The Schick Championships Secondary Schools National ‘AA’ basketball tournament semi-finals were played at Palmerston North today.
The feature of the semi-finals was that the defending champions in both the girls’ and boys’ tournaments will get the opportunity to defend their titles. In fact St Peter’s, Cambridge Girls’ and Rangitoto Boys’ will be aiming to win three consecutive titles.
Schick Championships – ‘AA’ GIRLS’ FIRST SEMI-FINAL
The first Schick ‘AA’ Girls’ Semi-Final was a matchup between Zone 1 winners Auckland Girls’ Grammar School and the Zone 2 champions St Peter’s, Cambridge.
Auckland had the better of the opening proceedings taking a 16-8 lead into the quarter time break.
Elianna Tuaiti dropped a three for Auckland early in the second period before Arielle Mackay-Williams replied in kind for St Peter’s.
Mele Latu’s inside basket and dish for Rionne Pappa kept Auckland ahead, but scores from Charlisse Leger-Walker and 7 straight points from Mackay-Williams propelled St Peter’s to a 32-28 half-time lead.
Latu led all scorers at the break with a dozen points and the hyphenated duo of Leger-Walker and Mackay-Williams had 11 points each for St Peter’s.
With the Auckland offence stuttering Coach John Subritzky needed a timeout, but a picture jump-shot from Bradley off a Leger-Walker assist stretched the St Peter’s advantage to 41-30.
Zhanay Hettig gave the Auckland supporters something to cheer about with an inside basket. Guards Mackay-Williams and Tyla Tuala exchanged triples as St Peter’s maintained a double-digit lead.
Mahia based Year 9 guard Alana Paewai landed a neat floater, St Peter’s ahead 53-39 at the last break.
Teneva Ropati opened the fourth-quarter scoring and an Auckland comeback was a possibility, especially as Leger-Walker picked up her fourth foul with eight minutes remaining.
Hettig connected with a put back but St Peter’s were still ahead 61-49 with four minutes to play. Time was running out for Auckland as Leger-Walker and Jayzelee Waihi made scores, making it 65-53 with two minutes to play.
St Peter’s headed to a third straight Grand Final with a 70-59 win.
St Peter’s 70 – Leger-Walker 27, Bradley 21, Mackay-Williams 14, Waihi 4
Auckland 55 – Latu 20, T Ropati 11, Tuala 7, E Tuaiti 6, Hettig 6
Schick Championships – ‘AA’ GIRLS’ SECOND SEMI-FINAL
The second Schick Championships ‘AA’ Girls’ Semi-Final was a matchup between Zone 3 winners St Mary’s College, Wellington and Hamilton’s Melville High School.
Both teams started nervously, a low scoring first quarter ended with Grace Hunter taking St Mary’s to a 13-9 lead.
Playing in the final four for the first time, Melville was boosted by scores from Leila Hemi-Ta’Ala and Alyssa Whaanga. Although Terrelle Onesemo in transition and a pair of triples from 2016 Junior Tall Fern Sariah Penese pushed St Mary’s out to a 24-17 lead.
Penese landed her third triple of the period and Moananu Leni-Lia converted an And-1 play to stretch the St Mary’s lead to a commanding 39-19 at the interval.
Hemi-Ta’Ala had 8 points at the break for Melville, but it was Hunter (10 points) and Penese (15 points) that were the difference makers in the first half.
St Mary’s began the second half with a 7-0 run before Kaylee Smiler scored with a baseline drive for Melville.
Grace Hunter drained another three for St Mary’s as its advantage touched thirty points. Kharmen Kereama scored back-to-back baskets for Melville, but it was merely a consolation as they trailed 60-27 at the three-quarter mark.
Melville were tireless in their efforts but were unable to threaten the unbeaten St Mary’s who advanced to the Grand Final with a commanding 72-47 victory.
St Mary’s 72 – S Penese 18, Hunter 15, Onesemo 13, Moananu 7, Savai’inaea 7
Melville 47 - Hemi-Ta’Ala 14, K Smiler 13, Kereama 8, H Ellis 7
Schick Championships – ‘AA’ BOYS’ FIRST SEMI-FINAL
The first Schick ‘AA’ Boys’ Semi-Final was a matchup between South Island champions Christ’s College and the Zone I winners Rosmini College.
Shooting guard Max de Geest landed an early three and Max Darling a couple of And-1 plays for Christ’s College, but a converted drive in traffic from Kruz Perrott-Hunt gave Rosmini a narrow 18-17 lead at the end of the first term.
Darling and De Geest combined for 13 straight points before a dunk from Will Heather, on his 18th birthday, had Christ’s 32-24 ahead at the mid-point of the second stanza.
Terence Abdon scored with a corner three and Peter Jenkins converted inside as Rosmini closed to 34-31 at half time.
Darling (17 points) and De Geest (10 points) led the scoring at the interval, 8 points from Heather and Perrott-Hunt the top contributors for Rosmini.
Mitchell Dance and Abdon edged Rosmini ahead then Darling and De Geest replied for Christ’s as both teams wrestled for the initiative – 44 points each with four minutes to play in the third.
A pair of Darling blocks excited the good-sized crowd, as did a four-point play from De Geest. Darling’s two-handed flush gave Christ’s a 50-46 three-quarter-time lead.
Despite picking up a fourth foul De Geest had his shooting game in top order at the start of the fourth, Christ’s stretching to a 57-52 lead with seven minutes to play.
Darling continued to dominate inside, four points from the athletic big man taking his team to 61-54 before Rehana Maxwell-Topia scored in the paint.
Heather scored on four consecutive Rosmini offences – 63-61 in favour of Christ’s with less than two minutes to play.
Heather made it 9 straight points to tie the game with 1:24 to play and Christ’s coach Mark Dickel needed a timeout.
Darling converted a drive with 40 seconds to play, but man of the moment Heather scored yet again to level the scores at 65 apiece with 27 seconds to play and overtime ensued as Darling’s buzzer beater fell short.
Marvin Williams-Dunne opened the scoring in the additional five minutes with a sideline trey. Tom Crutchley and Darling scored inside, but a brace of Kruz Perrott-Hunt jump shots gave Rosmini a 72-69 lead.
Darling made a sideline three to carry his points haul to a remarkable 37 points, but his opposite number Heather wasn’t finished – he calmly converted a pair of free throws to finish with a season high 25 points and carry Rosmini to its first Grand Final since 2012, one in which Head Coach Matt Lacey was a player.
Rosmini 76 – Heather 25, Perrott-Hunt 16, Williams-Dunn 11, Dance 10
Christ’s 72 – Darling 37, De Geest 26, Crutchley 6
Schick Championships – ‘AA’ BOYS’ SECOND SEMI-FINAL
The second Schick ‘AA’ Boys’ Semi-Final was an all-Auckland affair with Mt Albert Grammar taking on Rangitoto College.
Forward Jonty Vink opened the scoring with the first four points and Xjana Luamanuvae-Su’A added a floater as Mt Albert began strongly.
Rangitoto made a sluggish start scoring just 4 points in the opening six minutes forcing coach Kenny Stone to call a timeout with his charges down 10-4.
Cole Pocock hit the first three of the game, which pushed Mt Albert ahead 17-9 after the first ten minutes.
Luamanuvae-Su’A dropped a jump shot before Logan McIntosh and Dan Fotu scored for Rangitoto, although a nice score off the glass from Vink gave Mt Albert a ten-point advantage.
Cam Stone scored in transition and Logan Anderson from an offensive rebound as Rangitoto closed to 27-23.
Harry Payne dropped a triple and Harry Clarke added free throws, as Rangitoto clawed their way into a 28-27 lead at the break.
Luamanuvae-Su’A was the only player in double figures with 10 points, McIntosh the best for Rangi with half a dozen points.
Zac Te Puni landed a three early in the second half and Dan Fotu’s And-1 pushed the Rangi lead out to nine points.
Anderson and Mandela Baledrokadroka exchanged triples, but Anderson nailed two more from beyond the arc to stretch the Rangitoto lead to 47-34 at the mid-point of the third.
Anderson was hot and another sideline three, his fourth in the period, had the Rangi supporters in raptures.
Vink and Clarke Alono scored inside for MAGS and it was still in the contest at three-quarter time trailing 55-42.
Laumatia opened the final period scoring with a three and, when the same player converted from the foul line, the Rangi lead was down to eight points (56-47).
Anderson responded with his fifth triple and Fotu converted in the lane to re-establish the double-digit margin.
When Te Puni landed his second triple of the game the strong MAGS effort was extinguished – Rangitoto heading to a third straight final and the chance of a three-peat.
Rangitoto 66 – Anderson 22, Te Puni 11, Fotu 10, McIntosh 8
Mt Albert 53 – Vink 11, Laumatia 11, Luamanuvae-Su’A 10, Baledrokadroka
‘AA’ FINALS DAY for Saturday 7 October – livestreamed on www.maoritelevision.com
PLAY OFFS FOR THIRD AND FOURTH
9am. 'AA' Girls' third and fourth playoff - Auckland Girls Grammar V Melville High School.
10:45am. 'AA' third and fourth playoff - Christ's College V Mt. Albert Grammar.
• 3:30pm. 'AA' Competition Girls' Grand Final - St. Peter's Cambridge V St Mary's College. LIVESTATS
• 5:30pm. 'AA' Competition Boys' Grand Final - Rosmini College V Rangitoto College. LIVESTATS
For more go to www.NZ.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook