The GJ Gardiner Homes Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa Round 1 game at Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre on Monday featured two teams with season opening wins behind them.
It was Northern Kāhu that would go on to register victory number two beating Tokomanawa Queens 80-61.
Guard Tahlia Tupaea (19 points), as she had in the win at Southern Hoiho, saved her best until late. The Australian served up 9 points and some defence splitting passes, as the Kāhu pulled away in the last five minutes of an entertaining contest.
When Argentinian international Florencia Chagas (15 points) knocked down her third three of the game and Grace Hunter made consecutive scores it was 64-53 at the mid-point of the fourth and the Queens were very much in the hunt.
However Tupaea immediately drained a deep three and followed that with heads-up passes for Micaela Cocks (20 points) and Tera Reed (16 points) to score in transition and thwart the Queens chances of a road win.
There was time for Allyah Dunn to score her first points of the season but the sting had been taken out of the Queens challenge by then.
Earlier the Kāhu, backing up from a game in Dunedin on Sunday, made a slow start giving up a 7-2 lead but when Micaela Cocks scored in transition they had a 10-9 advantage - Krystal Leger-Walker dropped a buzzer beating three as the hosts closed the opening frame with a 19-11 lead.
Josie Trousdell and Chagas made incisions for the Queens before Olivia Berry and Detroit born Marté Grays found answers.
Tupaea pushed the Kāhu lead to double figures however Stella Beck landed a corner three soon after to keep Queens in the hunt (33-24).
Hunter, on her birthday, scored with an athletic drive but was forced to the bench after incurring a third foul soon after – Kāhu ahead 39-28 at half-time.
Swedish international centre Elin Gustavsson (16 points) made the opening score of the second half to initiate the Queens 9-2 opening to the period.
A Chagas three sustained the Queens momentum before Cocks nailed a much needed corner three for the Kāhu – their lead just two possessions (48-42).
Jacinta Beckley scored her first points of the contes but scores from Reed and Berry restored the hosts double digit advantage; 60-48 at three-quarter time.
The home crowd sensed a tight finish but Tupaea and the Kāhu had other ideas.
Head Coaches Jody Cameron and Tania Tupu, former Tall Ferns teammates, went head to head in this one. Cameron emerged with bragging rights and, for 24-hours at least, the top spot on the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa ladder for her charges.
SCORE: Northern Kāhu 80, Tokomanawa Queens 61
Kāhu: Cocks 20 PTS | Tupaea 19 PTS | Reed 16 PTS | Greys 8 PTS | Berry 8 PTS
Queens: Gustavsson 16 PTS | Chagas 15 PTS | Beck 9 PTS | Trousdell 8 PTS | Hunter 7 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Tahlia Tupaea (Kāhu) - 9 votes
Elin Gustavsson (Queens) - 5 votes
Jazz Kailahi-Fulu (Kāhu) - 5 votes
Micaela Cocks (Kāhu) - 3 votes
Olivia Berry (Kāhu) - 3 votes
Tera Reed (Kāhu) - 2 votes
Josie Trousdell (Queens) - 2 votes
Florencia Chagas (Queens) - 1 vote
Kāhu – July 9 @ Mainland Pouākai
Queens - July 10 vs. Southern Hoiho
Round 1 Tauihi Schedule