The ‘AA’ Finalists have been found at the 2019 Schick Secondary Schools National Championships in Palmerston North on Friday.
The finals will feature two teams aiming to go back-to-back. St Peter’s School, Cambridge will be looking to win a second consecutive girls’ title with Rosmini College looking for a three-peat in the boys’ tournament.
St Peter’s defeated Westlake Girls’ High School 84-52 in the first girls’ semi-final while Hamilton Girls’ High School made it an all Waikato affair by seeing off the challenge of St Mary’s College, Ponsonby with a 73-56 victory.
St Kentigern College will play in their first ‘AA’ Boys Schick final after defeating Mt Albert Grammar School 59-54 where they will meet defending champions Rosmini who beat Cashmere High School 87-69 in the second semi-final.
GIRLS ‘AA’ SEMI-FINALS
In the first ‘AA’ Girls’ semi-final, St Peter’s comfortably accounted for Westlake to move into the championship game for a fifth successive year.
Westlake overcame a slow start where they trailed by nine points at one stage to close within two points (19-17) at quarter-time helped by nine points from Emme Shearer.
Shearer scored again early in the second but it was a period dominated by St Peter’s, as Ella Bradley, Charlisse Leger-Walker and Waiata Jennings capitalised on some sloppy Westlake turnovers. The trio hit double figures at the interval with St Peter’s ahead 40-23.
Jennings scored the opening basket of the third but Westlake produced a scoring surge to reduce the deficit to manageable proportions (46-35). A drive from Jess Moors, an inside basket from Emma Pugh and a brace of threes from Jordyn Maddix raised the spirits of the Westlake fans.
However, Jennings continued her scoring spree and when Dominique Stephens scored on consecutive plays to close the quarter St Peter’s were back in control leading 62-39.
Shearer knocked down her second three of the game but Ledger-Walker answered in kind as St Peter’s eased to the win and another grand-final appearance.
St Peter’s will head into the final on Saturday in a reasonably confident mood having won 45 of their last 47 games at the Schick Champs.
St Peter’s 84 – C Leger-Walker 27, W Jennings 25, E Bradley 15, D Stephens 12
Westlake 52 – J Maddix 14, E Shearer 13, J Moors 13, E Pugh 8
In the second girls’ semi-final, Hamilton guard Riva Walker-Pitman was almost unstoppable as she piled in 43 points. The 2012 Schick Champions made a quick start, jumping out to an 8-2 lead with Koha Lewis scoring a couple of baskets. Seven points from Riana Matiseni got St Mary’s within five at quarter-time trailing 18-13.
Jazz Kailahi-Fulu scored a couple of baskets inside the paint for St Mary’s but Walker-Pitman was the first player into double figures as her team led 26-21 at the mid-point of the second.
St Mary’s reeled off eight of the next ten points, Leata Te Nana-Willims putting them into the lead (29-28) for the first time in the game before the impressive Walker-Pitman tied proceeding at 30 points apiece with the last play of the first half.
The battle between Walker-Pitman and Matiseni was an intriguing one, the later putting St Mary’s up 34-32. However, that was a signal for Hamilton to make a run and did so by scoring the next 15 points – four to Sydney Neale and the remainder to the irrepressible Walker-Pitman.
Jazz Kailahi-Fulu halted the Hamilton onslaught but Hamilton was in control at the last break leading 50-38.
Hamilton made another run at the start of the final quarter and when Keyani Leith scored from deep their lead was 61-42 and an all Waikato final was locked in.
Hamilton Girls 73 – R Walker-Pitman 43, K Lewis 8, K Leith 7, A Waretini 6
St Mary’s 56 – J Kailahi-Fulu 18/14r, R Matiseni 17, L Te Nana-Williams 6, Z Kailahi-Fulu 5
‘AA’ BOYS’ SEMI-FINALS
Unheralded small forward Elliot Watson made some critical plays in the final two minutes to help propel St Kentigern College to a narrow 59-54 win against Auckland rivals Mt Albert Grammar School.
With Mt Albert down by just four points (55-51) with three minutes to play and threatening an upset, Watson made his move. Firstly, he knocked down a corner three to push the margin out to seven points.
On his team’s next possession, Watson grabbed his fifth offensive rebound of the game and with Mt Albert desperate to get off a quality shot he came up with a crucial defensive stop.
Mt Albert guard Sataan Tawera (18 points) dropped his third three of the game but there was not enough time for further incursions and St Kent’s advanced to their first-ever Schick Champs Grand-Final.
Earlier Mt Albert had enjoyed the best of the opening minutes, leading 15-11 against the Auckland Premier regular-season champions.
The second quarter began with an 10-0 run by St Kentigern, a corner three from Martin Gan putting his team ahead for the first time in the game.
Mt Albert was held scoreless for the first six minutes of the period until Nate Wilson knocked down a jumper from the elbow. Shalom Broughton (20 points) led all scorers at the interval with 11 points – St Kentigern ahead 30-22.
Josh Leger and Tawera scored the opening baskets of the second half before Levick Kerr replied for St Kent’s with a pair of inside buckets.
Both teams were struggling to make baskets before Mt Albert guard Phoenix Sorensen unfurled back-to-back threes to make it a one-possession game at three-quarter-time; 44-42 in favour of St Kent’s.
Tawera and Dakota Stephens triples tied proceedings at 48 points apiece and although Alex McNaught converted an And-1 play to restore their lead, St Kent’s were still looking over their collective shoulders.
Up stepped Watson to quell the nerves and ensure St Kentigern didn’t lose at the semi-final stage for the second year in a row.
St Kentigern College 59 – S Broughton 20/10r, L Kerr 13/10r, K Evans 13, A McNaught 5/8a
Mt Albert Grammar 54 – S Tawera 18, J Leger 13/12r, P Sorensen 8, N Wilson 7/12r
Cashmere centre Thomas Webley (24 points and 20 rebounds), the ‘AA’ Boys leading scorer at the tournament, produced a performance that would help win most games but it wasn’t to be as Rosmini, in a game where they gave up just six turnovers, proved too good on the night.
Cashmere scored the first six points of the game, but Jayden Boucher’s nine points gave Rosmini the edge at quarter-time with a 22-16 lead.
A 7-0 Cashmere run, that included a triple from William Russ-Hofmans propelled Cashmere back into the lead. Webley was soon into double figures in both points and rebounds, but a pair of threes from Sean Murphy plus another from Cian Emery helped Rosmini to a 37-29 advantage.
Alfie May scored from beyond the arc just before the interval to reduce the Cashmere deficit to five points at the half (37-32).
Louis Oskam tied the score at 41 apiece as Cashmere again made the better start out of the break. Reihana Maxwell-Topia sunk a floater in the lane, Taine Murray scored from deep and when Reimar Cruz scored a Cashmere timeout was necessary with the Cantabrians 50-41 adrift.
Finn Barclay’s five points helped Cashmere after the resumption, but eight points from Tall Black Taine Murray, including a pair of threes, gave Rosmini a 63-47 three-quarter-time nod.
Cashmere guard Oki Tilaia kept Cashmere’s hopes alive early in the fourth, but their grand-final aspirations were buried under an avalanche of points from Cruz, Murphy and Murray.
Webley and Oskam continued to be a threat in the closing minutes, however, the night belonged to the defending champions.
Cashmere 69 – T Webley 24/20, F Barclay 13, L Oskam 11, O Tilaia 9, W Russ-Hofmans 6
Rosmini College 87 – T Murray 26, R Maxwell-Topia 17, S Murphy 16/13, J Boucher 13, R Cruz 8
The draw, pools and future live stream timings can be found here.
Results from today’s fixtures will be updated after each round and can be found at the link below.
‘A’ Tournament Dates: September 30 – October 3 – click here
‘AA’ Tournament Dates: September 30 – October 5 – click here
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