Photo credit: Gameface NZ
Round 6 of GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa saw Southern Hoiho complete a sweep of the ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens before the defending champions bounced back with victory over The Recruitment Network Mainland Pouākai.
BNZ Northern Kāhu, with Opals captain Tess Madgen making her first appearance, regained top spot on the Tauihi ladder after a pair of road wins at Pouākai and Whai.
The results of the round leave Pouākai desperately needing wins in the final two rounds of the regular season to clinch a Final 4 play-off berth.
Southern Hoiho 82 ,ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens 71
Southern Hoiho made it a 3-nil sweep of the ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin on Wednesday night after recording an 82-71 victory.
The omens for Hoiho didn’t look good early on as Queens got out to a 15-8 advantage but after gaining the lead early in the second period Hoiho were never headed thereafter.
The Hoiho starters did a tremendous job with all five making major contributions. Point guard Paige Bradley added 14 points to a season-high 12 assists while Zoe Richards was also in double-double territory with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Ashten Prechtel posted a game-high 26 points, Ahlise Hurst made 19 points and skipper Samara Gallaher scored 9 points.
Paris Lokotui, with a season best 17 points (and 8 rebounds), was the shining light for Queens – Tall Ferns Stella Beck and Josie Trousdell scored 9 points apiece but the import trio of Chrislyn Carr (13 points), Steph Watts (7 points) and Maya Dodson (6 points and 9 rebounds) were well marshalled by the Hoiho defence.
After Queens had taken the opening period 17-16 Prechtel, having sat out half the opening quarter after picking up a couple of fouls, made a quick fire 8 points to take Hoiho into the lead. Gallaher made her third three and the game had been transformed with the home team out to a double figure advantage.
Richards, literally throwing herself at the offensive boards (five of them in the opening half) took the lead to (40-25) before Dodson and Carr brought Queens back into contention – the deficit 45-37 at half-time.
Lokotui and Beck provided some impetus but a Prechtel four-point play and triples from Gracie Roberts-Hare, Hurst and Bradley stretched the Hoiho lead to 64-49 with ten minutes to play.
Lokotui was ploughing a lone scoring furrow for the Queens - Hoiho in contrast were getting contributions from their starting quintet as the lead climbed to 19 points with four minutes to play.
The Queens bench unit brought a semblance of respectability to the scoreline though it was a performance the defending champs wouldn’t want to dwell on ahead of a home clash with Mainland Pouākai a couple of days later.
Whai 74, BNZ Northern Kāhu 100
BNZ Northern Kāhu beat Whai 100-74 in Tauranga on Thursday with Tess Madgen putting on a royal show at the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre. The Australian Opals captain, on debut, posted 22 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in 38 minutes as she led Kāhu to a convincing win.
The margin of victory looked highly unlikely in the early stages as Whai had begun the game strongly. Sarah Sagerer scored 10 points and with McKenna Dale registering her 100th point for the season Whai moved out to a 25-17 first quarter lead.
Mikayla Cowling scored the first points of the second period before the complexion of the game changed as Kāhu reeled off 12 straight points. Aaliyah Wilson snapped the run but 10 points in the quarter from both Akiene-Tera Reed and Madgen meant an eight-point Kāhu deficit had become a seven-point lead (45-38) by half-time.
Reed and Krystal Leger-Walker threes stretched the Kāhu lead further before Wilson and Cowling made scores. They were small pickings for Whai as they were held to five points in the first 6 minutes of the third.
Awatea Leach made a three before Madgen stretched the advantage beyond twenty points and with Whai outscored 30-15 in the quarter they trailed 75-53 ahead of the final 10 minutes.
It was much of the same in the final period, one in which New Zealand U16 players Pahlyss Hokianga and Bailey Flavell were given an opportunity to showcase their potential.
If the Madgen performance was the major talking point the displays of teammates Leach, Reed and Ilmar’I Thomas were extremely noteworthy.
Reed posted a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds, Thomas, the first player to pass 200 points this season, dropped 30 points, while Leach was busy with 7 points, 4 rebounds, a steal and a block.
Cowling and Sagerer each had 17 points for Whai, Wilson scored 16, Dale 11 and 15 year-old Hokianga made 10 points on 4 from 6 shooting in an overall disappointing night for the hosts as they slipped to a fourth home defeat.
ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens 80, The Recruitment Network Mainland Pouākai 65
ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens bounced back from their loss at Southern Hoiho two days earlier with an 80-65 victory over The Recruitment Network Mainland Pouākai at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua on Friday night.
Maya Dodson, the 26th pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the 2022 WNBA draft, led the way for the Queens with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, with Stella Beck, Chrislyn Carr and Stephanie Watts each scoring 17 points.
Jasmine Dickey scored a game-high 28 points for Pouākai, Esra McGoldrick continued her good form with 18 points while 17 year-old Lauren Whittaker demonstrated her rich promise with 8 points and 6 rebounds but the trio received little support from elsewhere.
Pouākai edged a low scoring opening quarter 10-8 but found themselves trailing 33-24 at half-time.
Inspired by Dickey’s 15 third quarter points Pouākai surged back into the contest - Whittaker tying proceedings midway through the period and then Kennedy Leonard edging the visitors ahead (45-43).
That lead was short lived however with Dodson, Watts and Parris Mason combining for the last six points of the frame to give Queens a 53-47 three-quarter time lead.
On the resumption the Queens lead quickly ballooned to 13 points after a Carr triple before Whittaker showed her versatility with a made three at the other end.
Watts and McGoldrick demonstrated their shot making prowess but when Beck made a driving layup the hosts were 69-55 up with a little over five minutes to play.
If the outcome was still in the balance at that stage it was stamped in the win column soon after when the Tall Ferns wing nailed her third triple of the night.
The Recruitment Network Mainland Pouākai 90, BNZ Northern Kāhu 101
The BNZ Northern Kāhu regained top spot on the Tauihi ladder with a 101-90 victory over The Recruitment Network Mainland Pouākai at Cowles Stadium in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.
Kāhu shot an impressive 54% (13 from 24) from the 3-point arc and, leading 86-69 early in the fourth quarter, appeared to be heading for a straight forward victory.
However the hosts had other ideas. Playing with greater urgency than earlier in the game Pouākai reeled off nine unanswered points to close within 8 points with 4:30 to play.
Ilmar’I Thomas and Tess Madgen gave Kāhu some breathing space before a pair of Esra McGoldrick baskets either side of the one minute mark cut the deficit to seven (93-86) to the delight of the home crowd.
However the Cowles faithful were silenced on the next play as Madgen made an unlikely three off one leg with just a second left on the shot clock.
Akiene-Tera Reed put the game to bed with another three as the Pouākai comeback was finally thwarted.
Pouākai import Jasmine Dickey scored 28 points for the second game running while fellow American Kennedy Leonard had a double-double of 13 points and 14 assists although spoilt some of her good work by committing 9 turnovers. Esra McGoldrick was again in good form with 19 points (5/8FG, 6/6FT) while teenage forward Lauren Whittaker showed her range of skills with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
As is standard practice Ilmar’I Thomas led the scoring for Kāhu with 27 points. Madgen scored 21, Penina Davidson 20, Krystal Leger-Walker 16 (4 from 7 threes), with Reed posting a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
At the outset Pouākai rookie Kavanah Lene scored from the tip for her first Tauihi points. The first quarter produced 60 points, with 34 in favour of the Kāhu for whom Davidson, having missed the previous two games, scored 12 points.
A Leger-Walker triple gave Kāhu a 47-35 lead ahead of a six point run by Pouākai with Dickey at the heart of the action.
Leger-Walker and Leonard exchanged triples before Dickey and Thomas, the two leading scorers in Tauihi ’23 made the final points of the half for their respective teams - Kāhu ahead 54-48 at half-time.
When McGoldrick slotted home a deep three midway through the third period the Pouākai deficit was still a manageable seven points but that signalled a big 13-2 run from Kāhu
Natasha Mack and Lauryn Hippolite made scores late in the stanza but Kāhu were still 15 points to the good ahead of the final ten minutes, a quarter that turned out to be far more exciting than many anticipated.
Southern Hoiho 22, ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens 19
Trailing 16-13 at three quarter time ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens put together a strong fourth quarter performance to pip Southern Hoiho 22-19 at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin on Wednesday night.
Grace Hunter (8 points), fouled on a three-point attempt, sunk all the resulting free-throws to propel Queens into the lead after the Tall Ferns guard had converted an And-1 play on the previous posession.
Tyler Mitchell (7 points) levelled the scores with 1:16 remaining but Letava Kenny (7 points) came up with the game winner on the next possession, her corner three attempt finding nothing but net.
At the outset a couple of scores from Brittany Richards and a 4-point play from Mitchell took Hoiho to a 10-4 lead.
Millie Simpson extended the lead by two before Eva Langton and Kenny hit back for the visitors – Hoiho 12-9 ahead at half-time.
It was still a 3-point advantage to the hosts at three-quarter time before Kenny and Hunter chased down the Hoiho.
Whai 25, BNZ Northern Kāhu 42
BNZ Northern Kāhu gained their fourth Rapid League win of the season by defeating Whai 42-25 at the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre in Tauranga on Thursday.
Honey Cooney scored 9 points for Whai but that was matched by Kāhu’s American forward IImar’I Thomas and with Keeley Tini and Bailey Flavell nabbing 8 points each the visitors were able to record a convincing win.
Despite Cooney nailing a brace of threes in the opening quarter it was Kāhu with a 14-10 lead -Thomas with 7 points.
A couple of scores from Tini saw the Kāhu hold a 22-14 lead at the main break.
A feature of the contest was the match-up between New Zealand U16 co-captains Pahlyss Hokianga and Flavell.
Hokianga made a typical spinning layup for Whai before Flavell penetrated for consecutive baskets in the final 30 seconds of the third to take the visitors out to a 36-21 lead.
Kāhu had little difficulty protecting their lead over the closing minutes.
ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens 32, Sal’s Mainland Pouākai 33
For the second time this season ANZCO Tokomanawa Queens were beaten by one point by Mainland Pouākai, this time pipped 33-32 in Porirua on Friday night.
After Pouākai had trailed 27-22 early in the fourth quarter it was the work of current, past and future Tall Ferns that dominated the scoring in the closing stages.
St Andrew’s College Year 13 student Lauren Whittaker looks destined to wear the black singlet some day in the future and it was her And 1 play and pair of freebies that trimmed the margin to two points before former Tall Fern Jacinta Beckley tied proceedings with 67 seconds to play.
Current Tall Fern Josie Trousdell reinstated Queens two point lead (31-29) with 25 seconds to play only for Jasmine Dickey to lock up the scores on the change of possession.
Tegan Graham’s free-throw appeared to have given Queens the victory only for Beckley, playing only her second game of the season, to come up with the game winner with 5 seconds left on the clock.
Early on Dickey (17 points) and Trousdell (14 points) were the main protagonists as initially Queens got the upper hand (11-7) before Pouākai turned around at half-time with a 15-13 lead.
In a game of changing fortunes Queens re-established their lead only for Beckley to be the thorn in the Queens side for the second time this season. Last month she scored 17 points against her former team and this time around nailed the game winner.
Sal’s Mainland Pouākai 36, BNZ Northern Kāhu 29
Double figure contributions from Esra McGoldrick (12 points) and Kennedy Leonard (10 points) helped Sal’s Mainland Pouākai make it eight wins from nine Rapid League outings as they sealed a 36-29 victory against BNZ Northern Kāhu at Cowles Stadium in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.
A three-point play from Whittaker (7 points) and a couple of makes from McGoldrick propelled Pouākai to an early 10-3 lead.
Ritorya Tamilo produced an And-1 play for the visitors but threes from Kennedy Leonard and Lauryn Hippolite meant Pouākai carried an 18-12 advantage into the half-time break.
Some staunch Pouākai defence and a couple of scores from Leonard meant that the home team had the comfort of a double figure lead at three-quarter time (24-14).
McGoldrick’s second three of the game gave Pouākai a 13-point lead before Ilmar’I Thomas (10 points) and Eliana Tuaiti (7 points) injected some much needed Kāhu scoring punch.
Tuaiti’s corner three made it a five-point game (34-29) inside the last minute but a Hippolite layup meant there were no late dramas for Pouākai to endure.