The GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa Grand Finalists have been found following Saturday’s semi-finals played at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.
Sunday’s championship game will be a repeat of the 2022 Tauihi final with BNZ Northern Kāhu taking on ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens.
In the first semi-final Kāhu defeated Whai 105-80 with the second semi a much closer affair edged 96-89 by the defending champions.
Semi-Final 1: BNZ Northern Kāhu 105, Whai 80
A season high 29 points (9/13FG, 9/11FT) from Tera Reed plus other major contributions from Tess Madgen, Ilmar’I Thomas and Penina Davidson propelled BNZ Northern Kāhu to a convincing 105-80 win against northern rivals Whai.
Madgen, the Australian Opals skipper added 9 assists to 28 points, Thomas secured 10 rebounds to accompany 26 points while Tall Fern centre Davidson also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite incurring foul trouble McKenna Dale enhanced her growing reputation, making 6 from 10 threes for a team high 26 point for Whai. Aaliyah Wilson scored 18 points and Mikayla Cowling made 19 but it was a contest that Reed and Kāhu dominated.
Reed scored 13 first quarter points although with Whai making four triples, two of them from Matangiroa Flavell (9 points), the two teams shared the spoils in the opening ten minutes, the scores locked at 22 points each.
Madgen made her first points of the game – nine of them – Kāhu ahead 34-29 at the mid-point of the second.
Dale and Flavell went back to back from deep but Azure Anderson and Madgen had the final say in the period, as the Kāhu took a 51-35 lead into the half-time break.
Dale made her third three of the contest but immediately picked up her fifth foul and headed to the bench.
Aaliyah Wilson made a couple of offensive incursions but it was another period that belonged to the regular season champions as they stretched out to a 76-51 lead.
Whai plugged away in the fourth but the damage had already been incurred.
Semi-Final 2: Southern Hoiho 89, ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens 96
In front of their home support ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens eventually saw off a tenacious Southern Hoiho to book their place in Sunday’s final with a 96-89 victory.
Queens owed the win to a stellar fourth quarter performance from their skipper Stella Beck who, with the game tied at 61 points apiece, scored seven points and controlled proceedings down the stretch as the Queens held off a valiant effort from the Hoiho.
The Hoiho, despite being without Tauihi MVP Ashten Prechtel, competed to the final whistle and received stirring performances from a number of players, non-more than Australian guard Ahlise Hurst who scored a season high 32 points. Zoe Richards had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, Paige Bradley scored 20 points with Tyler Mitchell contributing a career high 16 points.
Beck finished with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals while Chrislyn Carr, on fire early, scored a Queens franchise best 35 points. Steph Watts (15 points) and Tegan Graham (13 points) were also double figure performers.
Hurst made 10 first quarter points but All-Star 5 guard Carr scored a stunning 18 points on 6 from 8 shooting as Queens opened up a 23-14 opening quarter lead.
Hurst knocked down a timely three for Hoiho but Carr and Watts converted from deep also, as the Queens advantage rose to 16 points. Bradley and Hurst led the response as Hoiho reeled off 11 unanswered points – the deficit 40-34 at half-time.
Hoiho enjoyed a purple patch early in the third with Samara Gallaher and Tyler Mitchell taking Hoiho to a 52-49 lead.
It was back and forth for the remainder of the frame as Queens pinched back the advantage to lead 66-63 at the three-quarter mark.
The Tall Ferns duo of Trousdell and Beck took Queens to an 81-75 lead with five minutes remaining but Hoiho still found scoring contributions from Richards, Mitchell and the impressive Hurst, before eventually having to concede defeat.