Basketball: Ton up as Tauranga Boys' down College

Tauranga Boys' College enhanced their growing reputation with a slick 100-77 win over a game Bethlehem College outfit at ASB Arena on Wednesday night.

Bethlehem came to play and were unafraid to pound the ball inside against their larger foes, but Boys' had too many guns in a first half shoot-out and ran out relatively easy winners.

Ashton McQueen, who shaded centre Zac Easthope in an impromptu pre-tip dunk contest featuring both players flushing alley-oops off the backboard with both hands, chose to shred Bethlehem with his outside game come tip-off time.

He finished with seven threes and 39 points without truly looking to create his own shot for much of the contest, and could easily have dropped fifty if he was not so content to play within such an efficient system.

His final three from an uncomplicated stroke brought up 100 points for Boys', but for much of the second half it was Bethlehem College that enjoyed the greatest returns.

They won the half 47-46 on the back of a fearless effort from Vincent Adams, who reached a point late in the third quarter where he began relentlessly driving the ball into the lane.

It worked in large part, with Adams finishing with 28 points in a fantastic effort for a losing side.

Easthope notched 24 points and likely close to as many rebounds for the victors - including a ton on the offensive glass - but did fluff his one attempt at an in-game dunk after choosing not to run back to defend a fast break.

He has real size and a willingness to mix it inside, and for such a young player has a great understanding of the subtleties of playing in the paint. Bethlehem had some joy in fronting him in the post, but just as often that tactic, normally accompanied with a double team, led to breakdowns elsewhere.

Caillan Rigby-Hibbard orchestrated it all for Boys', more than happy to let the game come to him and operate within the game plan of largely finding McQueen and Easthope in various spots.

He had the tightest handle of anyone on display, and hit a pair of early threes to force the defenders into honouring his shooters, which in turn opened up passing and driving lanes for his wing players to exploit.

Sean Hill added 16 points for a Bethlehem side that looks one or two legitimate big men away from providing a true test to the competition leaders.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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