Portland Blazers took on Raumanga Royals in their third round Super Basketball League clash, knowing they would have to be at their best to subdue their old rivals.
True to form, the Blazers were out of the blocks quickly at the Kamo High School Gym on Saturday, and played well enough to open up an 18-point lead by halftime.
But tight second half defence from the Royals led to some ill discipline from the Blazers, allowing Raumanga to claw their way back into the game.
The Royals continued to close the gap in the second spell until a concerted effort from the Portland side in the final five minutes took the game away from them. The Blazers tightened up their defence and ran the lanes well to ease away to an 89-78 win.
Ethan Penney top-scored for the Blazers with 31 points, while Kane Rudolph scored 16. Liam Wilson and Klay Rouse both scored 17 points for the Royals, with Scott McDonald scoring 15.
The second match at Kamo was a memorable, closely fought game between Phoenix Takahiwai and Portland Flames, with the two teams neck in neck during the entire match.
Portland posted the narrowest of leads at halftime, ahead by just 24-23.
But the Flames' hearts were broken in the second spell with Takahiwai's captain Sue Reed-Thomas, with 14 points backed up by Kaylah Chapman, instrumental in their comeback which resulted in a two point turnaround by full-time and a 46-45 win to Phoenix Takahiwai.
Sophy Tua was top scorer for the Flames with 20 points while Keani Shelford scored 12 points.
The third and final game at Kamo High School was another thriller with City Hawks just too strong for Maunu Lights beating them eventually 69-64.
Both teams had evenly matched squads with good numbers so a close game always looked likely but the Hawks had the better of the first spell to take a 34-24 lead.
The Lights were better in the second spell and great shooting from Joshua Martinac with 25 points and Justin Friedrich with 24 saw them narrow the Hawks advantage. The Hawks hung on for their five point win with Henare Paenga top-scoring with 22, Jarom Henare 13 and Kurtis Tito 12.
A wedding thinned the ranks of Bloodlines Whangaruru as they travelled to Kaitaia to take on the Far North Thunder.
Even with only six players the visitors displayed too much skill and structure to keep the Thunder under control for most of the game, eventually running out 73-56 winners.
Keeghan Sadler and Imrahn Henare once again ran the game for Whangaruru with Zander Semenoff another standout.
Rihia Parangi was the player to impress for the Thunder. The young high school student scored 20 points for the Far North side.
His performance and the chance to see a top quality basketball match was enjoyed by Kaitaia basketball administrator Manuera Riwai.
"It was great to see such a quality side up here and they gave our guys a good hard game of basketball and the spectators a good spectacle to watch ... the game was played in good spirit but in the end Whangaruru had too much skill," he said.
Whangaruru Tukaiaia forfeited to the Muriwhenua women's team in the other scheduled TTT Classic match.