Waikato secured both the Girls’ and Boys’ Aon Under 15 National titles last year and remain on target to repeat that success in 2020.
With both teams enjoying the benefit of home support, they will embark on semi-final games on Monday morning with both teams carrying the favourite’s tag.
Waikato remains undefeated after a 77-60 quarter-final victory over Otago and will take on Counties Manukau in the semi-final. Counties beat Tauranga by an almost identical scoreline (77-61).
In the other half of the draw, Auckland pounded Manawatu 74-48 and will match up against cross-town rivals Waitakere West in the second semi-final. In a tight contest, Waitakere beat Waitaha Canterbury 66-61 in the fourth quarter-final.
Waikato 77 – John Anderson 18, Kashius Farmer 15, Caelys-Paul Putoko 11
Otago 60 – Dylan Pledger 15, Caleb Forde 12, George Grant 12, Noah McDowell 12
Auckland 74 – Keller Young 14, William Shortt 14, Barri Merimo 11, Harri Coker-Grey 10
Manawatu 48 – Griffyn Duerksen-Kapao 9, Ezra Davis 8, Jordan Herewini 8
Waitaha Canterbury 61 – Nic Book 21, Louie Gordon 19,
Waitakere West 66 – Michael Ropotini 15, Dante Matakatea 14, Ashton Bennett 11, Silas Viliamu 10
Counties Manukau 77 – Henry Duckworth 18, George Turner 14, William Ikahihifo 13
Tauranga 61 – Usher Nikorima Ngarama Robson 23, Hohepa Chandler 13, Landen Monks 8, Beau Miller 8
The Grand Finalists in 2019 were Waikato and Wellington and a rematch in 2020 is still a possibility.
In the semi-finals on Monday morning Wellington, runners-up last year, will take on Rotorua whilst the lone South Island representative Otago will face Waikato.
In the quarter-finals on Sunday, Wellington saw off a committed Northland team 74-61 as defending champions Waikato brushed aside Hawkes Bay 99-38.
The other two quarter-finals were three-point games with Otago pipping Taranaki (74-71) and Rotorua edging out Wataha Canterbury 69-66.
Wellington 74 – Rangituturu Tawera 23, Lilly Taulelei 13, Holly Morgan 10,
Northland 61 – Riley Tepania 13, Mahina-A-Rangi Kukutai-Wairau 12, Terina Cameron-Tana 11, Shakani Murray 11
Otago 74 – Laura Ring 21, Shylah Beattie 14, Elise Carline 9
Taranaki 71 – Hannah Lee 23, Bethany Cook 22, Jorja Eldershaw 14
Waikato 99 – Ripeka Edwards 19, Tannika Leger-Walker 18, Caitlyn Ward 13, Cassidy Lacey-Rameka 11, Maryam Harahap 10
Hawkes Bay 38 – Tia Mataira 10, Suraiya Rewi 8, Teina Tuhi 8
Waitaha Canterbury 66 – Ivy Brown 22, Ashlyn Rean 18, Karereatua Williams 14
Rotorua 69 – Nicole Ferguson 20, Carly Ohia 15, Alyssa Webster 9, Mufaro Mapengo 9
Finals day will be live streamed and shown on the BBNZ website. The games will be password protected with only parents and selected supporters able to watch games. The age of the players is the reason for the protection.
The second day of the Aon Under 17 National Championships ended tonight and with it came the knowledge of which teams are still in contention for their respective title games at Cowles Stadium tomorrow evening.
The Under 17 Girls final will be contested by those in top spot in the grade’s two pools, with Waikato already a lock after the completion of their round robin. Last year’s winners failed to drop a match heading into day three, winning all four of their games by a margin of at least 28 points.
They will most likely meet Hutt Valley in the grand finale, even though the Wellington-based side still have one game to play before the playoff. Harbour are the only other team with a mathematical chance, but would need to beat Rotorua tomorrow, hope Hutt Valley lose to Auckland and somehow have that all happen in a way that erases a 90-point for and against differential.
Quarter-final number one in the boys’ tournament was between Auckland and Taranaki, where the northerners capitalised on their foes’ errors to finish the match 94-70 to the good. Auckland led by 21 by the halfway mark in the opening spell, thanks in large part to their ability to jump the passing lanes and quickly convert in transition.
They also shared the load on offence, with six players ending the encounter with double-digit in scoring. Luka Vea (19p &12r) and Jaskran Singh (25p & 15r) turned in loftiest performances for the winners. Taranaki’s Carlin Davidson (14p & 23r) and Jakob Carr (26p & 8r) were honourable mentions, but their efforts weren’t enough to overcome Auckland’s defence or their team’s 23 turnovers.
Fans would have to wait another round before seeing a more even fixture, as Waitaha-Canterbury made light work of Harbour in the late afternoon with an 111-81 win. The boys from across the bridge were only down four with just as many minutes to go in the first ten minutes, but 13 unanswered points from Waitaha-Canterbury got their wheels in motion.
The hosts built on their lead in the second with another big run and four minutes into it they had twice as many in the scoring column as their opponents. Just like the victors before them, Waitaha-Canterbury were relentless at their own end of the floor and showed a willingness to make the extra pass when on the other side of the court.
Four of the five starters finished around the 20-point mark, the exception being Tanae Lavery (15p, 7r & 7a). The guard couldn’t help himself at times and accumulated fouls but produced several highlights with his scoring and distribution. Harbour Head Coach Norman Fong should be proud of his troops as they battled to the bitter end, only the contest was all but decided by halftime.
Waitakere West overcame a 19-point deficit to give themselves an opportunity to claim back-to-back titles after toppling Wellington 91-87. The latterly mentioned got off to a red-hot start from downtown, knocking down seven treys to give notch a 37-21 lead going into the first break. Atop the list of the most homed in from three was Harley Troke, who hit his all three of his long attempts in the period.
As mentioned, the buffer grew slightly larger, but it didn’t appear to faze Waitakere the way those up on them would’ve liked. Their even-keel temperament saw them cut the cushion to nine with two to go before the half’s end. Smiles from the Aucklander’s bench wouldn’t last until the oranges though, as Wellington’s Tafara Gapare (22p & 16r) surged late and teammate Patrick Freeman hit a buzzer beating triple to push the advantage back to double-figures.
Waitakere were the aggressor after the oranges and after tightening it up under their own hoop, they evened the scoring totals at 60 all midway through the quarter. Gapare would stop the bleeding momentarily with a pair of buckets, however, Waitakere kept their foot on the gas and finger rolled their way into the driver’s seat as time expired in the third.
The trading of blows would continue in the final 10 minutes as Wellington looked to take what had been theirs for most of the game. They got within four points numerous times, only to be pushed back on the next possession. Offensive lapses opened the door for the trailers with less than 30 seconds on the clock, but last year’s MVP Dontae Russo-Nance (23p & 13r) iced the game with a pair of free throws.
Waikato were the last team to confirm their ticket in tomorrow’s semi-finals with a 97-57 victory over fellow mid-northern association, Tauranga. Both teams struggled to find any cohesion on offence early in the piece, even with lacklustre defence being played on both ends. Despite the lack of fluidity, the red and blacks were up 12 going into the first interval.
The play in the following spell was like that before it, with both sides failing to convert on a number of scoring opportunities. Kazlo Evans (19p & 4r) and Akiva McBirney Griffin (10p & 11r) were efficient when with the ball in hand, although the pair looked more intent on throwing the ball to their teammates than at the hoop.
That would change in the second half, as the two recorded multiple three-point plays between them. Those along with contributions from Oliver White and Ezra Smiler pushed what was an 18-point lead out to 30 by the last break.
Waikato emptied the bench in the fourth to give their starters some extra rest ahead of their big clash tomorrow morning, where they will look to join their female counterparts in the big dance. The final round robin games for the girls in Pool B will be what gets final day of the Under 17 National Championships underway at 9am tomorrow, with all the finals to follow at Cowles Stadium. The finals are being live streamed and will be shown on the BBNZ website.
- The Aon Under 15 National Championships will be held at Hamilton Boys’ High School, St John’s College, Fraser High School in Hamilton, and Cambridge High School in Cambridge from 24-26 October.
- The Aon Under 17 National Championships will be held in Christchurch at Cowles Stadium and Bishopdale YMCA from 24-26 October.
- Results from games at both tournaments can be viewed here. The live stream will be up on finals day here.
- Keep up to date with all the basketball action from around the country at www.nz.basketball and by following @BasketballNZ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #AonNats