Champions found at Under 23 Nationals

The champions have been found at the 2019 Under 23 National Basketball Championships held at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.

The Men’s Final saw Hutt Valley/Wellington defeat Manawatu 93-74 whilst

Waikato won a fourth consecutive Women’s Championship defeating Otago 72-62.

Hutt Valley/Wellington were paced by Tournament MVP Sione Helu’s 23 points and with Jordan Hunt (17 points), Thomas Gold (15 points) and Finn McClure (18 points) making telling contributions they pulled away from Manawatu in the second half to record a deserved victory.

Earlier an entertaining opening spell saw Hutt Valley/Wellington open up a 27-23 lead which they increased to 45-37 by half-time with Helu scoring a dozen points. Also in double figures at the break was Manawatu’s Tama Faamausili on his way to a game high 25 points.

Just four points separated the teams after a Haize Walker (10 points and 12 rebounds) basket midway through the third quarter but Hutt Valley/Wellington, on the back of a brace of threes from Tom Gold, finished the quarter with a 13-2 run to lead 70-53 with ten minutes to play.

Jordan Hunt and Faamausili exchanged threes to open the final period and Jake McKinlay chipped in with a score but Manawatu ran out of gas in the fourth and when Dion Yee knocked down a corner three the “Valley-Welly” lead was in excess of twenty points and the trophy in the hands of the boys from the capital.

Hutt Valley/Wellington 93– S Helu 23/5a, F McClure 18/10r, J Hunt 17, T Gold 15, C Le’aupepe 10
Manawatu 74 – T Faamausili 25, J McKinlay 13, H Walker 10/12r, J Henry 10, S Selby-Law 10

Counties Manukau beat Harbour 110-107 in the 3rd/4thplay-off game.

Men’s All-Star Five:

Tama Faamausili, Jake McKinlay (both Manawatu), Shem Ili (Counties Manukau), Jordan Hunt, Sione Helu (both Hutt Valley Wellington).

MVP – Sione Helu

In a repeat of the 2016 Grand Final Waikato took on Otago in the Women’s Championship game and once again it was Waikato that prevailed winning 72-62.

The win was orchestrated by 2018 Tall Fern Alyssa Hirawani (15 points) with terrific support from Tournament MVP Ella Bradley (20 points) and Zarya Poulava who produced a double-double of 16 points (7/13FG) and 10 rebounds.

The Tall Ferns duo of Nicole Ruske (24 points) and Zoe Richards (12 points and 8 rebounds) were prominent for Otago in a losing cause.

Waikato edged ahead 14-12 in the opening quarter and despite 13 first half points from Nicole Ruske they had increased that advantage to 32-27 by half-time.

The pool game between the two teams had ended with a three-point win for Waikato but they were in no mood for such a close contest in the final and took charge of proceedings in the third period. With Poulava, Bradley and Hirawani consistently finding their way to basket Waikato won the period 25-10 to lay one hand on the trophy.

Twenty points behind Otago mounted a creditable comeback in the fourth, as Jennifer O’Connell and Aleisha Ruske foved into double figure, but it wasn’t enough to threaten Waikato’s march to a fourth consecutive U23 title.

Waikato 72– E Bradley 20, Z Poulava 16/10r, A Hirawani 15, K Lewis 8
Otago 62– N Ruske 24, Z Richards 12, A Ruske 10, J O’Connell 10, A Ring 5/9r

Canterbury beat Auckland Dream 73-54 in the 3rd/4thplay-off game.

Women’s All-Star Five:

Ella Bradley, Alyssa Hirawani (both Waikato), Lauryn Hippolite (Canterbury), Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Dream), Nicole Ruske (Otago)

MVP – Ella Bradley

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