The Tokomanawa Queens have remained hot with an 80-79 win over the Northern Kāhu for their fifth straight victory.
The Queens were getting it done on both ends in the first quarter led by Jaime Nared's 12 points. Their 24-14 lead came on the back of some hot shooting from Nared with a pair of 3-pointers. Both teams had seven turnovers a piece in the first quarter, but it was the Kāhu's 5-14 shooting from the field that had them in a hole.
Northern found their footing in the second quarter with a 12-6 run over the first four minutes. The Queens had cooled off and Tall Fern Micaela Cocks powered the resurgence for the Kāhu. She had 11 points in the first half.
The Queens did a good job to steady themselves and held a 41-32 lead at the half behind 16 points and six rebounds from American Nared. Neither team got it going from beyond the arc in the first half - the Queens shot 3-of-11 and the Kāhu were 1-of-8.
MVP candidate Tahlia Tupaea showed why she's one of the favourites with a dominant third quarter. She worked her way up to 19 points and put the Kāhu in front 62-61 heading into the fourth.
Fellow import Jaime Nared was doing her thing for the Queens with 23 points. The Queens were doing a great job getting to the line in this one but shot just 15-of-24 through three quarters.
It was back-and-forth to begin the fourth until Josie Trousdell made her presence felt with a monster swat on one end and a shot to beat to shot clock buzzer at the other. That put the Queens up 72-69 with 4:28 to play in the game and it seemed the momentum had swung their way, but the top of the table Kāhu weren't done yet as they clawed back to lead 77-76 with 1:35 on the clock.
The Queens regained the lead on the back of a pair of Jaime Nared free throws with 8.2 seconds left and that would be enough to give them their second straight win over the Kāhu.
Nared was sensational for the Queens with a game-high 29 points to go with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Florencia Chagas and Grace Hunter each scored 12 points, while Elin Gustavsson dropped 13. Tokomanawa shot just 4-of-16 from three in the game but made 53% of their shots inside the arc - their 18-of-29 clip at the line will almost certainly be highlighted by coach Tania Tupu ahead of the Final 4 next week, though.
The Queens overcame 19 turnovers to hold on for the narrow win, but they'll need to tidy that up along with their free throw shooting if they meet the Kāhu again in Nelson.
For the Kāhu, they'll be hopeful to have Tera Reed and Madison Wolf back prior to next week but first they'll head home to face the Mainland Pouākai at Eventfinda Stadium. Tupaea's 24 points and Micaela Cocks' 21 wasn't quite enough to get them the win, but there will be a lot to take away from this one regardless of the result for coach Jody Cameron and her squad.
SCORE: Queens 80, Kāhu 79
Queens: Nared 29 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL | Gustavsson 13 PTS, 9 REB | Chagas 12 PTS, 4 STL | Hunter 12 PTS
Kāhu: Tupaea 24 PTS | Cocks 21 PTS, 8-12 FG
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Jaime Nared (Queens) - 7 votes
Tahlia Tupaea (Kāhu) - 6 votes
Micaela Cocks (Kāhu) - 6 votes
Josie Trousdell (Queens) - 4 votes
Florencia Chagas (Queens) - 3 votes
Marte Grays (Kāhu) - 3 votes
Grace Hunter (Queens) - 1 vote
Queens - Final 4
Kāhu – Aug 21 vs. Mainland Pouākai
Round 7 Tauihi Schedule