Basketball: Counties and North Harbour U-23 champions

By Ben Guild

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Tera Reed scores as North Harbour proved too strong for Porirua in the under-23 women's final.  PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER
Tera Reed scores as North Harbour proved too strong for Porirua in the under-23 women's final. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER

A sparkling display from Counties Manukau's Derone Raukawa decided the men's under-23 national final at ASB Arena.

Raukawa, who was named in the men's tournament team and assessed the most valuable player in the final, dropped 44 points on a Canterbury Metro defence that had no answers.

The performance, complemented by nine rebounds, was remarkably efficient.

He shot 16-30 from the floor, missed just one of ten free throws and committed just three turnovers to go alongside two assists, and was joined in double figures by teammates Taleni Seu (19), Joseph Reddish (10) and Nick Barrow (10).

Metro received strong contributions from Chris Duthie (28), Ethan Rusbatch (25) and James Cawthorn (18), but ultimately could not overcome a cold night from the three point line (10/33).

The women's final was a much more one-sided affair, with North Harbour easing away to beat Porirua 79-45.

Women's MVP Anna Lacey had a game-high 19 points for Harbour, who also had Tera Reed (17) and Camece Salmon in double figures.

Salmon was impressive and played hard on both ends, picking up five offensive rebounds on her way to a double-double.

Tauranga and Rotorua finished sixth and seventh respectively in the women's competition, while Rotorua came tenth in the men's division.

The only Tauranga player to make the tournament team was Otumoetai College Year 12 student Kelcy Ballantyne.

NZ Under-23 squads:

Women's tournament team:

Annan Lacey (North Harbour), Brooke Blair (North Harbour), Idaho-Maree Purcell (Counties Manukau), Johana Bates (Canterbury Metro), Kelcy Ballantyne (Tauranga City), Laykin Paenga (Porirua), Maia Jean Watene (Porirua), Shanice Swain (Counties Manukau), Shinae Blair (North Harbour), Veshae Asaua-Wilkinson (Waikato).

Men's tournament team:

Chris Duthie (Canterbury Metro), Derone Raukawa (Counties Manukau), Ethan Rusbatch (Canterbury Metro), Jackson Stubbins (Hutt Valley), Jozef Knottenbelt (Canterbury Country), Matt Lacey (North Harbour), Nick Barrow (Counties Manukau), Nico Buckrell (Hutt Valley), Sam Smith (Canterbury Country), Shea Ili (Counties Manukau).

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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