a determined St Kent’s fight back before closing out the win. 

Kazlo Evans and Dontae Nance scored 22 and 21 respectively for St Kent’s but they were trumped by Jett Thompson (23 points) and Christian Martin who impressed again with a game high 25 points.

Westlake 104 – Martin 25, Thompson 23, Josh Kooiman 18, Liam Spencer 10, Boston Caldwell 9

St Kentigern 96 – Evans 22, Nance 21, Levick Kerr 17, Kaea Rangihaeta 15, Martin Gan 8

Rosmini College bounced back from the disappointment of a single point defeat against Rangitoto in the morning to defeat Sacred Heart College in convincing fashion 102-41 with Sean Murphy (26 points) once again leading the way. 

Rosmini 102 – S Murphy 26, Pita Maxwell-Topia 15, Charlie Dalton 13, Tane Murphy 12, Cyrus Grafil 10

Sacred Heart 41 – Joseph Hooker 10, Josh Stewart 10, Cassius Reynolds 6

In the morning games Rosmini College led 77-76 inside the final minute but a jump shot from Zeke Priest (31 points) gave Rangitoto the lead with 15 seconds remaining and although Kane Murphy got a shot off before the buzzer his effort hit the front of the rim and bounced out giving Rangi a one-point win. Sean Murphy again led the way for Rosmini with 18 points.

Rangitoto 78 – Priest 31, Ethan Skelton 22, Daniel Powell 8, Zach Riley 7

Rosmini 77 – S Murphy 18, Tom Beattie 15, Matt Drury 9, Cian Emery 9 

Also in the morning Joseph Hooker scored 26 points for Sacred Heart College but Levick Kerr, with a game high 33 points, was too tough to handle – St Kentigern winning the East Auckland derby 104-80.

St Kentigern 104 – Kerr 33, Kaea Rangihaeta 16, Iaiah Lasike 13, Dontae Nanace 9  

Sacred Heart 80 – Hooker 26, Ryan Topia 19, Josh Stewart 16, Muli Ma’asi 8

Wins for Rangitoto and Westlake at Auckland Invitational

The first round of the Auckland Secondary Schools Invitational Tournament saw wins for Rangitoto College and Westlake Boys High on Wednesday night.

Rangitoto put their foot on the floor in the first quarter to open up a 30-8 lead against Sacred Heart College.

Joseph Hooker paced the Heart effort with 16 points but they were never able to threaten Rangi’s lead as they went on to win 94-62.

Zeke Priest top scored for Rangi with 28 points with Lucas Payne next best on 21 points.

Rangitoto 94 – Priest 32, Payne 21, Ethan Skelton 12, Levi Fotu 9, Jacob Fotu 9

Sacred Heart 62 – Hooker 16, Josh Stewart 10, Cassius Reynolds 8, Rafe Chisholm 7

In the second game of the round Westlake saved their best until last as they came from seven points down at the three-quarter mark to beat Rosmini 87-81.

Christian Martin scored ten of his 18 points in the final period although it was Josh Kooiman with 21 points that top scored for Lake. Sean Murphy was outstanding for Rosmini scoring 40 points and Pita Maxwell-Topia scored 26 as the pair carried the Rozza scoring load.

Westlake 87 – Kooiman 21, Martin 18, Boston Caldwell 13, Jett Thompson 11, Antonio Leutich 10

Rosmini 81 – Murphy 40, Maxwell-Topia 26, Matt Drury 8

Tall Black overseas – latest wrap

Isaac Fotu in action for Venezia

Isaac Fotu and Venezia made it two from two in the Italian League after a comfortable 83-66 win against Cremona. Fotu was a perfect four from four from the field as he accumulated 11 points, one of five Venezia players in double figures.

It was tougher going in the EuroCup last night with Venezia outplayed in the second half by Partizan Belgrade. Venezia were ahead by one at half-time in the Serbian capital but eventually succumbed 95-73 – Venezia are 1-1 in Group A of the European competition and next face French club Bourg.

In Luxembourg Tom Vodanovich enjoyed another profitable outing adding 27 points to 8 rebounds but it was another heavy defeat for his club Telstar, defeated 86-64 at Esch.

Nearer home Tyrell Harrison logged 17 points and 7 rebounds as Southern District Spartans maintained second place on the Queensland State League ladder with an 86-66 win at USC Rip City.

Former Breakers guard Isaih Tuata scored 19 points for Rip City.

7 Up

Seven was something of a lucky number at the weekend for the Tall Ferns playing in the Queensland State Basketball League (QSL).

Chevannah Paalvast dished a season high 7 assists as Logan Thunder remain unbeaten (10-0) at the top of the QSL table. The Tall Ferns guard also scored 6 points as the Thunder rumbled Gold Coast Rollers 87-60.

Ashleigh Karaitiana also produced 7 assists, again a season best, as RedCity Roar got the better of North Gold Coast Seahawks 82-71. Karaitiana also scored a team high 23 points, as former Canterbury Wildcats guard Ajiah Siosiua-Pepe chipped in with 15 points (5/6 3PG) for the 7-3 Roar.

It was the seventh win on the bounce for the 9-1 Southern District Spartans after their 88-44 drubbing of USC Rip City. Natalie Taylor scored 15 points for the Spartans and Kalani Purcell was all business with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Kalani Purcell snares 13 steals!

Thirteen steals in one game would be quite an accomplishment for any team but thirteen by a single player could be something of a Queensland State League (QSL) record.

Kalani Purcell posted 21 points, 6 assists and that remarkable number of steals as Southern District Spartans defeated Sunshine Coast Phoenix 107-63 on Saturday.

Sister Natalie Taylor scored all her 15 points (5/8 3PG) from beyond the arc as the Spartans maintain second place on the QSL ladder with an 8-1 record.

Top of the pile are Chevannah Paalvast and Logan Thunder who have won nine games on the bounce.

Paalvast scored 9 points in Thunder’s 97-50 win at USC Rip City and 12 points as the Thunder rolled over Toowoomba 107-29.

It was a mixed weekend for RedCity Roar who beat South West Metro Pirates 60-38 but then went down in a heap against Brisbane Capitals losing 96-55.

Ashleigh Karaitiana filled the stats line against the Pirates amassing 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks.

The game against the Capitals was a contest to decide outright third place on the QSL League table. Karaitiana came up with 9 points and 6 rebounds but it was a disappointing performance from the Roar who now have a 6-3 record.

Tom Vodanovich scores 25 points on debut

Tom Vodanovich continued on from where he left off in the Sal’s NBL scoring 25 points on debut for Telstar Hesperange in the Luxembourg League.

The NBL’s Most Valuable Player shot 45% from beyond the three-point arc during the 2020 NBL season. He again demonstrated his improved shooting capability by making 5 from 8 from beyond the arc at the weekend as well as totalling 8 rebounds.

Unfortunately Vodanovich was the only Telstar player in double figures as they were smashed 102-56 at Racing Luxembourg.

Isaac Fotu played 15 minutes for Venezia as they opened their Italian League campaign with a solid 75-67 win against Brindisi.

Nearer home Mika Vukona produced 9 points and 7 rebounds as Southern District Spartans accounted for Sunshine Coast Phoenix 94-79. 

Fellow Tall Black Tyrell Harrison produced 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals as the Spartans remain second on the Queensland State League ladder with a 7-2 record.

40 points haul by Tall Fern Karaitiana

Ashleigh Karaitiana continued her good scoring form in the Queensland State League (QSL) amassing 40 points as RedCity Roar thumped bottom of the table Toowoomba Mountaineers 113-49. The Tall Fern also added 15 rebounds for good measure and now sits second on the QSL rebounding list averaging 12.3 boards per game and is third on the scoring list averaging 24.3 points per game.

2019 Auckland Dream guard Kayla Kiriau scored 9 points and former Canterbury Wildcat Aijah-Liric Siosiua-Pepe tallied 13 points and 8 assists as the Roar improved to 5-2 for the season.

Toowoomba were on the receiving end of a second heavy defeat of the weekend when beaten 109-39 at Southern District Spartans.

The 7-1 Spartans were well served by Natalie Taylor who top scored with 23 points  (8/12FG) and Kalani Purcell who filled the stats line with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

The Spartans travel to RedCity next Saturday, a game that will have a major bearing on top-four standings, and involve a bunch of Kiwis.

Still unbeaten, with a 7-0 record, are Logan Thunder after an 88-42 obliteration of North Gold Coast Seahawks. Chev Paalvast had a tidy 8 points and 9 rebounds for the top of the table Thunder.

In the Men’s QSL Tall Black Tyrell Harrison helped Southern District Spartans to a convincing 127-74 win against Toowoomba adding 6 rebounds to 16 points.

Sean Murphy the latest Rosminian headed to the States

This story was originally posted on the Basketball New Zealand website.

Sean Murphy is the latest Kiwi to accept a basketball scholarship in the USA.

The 18-year old Rosmini College and North Harbour representative will be attending the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) to play under Head Coach Kevin Lofton.

After talking at length with Coach Lofton Murphy developed a rapport with the long time UNK mentor.

“I really liked him a lot from the first time we spoke. Coach has been with UNK for 25 years and the past five as Head Coach, so I felt he had a pretty good apprenticeship with the University and he must be doing a lot right and have a true passion and respect for the school and his players.  We talk a lot and I felt the fit was good for me and my goals.

“The second thing is playing in a high level Division II Conference. When Coach told me it was ‘dog eat dog’ out there every game, I knew this would be a great challenge for me to expand on my skillset and help me develop even further.

“The third thing is the actual University. Nebraska at Kearney is a very respected academic school in the Mid-West and the major that I am leaning towards ranks very highly at UNK from right across America.  So, with a great academic programme also on tap for me this made the decision easier also.”

The UNK basketball team are known as ‘The Lopers’ and are an NCAA Division II university

and play in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Naturally, Murphy is looking forward to linking up with the Lopers.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my new coaches and team-mates and finally get down to training and playing the game I love in the States. It will be fun to feel the energy and vibe of a great university and meet new people.”

Murphy has played four years on the Rosmini Premier team during a period of unprecedented success at the college.

He began the 2020 season in good form as Rosmini were attempting to contest a fourth consecutive Secondary Schools National Grand Final. The 198cm swingman scored 39 points against Rangitoto College and was averaging 26 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists per game over the first five games before COVID-19 restrictions brought a premature end to the Auckland Premier Basketball season.

Murphy had played in the previous three finals, collecting a winners medal in 2017 and 2018.

“Sean has been an integral part of our success at Rosmini over the past four years rising up from the Juniors into playing a pivotal role for our Senior Premiers over recent seasons. 

“His opportunity in the States is a reward for the tremendous amount of work and dedication he has put into his own game,” said Rosmini Coach Matt Lacey.

Those successes certainly rank highly when Murphy assesses his career highlights to date.

“I have been blessed to be a part of a great basketball programme at Rosmini College. Great coaches and amazing teammates over the years so I would probably say winning two High School National Championships made me very proud and very happy, plus the opportunity to play for my country and making the Junior Tall Blacks.”

Murphy admits there have been countless good moments when he recalls his playing career at Rosmini.

“There are many and I will so miss it.  Apart from the winning of Nationals and Junior Prems  our  trip to Greece for the World High School Championships last year was also memorable.” 

As mentioned Murphy was named to the 2020 Junior Tall Blacks who were scheduled to play at a Four Nations International Tournament in China and the Albert Schweitzer International Tournament in Germany but unfortunately both events were cancelled.

When announcing the team Junior Tall Blacks Head Coach Aaron Fearne described Murphy as a wing with great international size.

“He’s very good at stretching the floor and knocking down the three ball. He understands our system well and can guard multiple positions,” added Fearne.

Having played for New Zealand at the 2019 FIBA Oceania Championships in New Caledonia in 2019 averaging 10 points and 3 rebounds per game Murphy would relish the opportunity wear the black singlet again in the future – hopefully one day for the Tall Blacks.

“That would be another dream come true, so I will never give up on that ambition and will continue to work harder to make it!”

Murphy is grateful to all who have contributed to his basketball journey and had a major impact on him as a player and a person.

“There have been many people that have helped me so much from the time I started to play basketball just over 10 years ago now.  Like I said I am blessed to have had great coaching over the years from day one.  But the most influential I would probably say would be my parents (Tracy and Rob), they have always believed in me, lifted me up when I have been down, told me how it is when I have had bad games and supported me whole heartly in my basketball journey.  

The other person who believed in me the most is my mentor the late Fata Letoa, whom I hold the upmost respect for. 

“Finally I just want to say thanks to BBNZ, Rosmini College, North Harbour Basketball, my team-mates over the years and all the people that have supported my journey to help me achieve where I am today.  

“Also a big shout out and thanks to Chris at Lead Scholarship’s NZ who put my profile forward to the coaches at UNK.  I appreciate it all.” 

Murphy believes the best advice ever given to him is, “Never ever give up even when everything appears down on you, believe in yourself and keep going, plus ‘work harder’.  

“I think those two things you need to live your life by always, that way you will succeed. Stay focused on your own journey. 

That journey will commence at the beginning of the Fall Semester in August 2021 when Murphy will head to UNK.

Murphy is the sixth Rosmini College student to secure a basketball scholarship in the States in the last three years.

William Heather was a member of the 2017 national championship winning team and subsequently was offered a scholarship at Dallas Baptist University to play NCAA Division II basketball.

Kruz Perrott-Hunt was a national championship winner in both 2017 and 2018 and is in his second year at South Dakota University is majoring in psychology.

Recently departed to the Sates are freshmen Marvin Williams-Dunn and Reihana Maxwell-Topia. 

Reihana is at the University of St Francis in Chicago whilst Marvin has travelled to Arkadelphia, Arkansas to begin study at Ouachita Baptist University. 

Last week Taine Murray committed to the University of Virginia and like Sean will head to the States in 2021.

Another good week for Kiwi’s in Australia

Brayden Inger scored 24 points (10/17FG) but couldn’t prevent Geraldton Buccaneers going down 77-71 to Willetton Tigers in the West Coast Classic State League.

A multiple championship winner with Rangitoto College and North Harbour age-group teams Inger is in his second season with Geraldton having helped the Buccaneers win the State League title in 2019.

Averaging 13.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game Inger admits he is playing a different role to his high school days.

“It’s been a strange season as I have had to pick up point guard duties which is a lot different to where and how I played during my high school career. It’s definitely opened up a few more opportunities.”

Over on the Australian East Coast Mika Vukona played just 10 minutes as Southern District Spartans slipped to 5-2 in the Queensland State League (QSL) after going down 80-70 to Ipswich Force.

Vukona finished with 3 points and 7 rebounds whilst fellow Tall Black Tyrell Harrison had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The Tall Ferns representatives playing in the QSL all enjoyed success as there are a trio of road wins to report.

Chevannah Paalvast and Logan Thunder are riding high at the top of the QSL ladder as they made it six straight wins in an unbeaten start to the season. Their most recent victory was a comprehensive 98-59 mauling of Brisbane Capitals. Paalvast finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds.

The Southern District Spartans are hot on the heels of the Thunder. Boasting a 6-1 record they grabbed a 102-78 win at Ipswich Force. Supplying the force for the Spartans were Kalani Purcell who scored a season high 28 points (12/21FG) with Natalie Taylor (23 points) also in good scoring form.

Ashleigh Karaitiana (21 points) top scored for RedCity Roar in their 79-63 win at Sunshine Coast Phoenix. The Roar also had good contributions from Karlene Kingi and Kayla Kiriau. The ‘Double K’s’ scored 9 points apiece with Kingi also grabbing 9 boards.