The genuine article

DRIVING THROUGH: Ngati Porou’s Pare Ahuriri-Leach takes the ball towards the basket under pressure from Hearty’s Maiangi Mackey. Both players had strong games in women’s club basketball last night, Ahuriri-Leach against Gisborne Girls’ High School and Mackey against Campion College. Picture by Paul Rickard

They’re no flash in the pan — Ngati Porou are the genuine article.

Defending champions Ngati Porou beat rapidly improving Gisborne Girls’ High School 39-29 in women’s club basketball at the YMCA last night.

Ngati Porou were without Te Awa Clendon, Britta Kulp and captain and 2016 competition MVP (most valuable player) Bronya McMenamin.

In the other women’s game last night, Campion College beat Hearty 34-29.

Ngati Porou move to the top of the six-team league, with 10 points. Lytton High School and Paikea — whose Week 5 game was deferred because of Lytton’s interschool sports programme — have nine points, Campion have eight, Girls’ High, four, and Hearty, three.

In the men’s league overflow game played last night, Dragons beat Campion College 71-27.

City Lights and Old School both have 17 points at the top of the 10-team men’s league. The Dragons have 16 points, Pure Sound have 13, SE Systems and East Coast have 10, Campion have eight, the 9ers have seven, and Gisborne Boys’ High School and Lytton High School have four.

Kellann Kemp scored eight of her 10 points for Ngati Porou in the fourth period. It was exactly the right time to make big plays and put safe distance between her crew and a Girls’ High team whose confidence never suffered for being down 12-8, 19-10 and 27-19 throughout a hard-fought battle.

Her teammates Pare Ahuriri-Leach and Tamara Hedge (8pts) were among the most energetic players in the game, while veteran forward Roimata Mangu, with six points, turned the clock back to show excellent skills close to the basket.

Mangu’s drop-step on the right baseline against Girls’ High’s Peyton Riri, for 23-10, was the back-to-the-basket move of Week 5 — a play for the purists.

In McMenamin’s absence, Ngati Porou needed to start well. Mangu and Ahuriri-Leach gave them a major boost in the first quarter, Mangu around the hoop and Ahuriri-Leach driving aggressively.

Riri led all scorers in the game with 17 points, including three three-point shots, and garnered great support from her captain Jayda Nepe (6pts).

“We’ve worked really hard on our defence and Peyton was good there, as well as on offence,” Nepe said.

“We all worked hard at both ends of the court. It was a big improvement on last week.”

Tyler Riri hustled hard for Girls’ High and stole the ball from Ngati Porou three times in the second period. Michaella Upston continues to use her height and reach to better effect by the game for Girls’ High, and she is becoming accustomed to the physical nature of club basketball.

Mangu is a tough, skilful player but Upston has genuine ability and had she not been a defensive presence, Mangu might well have scored 10 to 15 points.

Ahuriri-Leach, speaking for Ngati Porou, was rapt with her team’s showing.

“That was really good. We were able to try things — man-to-man defence, zone defence and trapping the ball-carrier. We were able to try things with different players and combinations of players.”

Campion now fire big-time on three cylinders.

In 2016, Petra Sparks and Anna Spring rallied their young team to beat Lytton A 41-33 in the quarterfinals. A week later, Campion lost 58-39 to Ngati Porou in the 1 v 4 semifinal. Sparks scored 19 points in the semi. The 34-point gulf that existed between Team 4 and Team 1 in the first round (51-17 to Ngati Porou) having been almost halved.

And with the arrival of Te Oriwa Collier-Tuipulotu, Campion now have three genuine scoring threats.

Collier-Tuipulotu averaged 13 points for Rotorua in the under-19 national championship at Queen’s Birthday Weekend and was also a member of the Waikato u23 team who won the national championship in Porirua last Saturday.

Collier-Tuipulotu led all scorers, with 15 points, in Campion’s game against Hearty last night. She and Sparks (11pts) both made three-point plays and took the ball to the basket strongly, as Campion came from 12-7 down at the end of the first period to edge in front 14-13 at the break and take a 23-20 lead into three-quartertime.

Maiangi Mackey (11pts) and Te Rina Mangu (7pts) played with urgency for Hearty at both ends.

Mackey, who has long been one of the most energetic and enthusiastic players in the league, ramped things up in the fourth period with seven points, including a three-point play.

Collier-Tuipulotu set the tone for Campion early — she scored nine of their 13 first-half points — but Hearty responded with a Mangu three-point shot early in the game, even as Mackey kept the College honest with her ability to beat defenders in the open court, penetrate and pass.

“It was good,” Campion captain Petra Sparks said.

“We played well tonight, especially Te Oriwa with her drives. She made some difficult shots and finished well.”

Mangu said: “That was a strong match-effort — we were better again this week. What we really took out of the game was excellent communication, and that’s where Natalie Mackey (elder sister of Maiangi) was great value. Both she and Ngamako (Toroa) do that well for us.”

The Dragons are back to their winning ways — with structure playing a big part.

That greater structure employed against Campion last night owed much to the on-court contribution of veteran Ray Noble. He gave an assist to his captain Keenan Ruru-Poharama (6pts) on the curl to the basket, made a three-point play at the expense of Tahran Ward and got past Fraser Robb on the left baseline to score, all in the third period.

Fifteen-year-old forward Nelson Brown played his best game for the College — he is tall, athletic and scored three field goals under pressure. He is raw but has great reach and the potential to be extremely valuable at both ends of the court.

Teammate Konnor Gibson had a tough match-up with Jasper Wills (14pts). Both Gibson and Wills are over 6ft 6in but the Dragons’ titan has played at Conference Basketball League level.

Also impressive were former Lytton High School captain Levi Hohipa-Henry (15pts), who opened and closed the Dragons’ scoring with a superb display of athleticism, big man Te Ahi Te Hau-Otene (14pts) and sharpshooter Te Angi Te Hau (13pts), who made a three-point play in the second quarter and hit a three-point shot in the third.

Te Hau scored eight points in the second period, helping to march the Dragons’ advantage on from 13-6 to 27-13 at halftime. The three-quartertime score was 53-19.

In the lead-up to the break there was also hilarity, with Wills bouncing off Gibson on a tough shot attempt and Gibson, soon thereafter at the offensive end, left side of the floor, turning from Noble to Wills on his right to give what seemed more like a two-handed rocket pass than a jumpshot. The ball pinged off the backboard, hard.

“It was good to get back to it — the ball-movement was good tonight,” Ruru-Poharama said.

“Te Ahi had a strong game under the hoop and it’s always good to have the coach (Noble) on the floor.”

Campion captain Patrick Murphy, whose stay on the injury-list may last five more weeks, said: “We were much better than I expected against top-notch players. I was surprised but really pleased for the boys. I’d give that performance a seven out of 10.”

They’re no flash in the pan — Ngati Porou are the genuine article.

Defending champions Ngati Porou beat rapidly improving Gisborne Girls’ High School 39-29 in women’s club basketball at the YMCA last night.

Ngati Porou were without Te Awa Clendon, Britta Kulp and captain and 2016 competition MVP (most valuable player) Bronya McMenamin.

In the other women’s game last night, Campion College beat Hearty 34-29.

Ngati Porou move to the top of the six-team league, with 10 points. Lytton High School and Paikea — whose Week 5 game was deferred because of Lytton’s interschool sports programme — have nine points, Campion have eight, Girls’ High, four, and Hearty, three.

In the men’s league overflow game played last night, Dragons beat Campion College 71-27.

City Lights and Old School both have 17 points at the top of the 10-team men’s league. The Dragons have 16 points, Pure Sound have 13, SE Systems and East Coast have 10, Campion have eight, the 9ers have seven, and Gisborne Boys’ High School and Lytton High School have four.

Kellann Kemp scored eight of her 10 points for Ngati Porou in the fourth period. It was exactly the right time to make big plays and put safe distance between her crew and a Girls’ High team whose confidence never suffered for being down 12-8, 19-10 and 27-19 throughout a hard-fought battle.

Her teammates Pare Ahuriri-Leach and Tamara Hedge (8pts) were among the most energetic players in the game, while veteran forward Roimata Mangu, with six points, turned the clock back to show excellent skills close to the basket.

Mangu’s drop-step on the right baseline against Girls’ High’s Peyton Riri, for 23-10, was the back-to-the-basket move of Week 5 — a play for the purists.

In McMenamin’s absence, Ngati Porou needed to start well. Mangu and Ahuriri-Leach gave them a major boost in the first quarter, Mangu around the hoop and Ahuriri-Leach driving aggressively.

Riri led all scorers in the game with 17 points, including three three-point shots, and garnered great support from her captain Jayda Nepe (6pts).

“We’ve worked really hard on our defence and Peyton was good there, as well as on offence,” Nepe said.

“We all worked hard at both ends of the court. It was a big improvement on last week.”

Tyler Riri hustled hard for Girls’ High and stole the ball from Ngati Porou three times in the second period. Michaella Upston continues to use her height and reach to better effect by the game for Girls’ High, and she is becoming accustomed to the physical nature of club basketball.

Mangu is a tough, skilful player but Upston has genuine ability and had she not been a defensive presence, Mangu might well have scored 10 to 15 points.

Ahuriri-Leach, speaking for Ngati Porou, was rapt with her team’s showing.

“That was really good. We were able to try things — man-to-man defence, zone defence and trapping the ball-carrier. We were able to try things with different players and combinations of players.”

Campion now fire big-time on three cylinders.

In 2016, Petra Sparks and Anna Spring rallied their young team to beat Lytton A 41-33 in the quarterfinals. A week later, Campion lost 58-39 to Ngati Porou in the 1 v 4 semifinal. Sparks scored 19 points in the semi. The 34-point gulf that existed between Team 4 and Team 1 in the first round (51-17 to Ngati Porou) having been almost halved.

And with the arrival of Te Oriwa Collier-Tuipulotu, Campion now have three genuine scoring threats.

Collier-Tuipulotu averaged 13 points for Rotorua in the under-19 national championship at Queen’s Birthday Weekend and was also a member of the Waikato u23 team who won the national championship in Porirua last Saturday.

Collier-Tuipulotu led all scorers, with 15 points, in Campion’s game against Hearty last night. She and Sparks (11pts) both made three-point plays and took the ball to the basket strongly, as Campion came from 12-7 down at the end of the first period to edge in front 14-13 at the break and take a 23-20 lead into three-quartertime.

Maiangi Mackey (11pts) and Te Rina Mangu (7pts) played with urgency for Hearty at both ends.

Mackey, who has long been one of the most energetic and enthusiastic players in the league, ramped things up in the fourth period with seven points, including a three-point play.

Collier-Tuipulotu set the tone for Campion early — she scored nine of their 13 first-half points — but Hearty responded with a Mangu three-point shot early in the game, even as Mackey kept the College honest with her ability to beat defenders in the open court, penetrate and pass.

“It was good,” Campion captain Petra Sparks said.

“We played well tonight, especially Te Oriwa with her drives. She made some difficult shots and finished well.”

Mangu said: “That was a strong match-effort — we were better again this week. What we really took out of the game was excellent communication, and that’s where Natalie Mackey (elder sister of Maiangi) was great value. Both she and Ngamako (Toroa) do that well for us.”

The Dragons are back to their winning ways — with structure playing a big part.

That greater structure employed against Campion last night owed much to the on-court contribution of veteran Ray Noble. He gave an assist to his captain Keenan Ruru-Poharama (6pts) on the curl to the basket, made a three-point play at the expense of Tahran Ward and got past Fraser Robb on the left baseline to score, all in the third period.

Fifteen-year-old forward Nelson Brown played his best game for the College — he is tall, athletic and scored three field goals under pressure. He is raw but has great reach and the potential to be extremely valuable at both ends of the court.

Teammate Konnor Gibson had a tough match-up with Jasper Wills (14pts). Both Gibson and Wills are over 6ft 6in but the Dragons’ titan has played at Conference Basketball League level.

Also impressive were former Lytton High School captain Levi Hohipa-Henry (15pts), who opened and closed the Dragons’ scoring with a superb display of athleticism, big man Te Ahi Te Hau-Otene (14pts) and sharpshooter Te Angi Te Hau (13pts), who made a three-point play in the second quarter and hit a three-point shot in the third.

Te Hau scored eight points in the second period, helping to march the Dragons’ advantage on from 13-6 to 27-13 at halftime. The three-quartertime score was 53-19.

In the lead-up to the break there was also hilarity, with Wills bouncing off Gibson on a tough shot attempt and Gibson, soon thereafter at the offensive end, left side of the floor, turning from Noble to Wills on his right to give what seemed more like a two-handed rocket pass than a jumpshot. The ball pinged off the backboard, hard.

“It was good to get back to it — the ball-movement was good tonight,” Ruru-Poharama said.

“Te Ahi had a strong game under the hoop and it’s always good to have the coach (Noble) on the floor.”

Campion captain Patrick Murphy, whose stay on the injury-list may last five more weeks, said: “We were much better than I expected against top-notch players. I was surprised but really pleased for the boys. I’d give that performance a seven out of 10.”

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