Photo credit: University of Hawaii
It’s been a good week for the Fotu household with Gabriella ‘Ella’ Fotu the latest member of the basketball playing family to make headlines. Last week it was brothers Isaac and Daniel in the news, this week there is a championship for Ella to celebrate.
The junior forward played a prominent role for Hawaii Pacific University Sharks as they clinched the 2018 NCAA Division II PacWest Conference Women’s Tournament Championship on Sunday (NZ time).
Ella made a couple of critical three point plays as she scored 12 points and added 3 steals in a tight 77-71 win against Point Loma University in the final played in Riverside, California.
The Sharks had established a 14 points lead in the first half but saw that disappear in the second. Point Loma led 68-64 with three minutes to play before Fotu made a pair of telling plays. She dropped a triple to narrow the deficit to one and followed that with another three to regain the lead for the Sharks – one they would hold until the final buzzer.
The Sharks have had a hugely successful season boasting a programme best 26-3 season capped by a second PacWest title in four years. Ella has been at the heart of their success playing all 29 games, averaging 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal per outing.
Earlier in the week older brother Isaac was outstanding for the Tall Blacks as they recorded a brace of wins in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
The Germany based forward produced 8 points and 6 rebounds as New Zealand stunned China winning 82-73 on their home court. Isaac produced an even bigger hand in the 94-83 win in Korea last Monday coming up with a big double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.
There was more reason to celebrate in the victory against Korea as Dan Fotu came on late in the game to make his Tall Blacks debut.
Like Ella, and Isaac (University of Hawaii) before her, 18 year-old Dan will also be heading to the States to further his career embarking on a four year basketball scholarship at St Mary’s College, California later this year.
With youngest sibling Jacob rising through the North Harbour age group ranks the success of the Fotu’s is far from over.