All eyes now turn to the 3x3 Quest Open Final to be played next weekend after the final regional tournament was completed at Eventfinda Stadium (formerly NSEC) on Saturday.
Team Ballers were victors on Saturday winning an absorbing final 20-17 against Waikato Snipers. Fittingly the last regional final of the Quest 3x3 Tour went to overtime with the two teams locked at 17 points apiece after the regulation ten minutes. Mike Woodbridge came up big for Ballers in overtime as both teams sought the two-point margin needed to seal victory. He made a basket to edge his team ahead and followed that with a two-point play to seal the win and with it automatic entry to the Quest Open Final to be played at Auckland YMCA next Saturday.
The Ballers victory was even more meritorious given that they had to play eight games during the day without a substitute - relying on the experienced 3x3 trio of Anthony Jones, and the Woodbridge brothers Mike and Connor, to see them through the heavy schedule.
The Waikato Snipers team of Boyd Scirkovich, Sanchez Amato, Dean Leutele and Junior Ale were worthy finalist and came within one score of claiming a tournament victory.
Team Ballers sharp-shooter Mike Woodbridge was relieved to get the win.
“It was a great final, we desperately needed the win after coming up short in a couple of other tournaments. Even though the pressure was on we knew we could compete with this group. We’ve put in a lot of work together so we had confidence in each other,” he said.
When asked what the key was to winning a close game Woodbridge cited his team’s tournament experience built on over a number of seasons.
“A lot of it comes down to know-how having played in those situations before and trusting your defence. On offence you have to be ready and have confidence in your shot when the opportunity arises.”
Woodbridge hopes that they can recruit a fourth player in time for the Open Final next Saturday.
“We won a tournament earlier in the week with three players but it’s not ideal. Hopefully we will have an extra player but we are confident with us three – we’ll see what happens.”
Woodbridge is delighted to see the 3x3 game growing and evolving in New Zealand.
“It’s definitely growing and just seeing how many teams show up to the Quest Tour events is a strong indicator of how the game is becoming more and more popular. The teams are getting better and better so the competition is getting tougher each tournament you go to,” said Woodbridge.
Earlier Waikato Snipers had beaten Team Coasters 16-14 in one semi-final with Team Ballers advancing 13-11 against Valley Seezn in the other semi.
The third/fourth play-off game was won 21-9 by Team Coasters.
The Quest Open Final tournament doubles as the World Tour Qualifier Final – the winners earning an all expenses paid trip to China for the World Tour Championships.
The teams competing next week will be:
- Team Precision Movement (Auckland)
- Team Ballers (Auckland)
- Team Toa (Wellington)
- Team Squiddies (Dunedin)
- Team AKL (Christchurch)
- Team Athletic Ballers (Tauranga)
- BC Astana (Auckland)*
- Dax (Auckland)*
* Wildcard Invitation teams
Games will tip-off at midday and finish by 4pm. Entry, via the Pitt Street Gym entrance, is free.
There were 28 teams that played in Auckland on Saturday, with twelve of those in the Open Men’s event.
Auckland North Results:
- Junior Mixed Final: Team We Don’t Know beat Balluh 13-11 AOT
- Open Men Final: Team Ballers beat Waikato Snipers 20-17 AOT
- Senior Mixed Final: Team Birken Head beat Jimmy and his Dad’s 19-17
- U15 Girls Final: Team Mystics beat Dream Team 11-10
- Mai FM 3-point winner: Zachary Doherty
- Knock Out winner: Mike Woodbridge
3x3 Quest Tour Schedule, 2019:
• Sun 20 Jan Auckland-West The Trusts Arena, Henderson, Auckland
• Sat 2 Feb Tauranga Harbourside Netball Centre, Blake Park, Mt Maunganui
• Sat 9 Feb Wellington Odlins Plaza, Wellington Waterfront
• Sun 17 Feb Dunedin The Octagon, Dunedin
• Sat 23 Feb Christchurch Hagley Park Netball Courts
• Sat 2 Mar Auckland- North Eventfinda Stadium (formerly NSEC), North Shore
• Sat 9 Mar Auckland- QUEST FINAL* Auckland City YMCA, Pitt Street
* This final event is the World Tour Qualifier Final and is only open to the Open Men's Grade teams that qualified at one of the above regional events. No other grades will play at this event.
• More details on the tour HERE
• Sign up for the tour via play.fiba3x3.com
• Follow the event on Basketball New Zealand’s Social media accounts on @BasketballNZ via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter