Bruce Martin and James Lissaman report on the Waitaha teams at the Aon U15 National Basketball Championships in Takanini, Auckland.
Aon Nationals Under 15 Boys’ Grand Final: Waitakere West Premier vs Waitaha Red.
Waitaha Red Boys, coached by Rams’ Assistant Coach, Ben Sheat, carried the provinces top honour, finishing a very proud second placing at the Aon Boys U15 National Championship which concluded in Auckland on Saturday.
Waitakere West Premier 79 Waitaha Red 58
The only two unbeaten teams remaining in the competition met in this Grand-Final. Coach Ben Sheat’s Waitaha Red team easily dispatched their pool-play opponents with an incredible 56-point average margin of victory. The Waitaha team then had to face off against the teams from the greater Auckland region, beating Auckland Premier 78-58 in the quarter-finals, and a thrilling one-point 57-56 win against Harbour in the semi-final, cementing victory when Riley Sa scored off an offensive rebound with only one second remaining.
Waitakere West Premier were tested only marginally more in pool play. Their average winning margin was a slightly more respectable 37-points. An 83-68 win over Waikato in the quarter-final round gave them a date with Manawatu Black in the semi-finals. A back and forth game eventuated here before Waitakere was able to build a lead in the third quarter, cruising to a 96-76 final score.
In the final, Ben Sheat’s game plan initially worked to perfection, attacking the gigantic Tautoko Wynyard off the bounce, and moving the ball around the perimeter until they found a crack. The game would have been over in the first quarter, were it not for Waitakere’s excellent offensive rebounding, which kept Waitaha from building a double-figure lead.
The second quarter continued in much the same vein, with Waitakere struggling to hit from deep, going 2/13 in the first half. An offensive foul on Waitaha’s Louis Delatour, halfway through the quarter stunted the Waitaha ball movement, allowing Waitakere to reduce the deficit ever so slightly – Waitaha Red up 25-35 at the half.
Riley Sa was relegated to the bench after he was whistled for his fourth personal foul with 8:08 remaining in the third quarter, after diving to try and regain possession of the ball. Both teams traded baskets through the middle stages of the period. It was here that Waitakere began finding their range with Alex Murray, Michael Henare, James Anderson and Dontae Russo-Nance hitting four straight threes to suddenly turn a seven-point deficit into a one-point lead. Fa’anuu Muao salvaged things for Waitaha, hitting a push shot near the end of the quarter as Waitaha was now only up one: 54-53.
If there is such thing as a perfect quarter, Shawn Nance’s team just about had it in the fourth, scoring on six straight possessions as they began piling it on, much to the home crowd’s delight. Waitakere ended up outscoring Waitaha 26-4 in the quarter, as the final margin did not do justice of how closely matched these two teams were most of the way through this game. The Waitakere team paid homage to the tough test their opponents from Canterbury gave them in the post-game presentations, obviously very proud of their performance to win gold.
Coach Ben Sheat, Boys Waitaha Red sent in his report of the Championship.
“After gaining a fantastic one-point win against Harbour in the semi-finals (57-56) we were very confident. Being up all game until the 4th quarter, the flood gates opened for the Waitakere West team and it was over. We had a great tournament unfortunately a 26-4 4th quarter lost us the final game. The boys did great and showed a lot of toughness. They will be back stronger in U17s. Hunter Adam had 16 points and 16 rebounds while Tom Harrison had 10 points. We had Perry Ratahi from North Canterbury in the team. It was great to see Tom Harrison and Hunter Adam make the tournament team from our team.”
News from the other Waitaha teams:
The Waitaha Red Girls and Waitaha Black Boys finished in 11th place, winning their respective play-off games. While Waitaha Black Girls finished 17th, topping the bottom four round robin.
Aon U15 Nationals Boys’ Final Team Placings:
Aon U15 Nationals Boys’ Tournament Team:
Aon U15 Nationals Boys’ Most Valuable Player:
Aon U15 Nationals Boys’ Third Place Final Officials:
Pool play results were:
Boys Pool B:
Waitaha Red 127 Southland 32
Waitaha Red 90 Capital Black 29
Waitaha Red 87 Waikato 59
Waitaha Red 74 Hibiscus Coast 35
Boys Pool D:
Waitaha Black 71 Hawkes Bay 64,
Waitakere West Premier 82 Waitaha Black 61
Waitaha Black 102 Tauranga Gold 47
Waitaha Black 66 Auckland Premier 70
Boys Main Quarter-final: Waitaha Red 78 Auckland Premier 58
Boys Semi-final: Waitaha Red 57 Harbour 56
Grand Final: Waitakere West Premier 79 (Dante Russo-Nance 23PTS 11REB, 7STL, Tautoko Wynyard 18PTS 13REB, Alex Murray 15PTS, James Anderson 13PTS) Waitaha Red 58 (Hunter Adam 16PTS, 16REB, Thomas Harrison 10PTS, Jack Coultard 10PTS). HT: Waitaha 35-25
Boys 5th-8th Quarter-final: Waitaha Black 104 Southland 61
Boys 9th-12th Semi-final: Waitaha Black 49 Tauranga A 60
Play-off 11th: Waitaha Black 76 Waikato Country 50
Girls Pool B:
Waitaha Red 78 Manawatu 58
Waitaha Red 55 Tauranga A 63
Waitaha Red 59 Harbour A 66
Waitaha Red 70 Waitaha Black 44
Waitaha Black 40 Harbour A 84
Waitaha Black 53 Tauranga A 74
Waitaha Black 58 Manawatu 63
Waitaha Black 44 Waitaha Red 70
Girls 5th-8th Quarter-final: Waitaha Red 89 Capital Black 40.
Girls 9th-12th Semi-final: Taranaki 75 Waitaha Red 72.
Play-off 11th place: Waitaha Red 64 Counties Manakau 45.
Girls Bottom 4 Round Robin:
Waitaha Black 63 Tauranga B 42
Waitaha Black 89 Harbour B 41
Waitaha Black 89 Auckland Reserves 34
Final placing: 17th
Waitaha Team lists:
Waitaha Red Boys
Fa’anuu Muao, Hunter Adam, Jack Coulthard, Jalen Dickel, Jordan Braithwaite, Louis Delautour, Luke Jones, Perry Ratahi, Riley Sa, Thomas Harrison.
Coach Ben Sheat, Assistant Coach Matt Cunninghame.
Waitaha Black Boys
Alex Wenmoth, Andre Sula, Dylan Weaich, Jake Banks, Jarius Montenegro, Joel Fenika, Joshua Doody, Kobe Northmore, Mason Murphy, Thomas Barrett.
Coach Matt Cunninghame, Assistant Coach Ben Sheat, Manager Sharyn Wenmoth.
Waitaha Red Girls
Brooke Palmer, Cassidy Brunel, Elisah Villi-Umaga, Karereatua Williams, Kate Herman, Kyla Lynch-Brown, Lauren Whittaker, Lily Gaughan, Maddie Morrow, Olivia Isitt.
Coach Terry Brunel, Assistant Coach Gordon Wong, Manager Mel Isitt.
Waitaha Black Girls
Erin Kennedy, Eva Robinson, Eva Marryatt, Grace Neilson, Holly Willman, Ivy Brown, Maya James, Olivia Cromarty, Serena Tarawa, Summer Hawkins.
Coach Gordon Wong, Assistant Coach Terry Brunel, Manager Jo Willman.
Photos supplied by BBNZ. Article edited by Joeman Chan