Newcomers' style welcomed

REINFORCEMENTS ON THE WAY: Rongomai Smith scored 25 points for Old School against East Coast last week, and will welcome the return of strongmen Harley Phillips and Thomas Tindale to the side tonight. Picture by Paul Rickard

THIS is the best card yet.

Week 4 of the Gisborne men’s club basketball league promises non-stop action at the YMCA.

In Game 1, at 5.30pm, a Campion College crew flushed with victory over debutants the 9ers take on Old School, themselves reinvested with confidence following their come-from-behind win against East Coast.

The 9ers’ up-tempo style of play was met with great enthusiasm last week by the club ball spectators, many of whom owe their own early association with the game to so-called “streetball” at the social level.

At 6.30pm, the 9ers play an SE Systems outfit whose old heads are having to work hard this season.

The Coast take on Dragons at 7.30pm, and in the Week 4 main event defending champions City Lights take on Pure Sound at 8.30pm.

“We enjoy playing games that mean something,” said City Lights captain Scott Muncaster, who scored 28 points against Systems last Monday.

“Pure Sound are an experienced team. They like to play a little push and shove, big hard ball — but we can match them at that.”

City Lights also have the ability to shoot and run teams off the floor, yet just as important will be an active team defence.

The linchpin of the City Lights defence — strongman Ryan Walters — was sorely missed against SES but he is back on deck tonight.

The experience of Walters and his solidity are invaluable for City Lights, who have won three from three to date, although Week 4 will be only the third week of actual competition.

City Lights, Old School and new team the Dragons all have six points; Campion have four; Gisborne Boys’ High School and Pure Sound have three; Systems, East Coast and Lytton High School have two; and the 9ers have one point.

“Whoever starts for us has to start strong,” “Pound” captain Billy Mawell said.

“We play zone defence most of the time, which makes it easier to cope with the likes of (City Lights guard) Dom Wilson but we’ve got to stop all of them. All of them are dangerous.”

Pure Sound experienced extraordinary highs and lows in Week 2, coming from 14 points down to tie 43-all with Boys’ High. The determination and resilience they showed then will be in evidence again this evening.

Both Pure Sound and City Lights excel in the open court. Wi Brown, Jason Tuapawa and Adam Niwa are great finishers, and Chad Rose’s Week 3 return from an injury to his right ankle that kept him off the floor for almost a year, has provided Pure Sound with yet more experience in the back-court.

An injury-free Rose is the terror of weak ball-handlers. For more than 20 years, his quick hands have converted their turnovers into easy lay-ups, while his quickness and bounce on the offensive boards are well-known.

The organisational ability of Jimmy Wilson and Maxwell, and the energetic play of Tuapawa and Willie Brown all point to a strong showing from the Pound against a City Lights team whose slick passing has always dazzled defenders.

Now, with the availability of Walters and 6ft 6in Luka Kablar both confirmed, City Lights have an inside game to at least challenge Pure Sound legend Dale Hailey — who did not play in the Pound’s 38-24 loss to the Dragons on July 10 — and fellow big man Stefan Pishief.

The Dragons are a team to watch.

Their big man, Jasper Wills, made a strong start to the 2017 season with a 17-point game in the new team’s 59-44 victory over Systems in Week 2 and while he scored only six points in the Dragons-Pure Sound game last Monday, the part he played overall in both wins cannot be overstated.

Teammate Te Angi Te Hau has shot the ball well in the past fortnight and he is the only Dragons player to have scored in double-figures in both games — 16 versus SES, 11 versus the Pound — heading into Week 4.

Their opponents tonight — the Coast — left nothing in the tank last week, falling to Old School 40-37 in a rugged encounter.

A fired-up Rongomai Smith mauled his way to 25 points against the Coast’s interior defence.

While Smith is more nimble and has a quicker release on the shot, Wills is five inches taller. And these days Wills is shooting a higher percentage from 10 to 12 feet than he has in previous seasons.

At 6ft 8in, Wills is almost unblockable at club level, and that will pose a challenge for Coast.

The Coast eschew a game-plan as such, but skipper Brandon Paul does have a few ideas about areas in which his team might be able to unsettle the Dragons’ biggest weapon.

“We’ll look to pressure him if and when he puts the ball on the floor,” Paul said.

He is hoping that fellow guard Drae Calles — who led his team’s scorers with 21 points last Monday night — continues to shoot the ball to good effect.

To get Jesse Torrey back on board against Old School was good news for the Coast. And if Jordan Patrick can get in from the Coast for Game 3 tonight it would give his side a further boost.

Meanwhile, Tondra Gerrard, Ezra Paul and Sam Manuel are all integral to the Coast effort.

Manuel drew the Coast to within striking distance against Old School.

Dragons captain Mercy Bristowe is keen to keep his team’s bright start — and prospects for a win against the Coast — in perspective.

“We’re going OK,” former Boys’ High guard Bristowe said.

“Let’s just wait and see.”

It is new-found courage.

That’s what Campion have heading into Week 4, on the back of a total team-effort last Monday.

In Week 10 of 2016, Patrick Murphy’s team beat Lytton High School 37-34 for their first and only win of the club basketball season. Their most recent win (34-27) against the 9ers, though, isn’t going to their heads.

“The win has given us a boost,” Murphy said.

“We may go out there and lose, but we’re going to go hard. Since the 9ers game, our coach Shane McClutchie has been helping us to work on our weak points, such as boxing out, and I hope that pays off.”

The captain’s supporting cast all stepped up in Week 3. Campion will again hold their own on the boards if Tahran Ward can bring something similar to the YMCA tonight. He matches up well for size with all but the league’s biggest boppers — the likes of Thomas Tindale, Kablar, Wills, Hailey and Pishief. Of club ball’s younger set, only Ward’s compatriot Konnor Gibson can do that.

Gibson is a real asset. From the time of Adrian Torrie and Paul Gardner to now, only Mark McElroy of Gisborne Boys’ High School has been as imposing a figure as Gibson while at school, and the Campion centre could improve a great deal more in the next seven weeks.

Old School will be without TK Moeke for Game 1. He and the Paikea age-group rugby sevens teams have been at a tournament in Noumea, New Caledonia, and do not arrive back in Gisborne from Auckland until tonight. (The boys’ open team and senior girls were placed third in the under-16 and u19 grades respectively, and the Paikea junior girls — who also played in the u19 grade — were placed eighth.)

“Campion produce some good athletes,” Old School skipper Reggie Namana said.

“Their threat is Orlando Pedraza.”

Pedraza is quick, as his elder brother Carlos, also a point-guard, was during his time at Campion and for SES — but he is in other respects a different player.

The diminutive Carlos could not be reeled in on the breakaway, whereas Orlando takes fewer jump shots and can beat his man one on one off the dribble to score or pass.

The College will need to be at their best against Namana’s posse, who will welcome the return of Harley Phillips and Tindale, both enormously strong.

Rongomai Smith, who scored 25 points in the clash with East Coast in Week 3, will no doubt be grateful for the support.

Namana is a good ball-handler, and tough times may be ahead of Campion if the Old School captain sends the ball inside to the experienced Phillips, Tindale and Smith. All three have the ability to establish position and finish skilfully.

Adrian Sparks wears many hats.

And the SE Systems captain is impressed by the 9ers — Systems’ opposition tonight.

“These guys bring physical stature,” he said.

“They’re fast and strong, and they’re only going to get better.

“It’s great for the health of the league and the game to have people new to organised basketball coming in, enjoying themselves and coming back next week.”

Game 2 of Week 4 could see a real battle on the boards at both ends of the court between Sparks and Anton Riri, for Systems, and Tamanui Hill and company for the newcomers.

Forward Hill, whose strength and skill are factors in High School Old Boys’ run to the 2017 Lee Bros Shield club rugby grand final this Saturday, led the 9ers’ scorers last Monday with 11 points.

Strong rebounding and good passing are already a feature of the 9ers’ game.

“We’ve got our first game under our belts; we’re going forward from here,” 9ers captain Marquand Samuels said.

“The boys are committed to learning, to improving. We can’t wait to play.”

Former Boys’ High first 15 captain Matekairoa McGuire showed an admirable willingness last Monday to take the open jump shot, while Baven Kemp has the hands and court-sense of a natural guard.

The 9ers have spontaneity and flair, although they have the raw material to take the ball hard to the basket as well.

Samuels is a talent, but the challenge for his team this week will not so much be to get their bearings on-court — they did that quickly against Campion — as to read and adjust to SE Systems’ half-court game.

Systems have been very good value in the half-court set during the past five years. Their control, accuracy, ball movement, player movement and, above all, willingness to make the extra pass have made them awkward opponents.

Life after Ray Noble, Bronson Te Hau and a host of others who have moved on from 2016 has meant the older SES personnel have to play far more minutes (Systems had no substitute players last week) and occasionally force tough shots up.

If the Rotorua Boys’ High School pairing of Thomas Kepa and Max Scott — back in town for the school holidays — can make shots early on, SES could really be in the game.

Both are fast and, while they drove to the hoop then passed off last Monday, it would be something to see them finish plays at the rim tonight. They have the ability now not just to hurry the opposition up, but to blow by them and make lay-ups . . . even contested shots.

Draw for men’s basketball TONIGHT —

5.30pm: Old School v Campion College.

6.30pm: 9ers v SE Systems.

7.30pm: East Coast v The Dragons.

8.30pm: City Lights v Pure Sound.

THIS is the best card yet.

Week 4 of the Gisborne men’s club basketball league promises non-stop action at the YMCA.

In Game 1, at 5.30pm, a Campion College crew flushed with victory over debutants the 9ers take on Old School, themselves reinvested with confidence following their come-from-behind win against East Coast.

The 9ers’ up-tempo style of play was met with great enthusiasm last week by the club ball spectators, many of whom owe their own early association with the game to so-called “streetball” at the social level.

At 6.30pm, the 9ers play an SE Systems outfit whose old heads are having to work hard this season.

The Coast take on Dragons at 7.30pm, and in the Week 4 main event defending champions City Lights take on Pure Sound at 8.30pm.

“We enjoy playing games that mean something,” said City Lights captain Scott Muncaster, who scored 28 points against Systems last Monday.

“Pure Sound are an experienced team. They like to play a little push and shove, big hard ball — but we can match them at that.”

City Lights also have the ability to shoot and run teams off the floor, yet just as important will be an active team defence.

The linchpin of the City Lights defence — strongman Ryan Walters — was sorely missed against SES but he is back on deck tonight.

The experience of Walters and his solidity are invaluable for City Lights, who have won three from three to date, although Week 4 will be only the third week of actual competition.

City Lights, Old School and new team the Dragons all have six points; Campion have four; Gisborne Boys’ High School and Pure Sound have three; Systems, East Coast and Lytton High School have two; and the 9ers have one point.

“Whoever starts for us has to start strong,” “Pound” captain Billy Mawell said.

“We play zone defence most of the time, which makes it easier to cope with the likes of (City Lights guard) Dom Wilson but we’ve got to stop all of them. All of them are dangerous.”

Pure Sound experienced extraordinary highs and lows in Week 2, coming from 14 points down to tie 43-all with Boys’ High. The determination and resilience they showed then will be in evidence again this evening.

Both Pure Sound and City Lights excel in the open court. Wi Brown, Jason Tuapawa and Adam Niwa are great finishers, and Chad Rose’s Week 3 return from an injury to his right ankle that kept him off the floor for almost a year, has provided Pure Sound with yet more experience in the back-court.

An injury-free Rose is the terror of weak ball-handlers. For more than 20 years, his quick hands have converted their turnovers into easy lay-ups, while his quickness and bounce on the offensive boards are well-known.

The organisational ability of Jimmy Wilson and Maxwell, and the energetic play of Tuapawa and Willie Brown all point to a strong showing from the Pound against a City Lights team whose slick passing has always dazzled defenders.

Now, with the availability of Walters and 6ft 6in Luka Kablar both confirmed, City Lights have an inside game to at least challenge Pure Sound legend Dale Hailey — who did not play in the Pound’s 38-24 loss to the Dragons on July 10 — and fellow big man Stefan Pishief.

The Dragons are a team to watch.

Their big man, Jasper Wills, made a strong start to the 2017 season with a 17-point game in the new team’s 59-44 victory over Systems in Week 2 and while he scored only six points in the Dragons-Pure Sound game last Monday, the part he played overall in both wins cannot be overstated.

Teammate Te Angi Te Hau has shot the ball well in the past fortnight and he is the only Dragons player to have scored in double-figures in both games — 16 versus SES, 11 versus the Pound — heading into Week 4.

Their opponents tonight — the Coast — left nothing in the tank last week, falling to Old School 40-37 in a rugged encounter.

A fired-up Rongomai Smith mauled his way to 25 points against the Coast’s interior defence.

While Smith is more nimble and has a quicker release on the shot, Wills is five inches taller. And these days Wills is shooting a higher percentage from 10 to 12 feet than he has in previous seasons.

At 6ft 8in, Wills is almost unblockable at club level, and that will pose a challenge for Coast.

The Coast eschew a game-plan as such, but skipper Brandon Paul does have a few ideas about areas in which his team might be able to unsettle the Dragons’ biggest weapon.

“We’ll look to pressure him if and when he puts the ball on the floor,” Paul said.

He is hoping that fellow guard Drae Calles — who led his team’s scorers with 21 points last Monday night — continues to shoot the ball to good effect.

To get Jesse Torrey back on board against Old School was good news for the Coast. And if Jordan Patrick can get in from the Coast for Game 3 tonight it would give his side a further boost.

Meanwhile, Tondra Gerrard, Ezra Paul and Sam Manuel are all integral to the Coast effort.

Manuel drew the Coast to within striking distance against Old School.

Dragons captain Mercy Bristowe is keen to keep his team’s bright start — and prospects for a win against the Coast — in perspective.

“We’re going OK,” former Boys’ High guard Bristowe said.

“Let’s just wait and see.”

It is new-found courage.

That’s what Campion have heading into Week 4, on the back of a total team-effort last Monday.

In Week 10 of 2016, Patrick Murphy’s team beat Lytton High School 37-34 for their first and only win of the club basketball season. Their most recent win (34-27) against the 9ers, though, isn’t going to their heads.

“The win has given us a boost,” Murphy said.

“We may go out there and lose, but we’re going to go hard. Since the 9ers game, our coach Shane McClutchie has been helping us to work on our weak points, such as boxing out, and I hope that pays off.”

The captain’s supporting cast all stepped up in Week 3. Campion will again hold their own on the boards if Tahran Ward can bring something similar to the YMCA tonight. He matches up well for size with all but the league’s biggest boppers — the likes of Thomas Tindale, Kablar, Wills, Hailey and Pishief. Of club ball’s younger set, only Ward’s compatriot Konnor Gibson can do that.

Gibson is a real asset. From the time of Adrian Torrie and Paul Gardner to now, only Mark McElroy of Gisborne Boys’ High School has been as imposing a figure as Gibson while at school, and the Campion centre could improve a great deal more in the next seven weeks.

Old School will be without TK Moeke for Game 1. He and the Paikea age-group rugby sevens teams have been at a tournament in Noumea, New Caledonia, and do not arrive back in Gisborne from Auckland until tonight. (The boys’ open team and senior girls were placed third in the under-16 and u19 grades respectively, and the Paikea junior girls — who also played in the u19 grade — were placed eighth.)

“Campion produce some good athletes,” Old School skipper Reggie Namana said.

“Their threat is Orlando Pedraza.”

Pedraza is quick, as his elder brother Carlos, also a point-guard, was during his time at Campion and for SES — but he is in other respects a different player.

The diminutive Carlos could not be reeled in on the breakaway, whereas Orlando takes fewer jump shots and can beat his man one on one off the dribble to score or pass.

The College will need to be at their best against Namana’s posse, who will welcome the return of Harley Phillips and Tindale, both enormously strong.

Rongomai Smith, who scored 25 points in the clash with East Coast in Week 3, will no doubt be grateful for the support.

Namana is a good ball-handler, and tough times may be ahead of Campion if the Old School captain sends the ball inside to the experienced Phillips, Tindale and Smith. All three have the ability to establish position and finish skilfully.

Adrian Sparks wears many hats.

And the SE Systems captain is impressed by the 9ers — Systems’ opposition tonight.

“These guys bring physical stature,” he said.

“They’re fast and strong, and they’re only going to get better.

“It’s great for the health of the league and the game to have people new to organised basketball coming in, enjoying themselves and coming back next week.”

Game 2 of Week 4 could see a real battle on the boards at both ends of the court between Sparks and Anton Riri, for Systems, and Tamanui Hill and company for the newcomers.

Forward Hill, whose strength and skill are factors in High School Old Boys’ run to the 2017 Lee Bros Shield club rugby grand final this Saturday, led the 9ers’ scorers last Monday with 11 points.

Strong rebounding and good passing are already a feature of the 9ers’ game.

“We’ve got our first game under our belts; we’re going forward from here,” 9ers captain Marquand Samuels said.

“The boys are committed to learning, to improving. We can’t wait to play.”

Former Boys’ High first 15 captain Matekairoa McGuire showed an admirable willingness last Monday to take the open jump shot, while Baven Kemp has the hands and court-sense of a natural guard.

The 9ers have spontaneity and flair, although they have the raw material to take the ball hard to the basket as well.

Samuels is a talent, but the challenge for his team this week will not so much be to get their bearings on-court — they did that quickly against Campion — as to read and adjust to SE Systems’ half-court game.

Systems have been very good value in the half-court set during the past five years. Their control, accuracy, ball movement, player movement and, above all, willingness to make the extra pass have made them awkward opponents.

Life after Ray Noble, Bronson Te Hau and a host of others who have moved on from 2016 has meant the older SES personnel have to play far more minutes (Systems had no substitute players last week) and occasionally force tough shots up.

If the Rotorua Boys’ High School pairing of Thomas Kepa and Max Scott — back in town for the school holidays — can make shots early on, SES could really be in the game.

Both are fast and, while they drove to the hoop then passed off last Monday, it would be something to see them finish plays at the rim tonight. They have the ability now not just to hurry the opposition up, but to blow by them and make lay-ups . . . even contested shots.

Draw for men’s basketball TONIGHT —

5.30pm: Old School v Campion College.

6.30pm: 9ers v SE Systems.

7.30pm: East Coast v The Dragons.

8.30pm: City Lights v Pure Sound.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Are you voting in the election, and if so when?