Basketball: Tukaiaia douse Flames

By Peter Thorley

This year's Super-6 competition may have become the Super-12 of Northland Basketball after the Te Tai Tokerau association joined forces with the Northland Suns Development Trust.

The Super-6 has been the premier men's club competition in Northland for two years and now in its third year, it will run alongside the six-team Classic Women's League which is great news for the game.

The men's and women's competitions started the season with a double header at Kamo High School Gym on Friday night with Whangaruru taking on Portland.

It was a good start for Whangaruru Tukaiaia as they burned a fresh looking Portland Flames outfit 74-33 in the first round of the Classic League.

Tukaiaia's one-on-one defence was successful in turning over plenty of ball and lead to foul trouble for the Flames as Whangaruru took command. Lettica and Keani Shelford defended strongly off the boards for Portland with Jaimee-lee Tito leading the attack to top score with 13.

For Tukaiaia, Sian Telfer was a shooting powerhouse, while Reannon Hetaraka-Sadler ran point well and made good drives to the basket to top score with 25.

The men's match was much closer with Full Blooded Whangaruru edging Portland Blazers 74-68.

The Blazers were pleased with their second-half efforts after trailing 24-40 at half-time with Harlyn Clunie rebounding well to get 13 points and development player Doug Makiri making the most of his opportunities to claw back Whangaruru's lead. Gerrard Martin and Walter Smith both shot 15 points, with Martin sinking 3-pointers at vital times to keep them in the game.

The Blazers got close but Full Blooded Whangaruru, with a good mix of youthful exuberance and experience, controlled the tempo of the game to finish with a win. Coach Aaron Sadler praised his youngsters for keeping their heads when the pressure was on, with Keeghan Sadler (17) and Kieron Henare (12) the top scorers.

In the first game on Saturday, Phoenix Takahiwai had too much for Bucks 2, winning 79-45. Both teams were slow to get going. Bucks 2 had a new team except for Morgan Taurua, who top scored with 16 with Liahona Hebden scoring 12.

Sue Reed-Thomas showed strong leadership with the Phoenix, dominating on offence and defence with 24 points. Te Ahureinga Read slotted some well timed 3-pointers, while rookie Dallas Organ made strong defensive rebounds. Lizzie Chapman scored 17 and also impressed with a number of turnovers.

The second game at Kamo saw Maunu Lights beat City Hawks 88-78. Maunu, playing with a small bench, stunned City in the first quarter taking an 18-point lead. City hung in there though with Ethan Penney working tirelessly to rack up 28 points while Justin Friedrich rebounded well to score 20.

In the Far North matches held at the new Te Rangi Aniwaniwa complex, Muriwhenua made the most of their home advantage to win both games. The men's team beat the Raumanga Royals 54-36 while the women beat Pipiwai 45-22.

- Northern Advocate

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