Nothing between top teams

EASY DOES IT: City Lights captain Scott Muncaster goes for the basket as Campion skipper Patrick Murphy defends. Muncaster scored 24 points last night as City Lights drew with Old School 53-all at the YMCA.Picture by Paul Rickard

There is nothing between them.

Defending champions City Lights and the larger-than-life Old School tied last night’s top-of-the-table thriller 53-all.

Week 7 of the men’s club basketball league will wrap up at 6.30pm tonight with the Dragons-Campion College game.

Last night, SE Systems beat Lytton High School 78-32, Pure Sound defeated the 9ers 64-47 and East Coast defeated Gisborne Boys’ High School by default.

“We want that physicality every week,” City Lights captain Scott Muncaster said.

“It was the best shot so far that a team’s taken at us, and it was Old School’s best chance, too, with us missing Carl (Riini), Pila (Lolohea) and Francis (Reid).

“We’re still undefeated but, as for the players querying calls, I’d hate to have to deal with me, if I were a referee.”

Muncaster headlined last night’s main event with 24 points, while teammates Zade Donner (12pts), Ryan Walters and Luka Kablar were also outstanding.

Walters opened the scoring with one of his two three-point shots, and Kablar was excellent value around the hoop at both ends. He scored straight after Walters hit that first bomb from the left corner and on either side of three-quartertime. Both he and Walters finished the game with four fouls, a measure of the contest’s greater intensity and how hard two of City Lights’ cleanest players had to fight to keep their heads above water.

Reggie Namana’s Old School were 20-11 up at the end of the first period. City Lights reduced the nine point-gap to six (31-25) by the break and headed into the fourth quarter 47-44 in front of a game jam-packed with memorable plays.

Among them were City Lights guard David Glendenning’s three-point play against Rikki Kernohan in the first quarter, and Namana (12 points, including two three-pointers) beating the quartertime buzzer with a jump shot from the left baseline.

Thomas Tindale (14pts) made a three-point play in the fourth period and did battle with Walters and Dom Wilson throughout, those two struggling manfully to contain the giant Old School centre.

Muncaster hopes to have Reid and Lolohea of Fire and Emergency NZ (not to mention Riini, who scored 14 points against former co-leaders the Dragons last Monday) available should these teams meet again. Riini, who strained his right shoulder while coaching the Gisborne Boys’ High School second 15 rugby team on Thursday, should be back on deck for Week 8. He gives City Lights’ game another dimension — a second three-point shooting option to take the heat off Muncaster, and an athlete to finish the fast-break and also score in the half-court set with his quickness and leaping ability.

The City Lights captain believes that if his crew could draw with Old School without those three key players, they have a fair chance of beating a full-strength Old School team with them back.

They won by 17 points in cruise mode.

Pure Sound, without their captain Billy Maxwell, beat the 9ers 63-47 on the back of a 16-point game from Willie Brown and contributions from Dale Hailey (14pts) and Wi Brown (12pts).

Willie Brown was excellent value, making a three-point play at the expense of Trent Proffit to open the scoring, and finding teammate Jason Tuapawa (8pts) with a great assist in the third period for 40-28.

The Pound led 21-7, 33-20 and 48-30 through the quarters, and in their “season of regeneration” — blooding three second-generation players — it was nice to see that their legends could still rise to the occasion.

Chad Rose (4pts) bounced on the right side of the hoop to put an Adam Niwa miss back in the basket for 23-12 and Niwa, Pure Sound’s hustling left-hander, made a wicked lay-up two plays later for 26-14.

Rose and Niwa are two of the hardest-working players in the league and their competitiveness has been an enormous factor in Pure Sound basketball over many years.

The 9ers’ Baven Kemp, deputising for injured captain Marquand Samuels, said: “That was our best game so far. We just relaxed. Jess (Jesse Fleming) hit his jump shots, and “Mutz” (Matekairoa McGuire) and Hoera (Mohi) took the ball to the basket.

“I put our improvement down to the barbecue and three-man run we had on Sunday.”

Kemp, whose twin brother Levi made the Wellington sevens team in 2015, is likewise an excellent sportsman. He hit two three-pointers in his 10-point tally.

Fleming was superb in making three “treys” in his 18 points. Seven weeks into his club basketball career, he is shooting the ball with the soft touch and range of a quality veteran: he never hurries.

He was the recipient of a class assist from Mohi in the second quarter, and Mohi is playing with greater confidence each Monday. He can spin to and away from the hoop, finish difficult plays — as McGuire did before Wi Brown closed out the game with a three-point shot from the left corner.

“Dale’s still a handful on offence,” said Pure Sound’s Jimmy Wilson, who was impressed by the 9ers’ outside shooting.

“Lucky for us Willie Brown was on point, too.”

Lytton showing character

Genesis Bartlett-Tamatea has returned from his basketball trip to the US to find his Lytton High School outfit fighting hard, and individuals improving.

The captain, himself, scored 14 points against SE Systems last night, sank two three-pointers and made a three-point play, providing his team with a real boost offensively, while Tane Wills-Aranga (6pts) continued his good form of the last fortnight.

He, Ben Greaves and the rest play their basketball with the same enthusiasm and pluck that Dean Maraki and Blair Katipa did as juniors at the school in 1998-1999.

SE Systems revelled in the contest, welcoming two new players to the fray — Keith Lewis, who first took the court at the YMCA for the Gisborne Police in 1985, and former Hawke’s Bay under-19, u21 age-group rep William Locquard.

The 24-year-old Locquard (6pts) is a flyer, and the arrival of him and Lewis could make Systems genuinely competitive against the league’s top teams.

Systems captain Adrian Sparks scored a season-high 25 points, including five three-point plays. Year-by-year records aren’t kept of player statistics, but five three-point plays is the most by one player in a single game in either the men’s or women’s leagues in the past 15 seasons.

Systems rookie Kahn Grayson (20pts) has considerable potential and hit three of his four three-point shots on the night in the first period, while Jackson Leach (6pts) made a reverse lay-up on either side of halftime, having begun the evening with an assist to Lewis for 19-5.

Perhaps the most memorable play of Game 2 came when Sparks drew a double-team on the left side of the basket and passed to the cutting Leach, who swung through for the last field goal of the second quarter.

“I’d love to bring a Wairoa team here at some stage — then I wouldn’t have to play myself,” said Lewis, who played for Ponsonby and the Waitakere Rangers. He numbers John Dybvig and Steve McKean — two legendary figures in New Zealand basketball — among his coaches.

“I still enjoy the game, that involvement with it — playing, coaching and refereeing.”

There is nothing between them.

Defending champions City Lights and the larger-than-life Old School tied last night’s top-of-the-table thriller 53-all.

Week 7 of the men’s club basketball league will wrap up at 6.30pm tonight with the Dragons-Campion College game.

Last night, SE Systems beat Lytton High School 78-32, Pure Sound defeated the 9ers 64-47 and East Coast defeated Gisborne Boys’ High School by default.

“We want that physicality every week,” City Lights captain Scott Muncaster said.

“It was the best shot so far that a team’s taken at us, and it was Old School’s best chance, too, with us missing Carl (Riini), Pila (Lolohea) and Francis (Reid).

“We’re still undefeated but, as for the players querying calls, I’d hate to have to deal with me, if I were a referee.”

Muncaster headlined last night’s main event with 24 points, while teammates Zade Donner (12pts), Ryan Walters and Luka Kablar were also outstanding.

Walters opened the scoring with one of his two three-point shots, and Kablar was excellent value around the hoop at both ends. He scored straight after Walters hit that first bomb from the left corner and on either side of three-quartertime. Both he and Walters finished the game with four fouls, a measure of the contest’s greater intensity and how hard two of City Lights’ cleanest players had to fight to keep their heads above water.

Reggie Namana’s Old School were 20-11 up at the end of the first period. City Lights reduced the nine point-gap to six (31-25) by the break and headed into the fourth quarter 47-44 in front of a game jam-packed with memorable plays.

Among them were City Lights guard David Glendenning’s three-point play against Rikki Kernohan in the first quarter, and Namana (12 points, including two three-pointers) beating the quartertime buzzer with a jump shot from the left baseline.

Thomas Tindale (14pts) made a three-point play in the fourth period and did battle with Walters and Dom Wilson throughout, those two struggling manfully to contain the giant Old School centre.

Muncaster hopes to have Reid and Lolohea of Fire and Emergency NZ (not to mention Riini, who scored 14 points against former co-leaders the Dragons last Monday) available should these teams meet again. Riini, who strained his right shoulder while coaching the Gisborne Boys’ High School second 15 rugby team on Thursday, should be back on deck for Week 8. He gives City Lights’ game another dimension — a second three-point shooting option to take the heat off Muncaster, and an athlete to finish the fast-break and also score in the half-court set with his quickness and leaping ability.

The City Lights captain believes that if his crew could draw with Old School without those three key players, they have a fair chance of beating a full-strength Old School team with them back.

They won by 17 points in cruise mode.

Pure Sound, without their captain Billy Maxwell, beat the 9ers 63-47 on the back of a 16-point game from Willie Brown and contributions from Dale Hailey (14pts) and Wi Brown (12pts).

Willie Brown was excellent value, making a three-point play at the expense of Trent Proffit to open the scoring, and finding teammate Jason Tuapawa (8pts) with a great assist in the third period for 40-28.

The Pound led 21-7, 33-20 and 48-30 through the quarters, and in their “season of regeneration” — blooding three second-generation players — it was nice to see that their legends could still rise to the occasion.

Chad Rose (4pts) bounced on the right side of the hoop to put an Adam Niwa miss back in the basket for 23-12 and Niwa, Pure Sound’s hustling left-hander, made a wicked lay-up two plays later for 26-14.

Rose and Niwa are two of the hardest-working players in the league and their competitiveness has been an enormous factor in Pure Sound basketball over many years.

The 9ers’ Baven Kemp, deputising for injured captain Marquand Samuels, said: “That was our best game so far. We just relaxed. Jess (Jesse Fleming) hit his jump shots, and “Mutz” (Matekairoa McGuire) and Hoera (Mohi) took the ball to the basket.

“I put our improvement down to the barbecue and three-man run we had on Sunday.”

Kemp, whose twin brother Levi made the Wellington sevens team in 2015, is likewise an excellent sportsman. He hit two three-pointers in his 10-point tally.

Fleming was superb in making three “treys” in his 18 points. Seven weeks into his club basketball career, he is shooting the ball with the soft touch and range of a quality veteran: he never hurries.

He was the recipient of a class assist from Mohi in the second quarter, and Mohi is playing with greater confidence each Monday. He can spin to and away from the hoop, finish difficult plays — as McGuire did before Wi Brown closed out the game with a three-point shot from the left corner.

“Dale’s still a handful on offence,” said Pure Sound’s Jimmy Wilson, who was impressed by the 9ers’ outside shooting.

“Lucky for us Willie Brown was on point, too.”

Lytton showing character

Genesis Bartlett-Tamatea has returned from his basketball trip to the US to find his Lytton High School outfit fighting hard, and individuals improving.

The captain, himself, scored 14 points against SE Systems last night, sank two three-pointers and made a three-point play, providing his team with a real boost offensively, while Tane Wills-Aranga (6pts) continued his good form of the last fortnight.

He, Ben Greaves and the rest play their basketball with the same enthusiasm and pluck that Dean Maraki and Blair Katipa did as juniors at the school in 1998-1999.

SE Systems revelled in the contest, welcoming two new players to the fray — Keith Lewis, who first took the court at the YMCA for the Gisborne Police in 1985, and former Hawke’s Bay under-19, u21 age-group rep William Locquard.

The 24-year-old Locquard (6pts) is a flyer, and the arrival of him and Lewis could make Systems genuinely competitive against the league’s top teams.

Systems captain Adrian Sparks scored a season-high 25 points, including five three-point plays. Year-by-year records aren’t kept of player statistics, but five three-point plays is the most by one player in a single game in either the men’s or women’s leagues in the past 15 seasons.

Systems rookie Kahn Grayson (20pts) has considerable potential and hit three of his four three-point shots on the night in the first period, while Jackson Leach (6pts) made a reverse lay-up on either side of halftime, having begun the evening with an assist to Lewis for 19-5.

Perhaps the most memorable play of Game 2 came when Sparks drew a double-team on the left side of the basket and passed to the cutting Leach, who swung through for the last field goal of the second quarter.

“I’d love to bring a Wairoa team here at some stage — then I wouldn’t have to play myself,” said Lewis, who played for Ponsonby and the Waitakere Rangers. He numbers John Dybvig and Steve McKean — two legendary figures in New Zealand basketball — among his coaches.

“I still enjoy the game, that involvement with it — playing, coaching and refereeing.”

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