Finalists Found for U19 and U15 National Basketball Championships

Finalists Found for U19 and U15 National Basketball Championships

U19 National Championships in Nelson

The finalists for the Basketball New Zealand Under 19 National Championships were decided today in Nelson with Waikato meeting Harbour in the women’s final, and Auckland Counties Manukau taking on Canterbury in the men’s.

U19 Women’s First Semi-Final – Waikato V Canterbury

The Waikato Under 19 Women were able to emphatically pull away to an extremely decisive 32-point win in the first Women’s semi-final. Surgical rotations by Coach Anthony Corban’s team on defence were too much for the Cantabrians to overcome, as they were held to only fifteen points in the first half, and were unable to get clean looks at the basket throughout the game, as well as struggling to hang on to possession of the basketball in the open court.

The second quarter proved to be the deciding point of the game, as Canterbury was not able to put any points on the board until just over two minutes were remaining on the clock – while Waikato was able to go on a 20-0 run over the same time span. Offensive rebounds helped Waikato gradually pull away, and the 41-15 scoreline at the main break essentially signalled it was game over for Coach Mikey Graham’s team.
Kendell Heremaia lead all scorers with 24, including a stretch where she scored nine straight for her Waikato team. Zarya Poulava had 18, and the Captain, Alyssa Hirawani, finished with 14 in the win. For Canterbury, Sapphire Wairau, and Nelson native Chelsea Neame both had nine points in a difficult game. 

Final Score: Waikato 71-39 Canterbury.

U19 Women’s Second Semi-Final – North Harbour V Taranaki

In the second women’s semi-final, North Harbour had their toughest game in the tournament so far, but still accounted for a shorthanded Taranaki team relatively easily. In an almost perfect facsimile of the first semi-final, North Harbour built themselves a 51-18 halftime lead, eventually extending this to forty points in the third quarter.

Foul trouble also wreaked havoc on Trent Adam’s rotation, as starters Briana Latavao and Joellen How both picked up their fourth personal fouls midway through the third quarter. Bronwyn Davidson’s Harbour team pummelled Taranaki on the offensive glass, grabbing 27 second-shot opportunities and converting these into 23 points. In comparison the undersized Taranaki team only managed defensive rebounds on 17 occasions.

Zara Jillings stuffed the stat sheet with a line of 15 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals; while Katie Diakhaby only needed 14 minutes to put up a double-double of 14 and 13. Rounding out the other major box score contributors for Harbour were Tabitha Jenkins (12 points) and Coola Tayla Baudry (8 points, 12 rebounds). For Taranaki Bayley Ransfield (20 points, 6 rebounds) and Tara Clement (13 points) stood out. 

Final Score North Harbour 81-50 Taranaki.

Men’s First Semi Final – Canterbury V Otago

In the first Men’s semi-final, Canterbury faced off against an Otago team they were familiar with after having played them just a month ago in an invitational tournament. Some hot shooting for Greg Brockbank’s Otago team kept them in touch early, with the teams heading into the half-time break with only nine points between them – 36 to 27 in Canterbury’s favour.

The third quarter was time for former Otago player, but current Cantabrian, Matt Dukes to shine. He hit four of seven threes in the stanza, essentially opening up space around the hoop for the Canterbury bigs. A 22-2 run for Canterbury in a six-minute period, spanning across the end of the third and start of the fourth, closed off any chance of an exciting finish, save for a few dunks and blocks. Canterbury Coach Mo Corkery was very pleased with the team’s performance, as they booked their place in the Championship game on Saturday afternoon: “Paul Isitt (Co-Coach) and I thought we played pretty decent overall, moving the ball well as a team. As the game progressed, we were able to grab the ascendency from Otago, as they started struggling to deal with both our size and shooting capability at the same time.”

Canterbury’s Toby Gillooly led all scorers with 26 points and 9 rebounds, with fellow starters Sam Lees (21 points, 13 rebounds), Matt Dukes (16 points), and Angus McWilliam (11 points, 8 rebounds) all able to add to the team’s ledger. For Otago, Josh Aitcheson managed a double-double of 10 and 10, but was harassed into shooting 4/17. Matthew Brien scored 11 off the bench, but his team went down comprehensively in the end. 

Final Score Canterbury 94-46 Otago.

Men’s Second Semi-Final – Waikato V Auckland Counties Manukau

The best game of the day was a back and forth affair between the men from Waikato and Auckland Counties Manukau (ACM). A 10/26 effort from behind the arc in the first half helped Waikato to a seven-point lead of 47-40 at the half. With just over four minutes left in the third quarter, Samuel Aruwa grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw, and got fouled as he attempted another basket. This extra free throw proved to be the point that evened the scores at 56 apiece. Coach Anthony Keung’s ACM team wasn’t done though, as they finished out the third quarter to the tune of 26-12, easing a seven-point deficit, and replacing it with their own seven-point lead.

It wasn’t game-over though. It only took three minutes for Daniel Green’s team to erase the margin and an exciting game followed, as seven ties or lead changes ensued. Unfortunately for Waikato, Ezra Simmons fouled out with three minutes to go in regulation, adding more pressure to his teammates lot. Thompson Karena-Reed hit the final field goal of the game just before the 2:00 mark, tying the game at 79 all. The Aruwa brothers (Samson and Samuel) then split a pair of free throws each for ACM, which ultimately ended up being the two points that decided the game in their favour.

ACM had five players reach double figures: Samuel Aruwa (18 points, 12 rebounds); Sioeli Vaiangina (12 points, 10 rebounds); Samson Aruwa (12 points, 9 rebounds); Zarne Leuluai-Hughes (12 points); Tevita Latu (10 points). In contrast, Waikato’s scoring was a bit more focused, with Thompson Karena-Reed (25 points) and Ezra Simmons (23 points, 6 assists) leading the way, with Thomas Power hitting 10 points too for Waikato. 

Final Score ACM 81-79 Waikato.

U19 Finals Coverage

The Women’s and Men’s Championship games are scheduled for 3pm and 4:45pm respectively, Saturday 23 July (tomorrow), with live streaming available on 

Under 15 National Championships IN Wellington

The finalists for the Basketball New Zealand Under 15 National Championships were decided today in Wellington with Harbour A meeting Waikato in the girl’s event, and Harbour A taking on Wellington in the boy’s event.

U15 Girls First Semi Final – Canterbury V Harbour A

Harbour A Girls progressed to tomorrow’s final following their 95-83 win over Harbour’s star pairing of Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu and Emilia Shearer both had strong performances, helping to stride away to a healthy winning margin in the final quarter.

U15 Girls First Semi Final –  Waikato V Taranaki

Waikato secured the second spot in tomorrow’s final after holding off Taranaki to win their semi-final 72-56. Coach Tyler Wilkinson says the team has been pushed throughout the last three days of competition and ensuring the team brings energy to the final will be a big factor. 

“It’s a hard schedule for these kids. Two games a day plus the turnaround this morning, from last night to nine o’clock this morning and then 2:15pm. But we make sure we keep their fitness levels up all through the year, and that’s what’s sustaining them now,” said Wilkinson.

U15 Boys First Semi Final – Pamerston North V Harbour A 

Harbour A Boys comfortably saw off Palmerston North to win the first of the Boys semi-finals. Harbour were up by a huge 28-points at half-time, so Harbour Coach Zac Fitzgerald was able to rest his starters for the majority of the second half, in what Fitzgerald believes will be a vital advantage heading into Saturday’s final.

“It’s good to share the minutes around and keep everybody fresh for tomorrow. That way we can come out and really be the best that we can.”

U15 Boys Second Semi-Final – Wellington V Waikato

Friday’s later semi-final was a contrast to its earlier, with Wellington edging Waikato 66-65. Despite missing many of their late free-throws, the host city held on resulting in a delighted coach, Jayden Smith.

“It was just so special because I could see the boys really wanted it.

“Against Canterbury we dug deep and now, as we’ve just seen against Waikato, we held on to get this really crucial win to move onto tomorrow’s grand final.”

U15s Coverage

All finals can be seen live at on Saturday 23 July, with the Girl’s Final at 2:30pm and the Boy’s Final at 4.15pm.