The 2022 Winter Club Season for Senior Basketball Teams concluded with 18 teams taking the court on Senior Finals Day
Our 2022 season finished off largely to plan, with August 27 being the date all of our weekend senior grades wrapped up their seasons. The Miles Toyota Premier Leagues, as well as the Men’s U23 A grade semi-finals all had to take place midweek (due to the BBNZ D-League/U23 National Tournament schedule being altered). Photos from Senior Finals Day available here.
Miles Toyota Women’s Premier League: Checkers vs Halswell
Halswell was the #1 seed coming into the Grand Final, and had taken the win in each of the regular season matchups against Checkers. However they knew they were facing an in-form Checkers team, with league MVP Nicole Gleason dropping 42 points in a tense Semi-final win on Wednesday night.
Halswell led for the bulk of the first quarter, but a 12-0 run for Checkers gave them a lead they would never relinquish. Things did get interesting in the latter stages of the third quarter, as the green machine strung their own 10-0 run together. It was however, too little, too late, as Checkers combatted this run, and pushed the lead back above 20 points.
Nicole Gleason was named Finals MVP (22, 13r), and a standout performance from teammate Karereatua Williams (26) saw Checkers cruise to a 81-58 win.
Miles Toyota Men’s Premier League: Pioneer vs Atami
Atami was back in the Grand Final for the third consecutive year, but were facing the class of the competition in Pioneer (who finished four games clear of second on the table).
The threes were falling for Pioneer to start off the game, with Finals MVP Nic Wenmoth (22, 10r, 5s) knocking down three in the first quarter individually (and the team hitting a combined 5/10 in the period).
Atami found themselves in a similar position to the 2021 final, this time down 73-49 to start the fourth quarter. They didn’t have an amazing 21-0 run in them this time, but were able to pull the margin to single figures, giving their supporters hope of an amazing comeback. It wasn’t to be though, as Pioneer maintained their composure down the stretch, celebrating a well-deserved championship 85-72.
Women’s U19/Division One: UC Maroon vs Halswell Red
2022 was the seventh consecutive season that Halswell Red had qualified to play in the Grand Final for the Women’s Division One Grade, and the matchup against UC Maroon was a replay of the 2021 Grand Final. The two regular season games between these teams were decided by a total of only six points (both games going in Halswell’s favour), but UC Maroon came out firing in this game, pushing out to a 22-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ultimately, Halswell couldn’t come up with a defensive gameplan that would slow down their opponent, as UC continued to build on their lead. Finals MVP Meg Thompson (21) hit four key three-point buckets during the game, which always seemed to happen just as momentum started to be shifting away from her team.
UC Maroon successfully reversed 2021’s result, winning the 2022 Grand Final 70-55.
Men’s Division One: Warthog Wolverines vs Pioneer Blue
The Men’s Division One Competition featured eleven teams in 2022, with Pioneer Blue battling through the latter parts of the season to make it into the final against a Warthog team that was new to the competition, but featured plenty of successful experience at the Premier level.
A back and forth first quarter made way for a Warthogs’ 16-2 run to start the second, which saw them pull ahead of Pioneer.
The second half was a tug of war between the two sides. Pioneer closing the gap on the scoreboard to a two-basket margin on numerous occasions, but the Warthogs always scoring the next points to stay just ahead.
Jordyn Kauta (18) recognised as the Finals MVP en route to his Warthogs team winning 73-60
Men’s U23 A: Atami vs Gators Green
Men’s U23 Plate: Checkers Taitamariki vs Wolverines
Men’s U23 Development: LU Longhorns vs UC B
Atami and Gators had endured a hard week leading up to the MU23 A Grand Final, with players in both teams taking the court for their club’s Premier side on Wednesday night, then competing in the U23 Semi Finals on Wednesday.
Despite this, the teams put on a high-quality show, each team having a double-digit lead at different stages in the first half, only to see the other team battle back. Atami grabbed the lead from Gators towards the end of the third quarter, and as had been the case all game, this was reeled back in.
Both teams were locked in a 75-75 tie midway through the fourth. From this point on though, it was Atami, who sealed the deal with a 15-0 run. Joel Jeffrey (34) named as Finals MVP after a stellar performance, and his Atami winning by a final score of 96-78, which did not do justice to how close of a game this contest was.
In the Plate Final (played one week earlier), Checkers Taitamariki came back from a 17-point deficit to force overtime, winning 106-96. Mitch Corkery (33) named as the Finals MVP in this game.
In the Development Final, the LU Longhorns and UC B reprised their 2021 Finals match, with LU winning again, 66-57. Hamish Robinson (8) the Finals MVP.
Men’s U20 A: Gators Grey vs Checkers Redbacks
Men’s U20 Mid: Papanui Checkers vs Cashmere Maroon
Men’s U20 Development: UC-Christ’s vs UC-CBHS
Both Gators Grey and Checkers Redbacks had one possession wins (Checkers in overtime) in their semi-final wins, despite being the #3 and #4 seeds respectively.
As was expected, a tense battle on the hardwood ensued in the final MU20 A game of the season. The key decider for this game being the first half points – Checkers held to only 25, while Gators managing to bank 38 points. The redbacks got close throughout the second half, but Gators Grey had the right response each time, with Finals MVP Faanuu Muao (24) scoring 19 points in the final two quarters.
Gators the 2022 MU20 Champions after a 79-66 win.
The Middle Grade had the Papanui Checkers win 88-74 over Pioneer-Cashmere. Connor Radbourne’s (36) outstanding performance seeing him named Finals MVP.
In the Development Grade UC-Christ’s held on for a very tight 73-70 win vs UC-CBHS. Matthew Lewis (25) receiving the Finals MVP.