Aon Under 15 Nationals tip-off in Tauranga tomorrow

Aon Under 15 Nationals tip-off in Tauranga tomorrow
The 2019 Aon U15 National Championships gets underway tomorrow in Tauranga with both the girls’ and boys’ tournaments contested by twenty teams each.

Waitakere West are the defending boys’ champions and will hope Dante Matakatea and Deon Helu can fire them to success in Pool A. Otago will be amongst their closest challengers – look out for George Grant and Noah McDowall to shine for the southerners. 2017 champions Hawkes Bay are also in the pool with Tama Heather and Ihaia Abbott hoping to make their mark on the tournament.

Jarius Montenegro and Louis Gordon will be lining up for Waitaha Canterbury A, the only South Island association to have won the U15 boys’ trophy since its inception in 2006. Amongst their opponents in Pool B are 2016-winners Wellington, and Tauranga. Wellington have Ieremia Morris and Rewi Va’a in their ranks with Seth Whinney and Hohepa Chandler flying the flag for the boys from Tauranga.

Former Tall Black Lindsay Tait coaches Auckland while another former NBL star Jeff Niwa coaching Waikato A. Kashius Farmer and Usher Robson will be a pair to follow for Waikato as will Ivan Kerr and Barri Merimo for Auckland. Southland are another challenger in Pool C and they will hope Archie Bryan and Quake Webster will be in good form.

Six different teams have won the boys’ trophy in the last six years and two of those teams are in Pool D. Kahn Mason and Hikaia Lambert will lead 2014 champions Manawatu whilst Hibiscus Coast, winners in 2015, will look to Romeo Nuku and Ethan Baldwin to provide some fireworks. Harbour B, Waikato C and Tasman make up the five teams in the pool. Watch for Jaxon James and Taylor Matthews to bring some firepower for Tasman.

Despite some extraordinary Tall Ferns talent flowing from South Island associations, the South has not yet won the U15 girls’ trophy since the tournament began in 2006. Otago, led by Laura Ring and Ryan Dailey, will be hoping to right that record. Alongside them in Pool A are Hawkes Bay and Hutt Valley who won titles in the first two years.

Raedeen Blake, who was named to the Tournament Team last year, will be key for 2007 champions ‘The Bay’ while inaugural winners Hutt Valley will look to Kuini Nanai-Leota and Trinity’s Van Ooyen and Tauaneai for leadership.

Gisborne, along with four previous winners Harbour, Rotorua A, Waikato and Waitakere West are in a powerful Pool B. Rebecca Moors, Holly Maddix (Harbour), Maddox Morgan-Koia, Carly Ohia (Rotorua A), Tannika Leger-Walker, Lia Tupaea (Waikato) and Angelina Lapa, Daisy Parke (Waitakere West) will all be keen to impress.

2018 runners-up Tauranga head Pool C - Rangikahiwa Cooney and Kiritana Patea hopeful of impressing. Two challengers form the South Island, Waitaha Canterbury A and Southland also feature in the pool. Lauren Whittaker and Karereatua Williams will look to go well for the Cantabs with Claudia Broomfield and Holly Cunliffe equally motivated for Southland.

Neighbours Auckland and Counties Manukau find themselves side by side in Pool D along with Taranaki, Tasman and Manawatu. Along with Brydie Patterson, Tasman coach Kat Jones will have daughter Maia also suiting up for her team. Arna Bright, Bethany Cook  (Taranaki), Deyna Topia, Thaya Shaw (Auckland), Kiana Poto, Krystal Hughes (Counties Manukau) and Maraea Coleman, Elizabeth Brown (Manawatu) will all head to Tauranga full of optimism ahead of a tournament which for a large number of players will be their first appearance at a national championship.

Aon will again be the naming rights sponsor for these Nationals. CEO Geoff Blampied says Aon is proud to support basketball in New Zealand.

“We are very excited to watch the players in action and wish them all the best at the upcoming U15 Nationals. We have supported young basketball players across New Zealand for three years now and are thrilled to continue to do so.”

Livestream: On Friday and Saturday, games on court six will be livestreamed on and the @BasketballNZ Facebook page. 

Full draw can be found here.

About Aon: Aon is a leading global professional services firm with 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries. In New Zealand, Aon is the leading provider of insurance broking, risk management and associated services with over 950 staff in 65 offices, managing renewal placements and related revenues in excess of NZD $1 billion. For more information about Aon’s sponsorship of Basketball New Zealand please visit the website here: or email