Club basketball on Saturday had numerous upset results showing the depth of talent and determination in the competition as teams jockey for playoff positioning
Report collated and written by Bruce Martin with James Lissaman
Miles Toyota Men’s Premier League
The Wolverines men and women are fighting to retain their place in those play-offs with both Premier teams claiming huge upsets in Cowles stadium on Saturday.
Early in the afternoon Wolverines Women’s Premier upset championship leader Lincoln University with a come-from-behind win, edging Lincoln 69-68 with one of their best displays of teamwork and solid determination.
University vs Wolverines
Later in the day the Wolverines Men’s Premier team looked dead and buried early in the third quarter as it trailed competition leaders University of Canterbury 35-58, a huge 23 points. Wolverines then began a mammoth fightback. As the pressure rose, the students started to become tentative, shots began to miss and rebounds not taken.
Taylor Britt (32, 6R, 4A, 3 S) sparked the fightback and this seemed to inspire the rest of the team. Every time he drove to the basket he seemed to get fouled and ended up on the free throw line. Suddenly everyone was hitting their shots and Varsity were finding it hard to score. Jordan Duggan (26, 6R, 4A) ranged all about the court while Kieran Ball (16) monstered the boards, hunting the rebound.
University was in control, up 48-33 at the turnaround and still well placed 73-61 at the third break as Wolverines challenge continued. By the mid-point of the final-quarter Wolverines had come back to level 81-81 and pushed ahead basket for basket as University folded under pressure.
Canterbury Ram Tony Tolovae (14, 8R) was a danger man for the students, Brent Fisher hit a subdued 17 points while Konrad Tota also supplied 18 points.
Wolverines MP coach Jamie Graham commented on his team’s win:
“The boys knew it was do or die. We had to win or season was over. And with that on their minds when they came out a little tentative defensively and University made us pay with some great outside shooting.
“Down 23 the game plan from there was to take away all open looks and rely on the help to be there on the drive and everyone scramble defensively. Once we had the ball in hand we were to push in transition and take the best shot that was available to us. The boys did a great job of making the extra pass to find the open man. It was a great team effort where everyone put the team first in their decision-making. Something the boys have been trying to focus on. I’m very proud of the fight the boys showed.”
Checkers vs Atami
Checkers Men’s Premier too succumbed to a determined second half by Atami. Checkers were in control leading 40-33 at half-time with Joshua Lowe (19-7R) and former Ram Nat Connell (15-7R) prominent.
Atami grabbed a 56-53 lead by three-quarter time and extended its play to take the encounter 77-69 through the efforts of Zacc Dwan (22-15R) and playmaker Derek Albertson (15). Atami was reinforced by the skills of Paul McFarlane (15) recently returned from overseas.
Lincoln University vs Gators
Gators too had a tough battle against Lincoln University and had to call upon the experience of former Tall Black and Canterbury Ram Dave Langrell to steady the teams’ play. Despite a few players unavailable for Gators, Tim Bennetts’ team played outstanding on defence – limiting Lincoln University to only 13% from the three-point line, and 58 points overall.
The LU defence was almost as good, as only Cam Chalmers (17 points, 14 rebounds) Jozef Knottenbelt (13 points) and Middleton Grange student Ben Carlile-Smith (11 points, 12 rebounds) scored in double-figures. Gators used a 12-0 run to grab the lead as the fourth quarter started, and was able to hold, as LU was forced to foul, eventually losing 62-58.
Ben Bowie led the way for LU with 22 points and 12 rebounds, with Josiah Williams and Sam Smith adding 15 and 11 points respectively. The win gives Gators the inside track to one of the top two spots in the Miles Toyota Men’s Premier League. LU will be assured of playing in the Quarter-final round now.
Despite its loss University maintains a comfortable lead (18 from 10) at the top of the ladder with Lincoln (16 from 11), Gators (16 from 10) and Checkers both 15 from 10 looking well placed for the play-offs. Pioneer and Wolverines (14) look set to battle for the remaining play-off spot, the seventh team will be eliminated.
Miles Toyota Premier Women’s League
Lincoln University vs North Canterbury (Patron’s Trophy Final)
Last Wednesday Lincoln University crushed a depleted North Canterbury 71-48 in the catch-up Patron’s Trophy Final played in the Ohoka Events centre. While former Tall Fern Shea Crotty (13) directed the students’ moves it was another sparkling effort from Ajiah Pepe that carved holes in the North Canterbury defence and Wildcat Connie Poletti (12) helped contain North Canterbury’s main threat Charlotte Whittaker, limiting her to 12 points. In the absence of New Zealand Junior Helen Williams, Taneisha Nutira (14) stepped up with a busy effort at both ends of the court for North Canterbury.
North Canterbury vs Pioneer Pacers
North Canterbury suffered another big defeat on Saturday with a very determined Pioneer Pacers running the ball at speed throughout the game with Pioneer eventually claiming victory 77-54. Tessa Burry played an important role in denying NC’s Charlotte Whittaker and also contributed with a strong effort on offense scoring 16pts. Wildcat Lauryn Hippolite came through in the second half hitting some important three pointer (57.1% from 3pt line) as she ended the game with 25 points. The point guard Bianca de Aguiar helped control the tempo of the game and contributed with a few fast-break points, showing really good ball handling skills, finishing the game with 20 points.
For North Canterbury, Renee Tuhikarama (15) stepped up to support the beleaguered Whittaker while the experienced Ashlee Fane made some early break through baskets.
North Canterbury coach Wade Parata had some thoughts after the two losees:
“Effort, smarts and communication on the defensive end is the biggest adjustment needed for us to be successful again. Giving up 70 plus points in back to back games is a foreign to N.C. and I know the team is ready and willing to correct that”
Lincoln University vs Wolverines
Lincoln University suffered its first loss in the championship round of the competition, beaten 68-69 by Wolverines. Although missing several players, LU underestimated the shear determination a desperate Wolverines team would have.
Tsubasa Nisbet (22) stepped up for Wolverines with an array of inside and outside shots throughout the game. Tessa Stewart-Morrison (16), Letitia Mullaly (13) and Kendal Hastie 12 all contributed to a steadily increasing score-line for Wolverines. Connie Poletti (26) and Ajiah Pepe (16) were the major contributors for Lincoln. Wolverines managed to tie the game 36-36 by half time and nudged ahead 56-50 by the third break. Early in the final quarter Wolverines extended the margin to 10 points (62-52) while Lincoln gathered for their comeback with the busy Pepe penetrating strongly to narrow the margin to 64-67. A crunch basket inside two minutes remaining gave Wolverines legitimate hope of completing the upset, seeing them tighten their defences to claim a deserved victory 69-68.
University vs Halswell
Halswell over ran University 80-55 through the efforts of the Wairau sisters, Laken with 18 and Sapphire on 15. Minties had the bye.
Wolverines and University, both 12 points from 10 games will now battle it out for the sixth play-off spot.
Miles Toyota Premier Men’s League
Gators 62 (Cam Chalmers 17, 14R; Jozef Knottenbelt 13, 7R; Ben Carlile-Smith 11, 12R) Lincoln University 58 (Ben Bowie 22, 12R; Josiah Williams 15; Sam Smith 11, 12R). HT: Lincoln 38-34.
Wolverines 92 (Taylor Britt 32, 6R, 4A, 3S; Jordan Duggan 26, 6R, 4A; Kieran Ball 16, 12R) University 88 (Konrad Tota 18; Brent Fisher 17; Tony Tolovae 14, 8R; Nathan Campbell 10, 9R). HT: University 48-33.
Atami 77 (Zacc Dwan 22, 15R; Derek Albertsen 15; Paul McFarlin 15) Checkers 69 (Joshua Lowe 19, 7R; Nat Connell 15, 7R; Joe Cook-Green 12) HT: Checkers 40-33.
Bye: Pioneer Pacers
Miles Toyota Premier Men’s League Placings – with games played in parenthesis: University 18 (10), Lincoln University 16 (11), Gators 16 (10), Checkers 15 (10), Atami 15 (10), Pioneer 14 (10), Wolverines 14 (11).
Miles Toyota Premier Women’s League
Patron’s Trophy Final: Lincoln University 71 (Ajiah Pepe 14; Shea Crotty 13; Connie Poletti 12; Lucy Brown 10) North Canterbury 48 (Taneisha Nutira 14; Charlotte Whittaker 12). HT:37-27.
Pioneer Pacers 77 (Lauryn Hippolite 25; Bianca Aguiar 20; Tessa Burry 16) North Canterbury 54 (Renee Tuhikarama 15; Charlotte Whittaker 13; Ashlee Fane 10) HT: 45-30.
Wolverines 69 (Tsubasa Nisbet 22; Tessa Stewart-Morrison 16; Letitia Mullaly 13; Kendal Hastie 12) Lincoln University 68 (Connie Poletti 26; Ajiah Pepe 16). HT: 36-36.
Halswell 80 (Laken Wairau 18; Sapphire Wairau 15; Jess Baker 10) University 55 (Ashlee Rigter 16; Nicole Stuart 15; Page Willman 10). HT: 35-30.
Miles Toyota Premier Women’s League Placings – with games played in parenthesis: Lincoln University 20 (11), North Canterbury 17 (10), Minties 16 (10), Pioneer 16 (10), Halswell 15 (11), University 12 (10), Wolverines 12 (10).
Men’s Under 23
University maintained its unbeaten record at the top of the MU23 table, repulsing a spirted challenge from Pioneer-Cashmere 75-55 while Atami eased into third place when it upset second placed Gators Green 89-70.
Lincoln University Bulls had a solid 95-66 win over Atami-Spartans to main a share of fourth place with Wolverines but has a game in hand in the race to find third and fourth placed semi-finalists on September 1st.
Lincoln University Bulls 95 (Edward Leofo 19; Sam Smith 18; Petelo Leaupepe 14; Ben Bowie 11) 66 Atami Spartans (Joel Jeffrey 22; Jayden Watkinson 14). HT: 45-32.
Atami 89 (Andre Tamagushiku 24; Jake Simpson 20; Alex Ross 17; Brooks Davis 13) Gators Green 70 (Matt Mischewski 16; Joshua Nickel 14; Ben Carlile-Smith 13; Jarred Burnett 12). HT: 38-32.
Wolverines 101 (Jacob Cromb 19; Amosa Faitaua-Nanai 16; Kyle Louis 14; Arama Thompson-Ruka 13; Logan Woodill 12) Pioneer Pacers 64 (Isaiah McLeod 25; Gareth Hunt 11; Paul Viteetarm 10). HT: 58-26.
University 75 (Josh Petermann 18; Paul Stephenson 13; Jesse Campbell 11) Pioneer-Cashmere 55 (Nic Wenmoth 22; Thomas Webley 16). HT: 36-31,
Men’s U23 Placings – with games played in parenthesis: University 24 (12), Gators Green 23 (13), Atami 21 (13), Lincoln University Bulls 20 (12), Wolverines 20 (13), Checkers 18 (12), Pioneer-Cashmere 17 (12), Atami Spartans 15 (12), Pioneer Pacers 13 (12).