Aon Under 17 Nationals Finalists Found

The finalists at the 2019 Aon U17 National Championships, being held at Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland have been found.

Waitaha Canterbury A, will meet Waitakere West in the final of the Boys’ Tournament whilst the final of the Girls’ Tournament will feature Hutt Valley and Waikato. Both grand finals will be broadcast live on Sky Sport Pop-Up 4 from tomorrow (Saturday 3pm and 4:45pm), as well as on and the @BasketballNZ Facebook page.


Josh Book produced an outstanding fourth quarter shooting display to lead Waitaha Canterbury A to an 87-68 victory against defending champions Wellington in the first boys’ semi-final.

Book scored 18 points, making 6 from 6 from the field in the last ten minutes as Canterbury bossed the final quarter.

With Ben Gold (21 points) and Tafara Gapare threatening to cut lose Wellington were only six points adrift at the three-quarter mark trailing 58-52.

Gold, Gapare and Kaleb McDonald kept Wellington in touch in the early stages of the final stanza. However Canterbury increased the defensive effort and at the offensive end got production out of the impressive Gregory Rodger (18 points) and Tane Lavery (17 points).

However Book saved his best until the last his four triples sealed the deal.

Wellington 68 – B Gold 31/12r, T Gapare 17/9r, K Lolesio 6, K McDonald 5
Waitaha Canterbury A 87 – J Book 29, G Rodger 18, , T Lavery 17/15r, R Pringle 10, W Brown 8

In the second boys’ semi-final Waitakere West won the Auckland derby beating North Harbour 85-68 on the back of polished contributions from Dontae Russo-Nance (14 points) and 16 points each from Ethan Skelton and Lucas Payne.

Waitakere West were quick out of the blocks forging a 25-20 opening quarter lead.

Phoenix Sorenson and Tautoko Wynyard were causing Harbour problems on the offensive glass – Waitakere in charge at half-time ahead 49-31. Harbour guard Jett Thompson, on his way to a game high 23 points, had 15 of those at the interval – Payne making a dozen in a well-balanced Waitakere effort.

Harbour started well in the third trimming the deficit to 11 points but another 9-0 Waitakere run initiated by Russo-Nance put their opponents on the back foot. Five points each in the period from Thompson, Paorah Winitana Jnr and Zach Riley kept Harbour afloat as they trailed 68-54 at three-quarter time.

It was 73-63 in favour of Waitakere at the mid-point of the fourth and 79-68 with two minutes to play.

However with Wynyard bossing the boards and Skelton and Russo-Nance applying the finishing touches Waitakere held their composure to close out a deserved win.

Waitakere West 85 – E Skelton 16/6a, L Payne 16/9r, Russo-Nance 14, P Sorenson 11, W Coulibaly 11, T Wynyard 9/14
Harbour 68 – J Thompson 23, P Winitana 13, Z Riley 12/11r/7a, P Maxwell-Topia 6, E Priest 6

In the first girls’ semi-final Jyordanna Davey, fresh off a strong performance for Wellington at the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) last week, produced a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to help Hutt Valley to a 65-58 victory against Otago.

Hutt Valley produced a strong fourth quarter overturning a four-point deficit to win the period 24-13 and advance to the Grand-Final.

Otago captain Annabelle Ring (18 points and 20 rebounds) led all scorers at half-time with 13 points as her team forged a 30-27 lead after trailing 15-13 after the opening quarter.

Anita Samasoni’ and Libby Briggs (16 points) gave Otago the initiative early in the third period as they moved out to a ten-point lead.

Tayla-Kei Rahuia-Laulau (17 points) and Christina Wen (13 points) helped Hutt reduce the deficit at the three-quarter mark to just four points (45-41).

With six minutes to play the Otago advantage was just a single point (50-49) – Rahuia-Laulau then gave Hutt into the lead and from there they never looked back.

Otago 58 – A Ring 18/20r, L Briggs 16, A Samasoni 9, A Harris 7/9r
Hutt Valley 65 – T Rahui-Laulau 17, J Davey 15/10r, C Wen 13, T Remuera 8

An equally tight second girls’ semi-final was won 66-61 by Waikato.

When Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu (11 points and 10 rebounds) put Harbour ahead 59-57 with three minutes to play it looked as if the hosts might progress to the final.

However Leila Hemi-Ta’Ala made an And-1 play on the next possession to restore the Waikato lead. With 1:45 to play Alana Paewai made a Waikato win more likely with a long three and when Breeje Schuler secured a critical offensive rebound for Hemi-Ta’Ala to score from the additional possession Waikato had booked a place in Saturday’s final.

The early stages were edged by Harbour as they won the opening frame 18-11, before leading 33-29 at half-time on the back of 9 points from forward Alex Moore. Also on 9 points was Waikato guard Jayze’lee Waihi (21 points and 9 rebounds).

In a tight contest the scores were locked at 36 points apiece in the middle of the third before four straight points from Waihi gave Waikato the lead. Quaizden Stephano led the Harbour reply – Waikato 45-43 ahead at three-quarter time.

It was basket for basket early in the fourth before Waikato made their move in the last three minutes to seal victory.

Waikato 66 – J Waihi 21/9r, A Paewai 12, L Hemi-Ta’Ala 12, R Anderson 11, B Schuler 8/12r
Harbour 61 – Q Stephano 12, Z Kailahi-Fulu 11/10r, F Dallow 10, A Moore 9, S Barnard 7


Basketball New Zealand would like to acknowledge the continued support of major sponsor Aon. 

About Aon: Aon is a leading global professional services firm with 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries. In New Zealand, Aon is the leading provider of insurance broking, risk management and associated services with over 950 staff in 65 offices, managing renewal placements and related revenues in excess of NZD $1 billion. For more information about Aon’s sponsorship of Basketball New Zealand please visit the website here: or email