Canterbury teams reign supreme at National Tertiary Basketball Championships

Canterbury teams reign supreme at National Tertiary Basketball Championships
Lincoln University has won the Women’s 2017 National Tertiary Basketball Championships, while the University of Canterbury has taken out the men’s competition.

The 2017 National Tertiary Championship featured an increase in teams from last year, with all eight Universities entering men’s teams, and seven sending female teams to Christchurch. There were 35 games of very competitive basketball, played over three days at Cowles Stadium, with the champions being crowned this evening.

Women’s competition – pool play

In the women’s competition, Lincoln University and Victoria University were able to knock out Waikato and Otago in pool play and, were it not for four three-point bombs from LU’s Lucy Brown, Victoria may have finished first in the pool. University of Auckland and AUT both beat the University of Canterbury to move on from Pool A. In semi-final action, LU was too strong for AUT, grinding out a 56-45 win, while Victoria gained an upset win over Auckland, jumping out to an early double figure lead, and being able to withstand every attempt by their opponents to eat into the lead, winning 74-61. This set the Grand Final up as a rematch from pool play, with LU facing Victoria once again.

Women’s Grand Final – Victoria University vs Lincoln University

Victoria used the relatively uncommon 1-3-1 zone for much of the game, and did see it cause some initial issues for Coach Joshua Thompson’s team, as Victoria headed into the first quarter break with an 18-13 lead. Things turned in the second quarter, as the sharp-shooting Emilina Motu started to face some foul trouble, and was forced to sit for large chunks of time. LU’s defensive rotations began to sharpen, forcing turnovers and tough shot attempts, which then led to scoring opportunities in transition, tying the score 27-27 at the half. The defensive clampdown continued for LU in the third and fourth quarter, only allowing Victoria 19 points the rest of the way, as Connie Poletti (17p 13r) had far more scoring support from Sophie Schrader (14p) and Bianca Malifa (11p) than Victoria’s Captain, Ellen McManaway (14p 8r) did. Only Takiri Raerino (11p) able to join McManaway in double figures. Lincoln University winning the first gold medal of the day 60-46.

Final Score:

Lincoln University, 60: Connie Poletti 17 points, 13 rebounds; Sophie Schrader 14 points; Bianca Malifa 11 points
Victoria University, 46: Ellen McManaway 14 points, 8 rebounds; Takiri Raerino 11 points

Men’s competition – pool Play

The first hint of drama occurred on day one in Pool A, with the University of Otago winning against last year’s champions, Lincoln University (LU), 87-84. Heading into the final pool game the next morning, all four teams had split their games, so a win would guarantee progression to the next round. 

LU took care of AUT first. That meant Otago needed a win to qualify first, while a loss would move them down to fourth. Victoria was staring at a 20-point deficit to Otago in the first half, but began reeling them in, ultimately just falling short 89-86. In the other Pool, Canterbury and University of Auckland knew they were both through to the playoff round before they went head to head, Auckland winning on a final-second shot, winning 62-60 to qualify first.

In the men’s playoffs, both of the teams from the Canterbury region – LU and University of Canterbury – upset the top qualifiers to set up a crosstown rivalry match in the final game of the tournament. University of Canterbury looked dead in the second quarter, down 18 to Otago, but turned things around to be up three with a quarter to go, before winning by 20 points (91-71). LU led against Auckland from almost the opening tip, though the University of Auckland was able to pull the lead down to ten points three different times in the final quarter, before eventually falling 84-67.

Men’s Grand Final – University of Canterbury vs Lincoln University

The Grand Final pitted the two local institutions against each other, with both teams bringing their ‘A games’ for the occasion. University of Canterbury jumped out to a 31-21 lead after ten minutes, with Josh Petermann (25p 7a) hitting multiple mid-range jump-shots. LU kept in touch, thanks in large part to James Cawthorn (30p) and Ben Bowie (24p 11r), and some big plays from Josiah Williams (17p). Momentum seemed to shift LU’s way in the second quarter, as they grabbed the lead twice, only to see Paul Stephenson (15p 11r) hit a three point shot at the buzzer to push Canterbury up 49-45. The two teams traded big shot after big shot in the third quarter, and LU seemed to have the game in hand early in the fourth quarter, moving ahead by six points, before a Petermann three swung momentum back to Canterbury. This helped set off a 15-3 run that ended the game, pushing the 25th and final tie or lead change in University of Canterbury’s favour, crowning them the 2017 UTSNZ Men’s Champions 101-90.

Final Score: 

University of Canterbury, 101: Josh Petermann 25 points, 7 assists; Zacc Dwan 16 points, 10 rebounds; Paul Stephenson 15 points, 11 rebounds; Joshua Chin 14 points; Simon Reeves 12 points; Ben Anderson 12 points

Lincoln University, 90: James Cawthorn 20 points; Josiah Williams 17 points; Ben Williams 15 points, 9 rebounds; Ben Bowie 13 points, 11 rebounds


Women’s competition:
1. Lincoln University 
2. Victoria University 
3. University of Auckland
4. Auckland University of Technology 
5. University of Otago
6. University of Waikato
7. University of Canterbury

Women’s All-Star Five:
Nikita McGruer (AUT)
Breana Jones (UoA)
Lucy Brown (LU)
Emilina Motu (VIC)
Connie Poletti (LU) MVP

Men’s competition:
1. University of Canterbury
2. Lincoln University 
3. University of Otago
4. University of Auckland
5. Victoria University 
6. Auckland University of Technology 
7. Massey University
8. University of Waikato

Men’s All-Star Five:
Benoit Hayman (UoO)
Shay Graham (UoA)
Paul Stephenson (UoC)
James Cawthorn (LU)
Josh Petermann (UoC) MVP