Basketball: Cameron adds fire as Blazers run riot

By Cameron Leslie

While Whangaruru continued their strong form to remain unbeaten, it was the return of Ray Cameron that created the biggest stir in the Super-6 and TTT Classic Basketball leagues with the Blazers upsetting Muriwhenua.

Cameron, home from university, helped the Blazers with five three-pointers and top scoring with 21 as his team trampled the previously unbeaten Muriwhenua 86-44.

The Blazers' press defence overwhelmed Muriwhenua, with the smaller courts restricting Muriwhenua's game.

Down 20-4 in the first quarter, the Blazers kept the momentum throughout the game with Herb Smith and Harlyn Clunie's defensive efforts limiting Muriwhenua's opportunities.

"Good effort with everyone running the lanes, but our defence lapsed in the fourth quarter, which we will need to improve on," coach Tom Clunie said.

The Maunu Lights came out on top in a hard fought game, 76-70, with Maunu's youth and speed troubling Raumanga.

While Raumanga kept in touch the whole game they left their comeback a little too late. Maunu, playing with a small line-up, hustled on defence with Ethan Penny top-scoring on 24 points and working tirelessly on both offence and defence. The next highest contributors were Niasi Malua on 19 and Brad Pitman with 17.

Whangaruru became the only women's team to maintain their 100 per cent record in the TTT Classic League with a 78-43 win over Phoenix Takahiwai.

Te Aniwa Kingi top-scored with 17 points, pulling in rebounds and working a good inside game with Kandyss Hetaraka. Kingi and Hetaraka proved difficult to stop in the key, with Hetaraka scoring off Kingi's assists.

Building on their 18-38 half-time lead, Sian Telfer and Reannon Hetaraka-Sadler ran riot by creating turnovers with tenacious defence, then converting them into points at the other end, between them adding 28 points to Whangaruru's total.

Muriwhenua women also played their first away competition game of the season at Kensington Stadium against the Portland Flames. They were well in the game at half-time but were closed out in the second spell, finally losing 46-61.

Captain Lisa Ratana led her team well, with credit going to Phillipa Campbell for directing her team on offence, and with Trina Robert a tough nugget to crack on the flanks. Pip Campbell with 15 points was Muriwhenua's top-scorer ahead of Nicola Murray on 13.

Coach Raewyn Jujnovich congratulated the Portland Flames for their win and said they were a well drilled team, filled with accurate three-point shooters and "hard out" defenders.

The Flames maintained control with strong rebounds and transition of the ball through the court and once they had established a division in the score, they did not let up.

Both Leylanni Cameron-Tana and Jaimee-lee Tito top-scored with 16 and 15 respectively

Bucks 2 were too good for Pipiwai, winning 72-42, with Bucks' Adonia Lewis top scoring with 24 points. The Bucks had an eye on the future and introduced new players in the way of Ivy Rakich, Jussica Musgrove and Kyla Moore.

This Tuesday sees City Hawks take on Full Blooded Whangaruru at 6pm, before next week's matches tip off at 6pm on Friday with Whangaruru Tukaia up against Bucks 2 and Portland Blazers taking on the Raumanga Royals. Saturday sees Muriwhenua's teams playing Phoenix Takahiwai and the City Hawks, both games at 2pm. Those games are followed by Full Blooded Whangaruru against Maunu Lights, and Pipiwai and Portland Flames at 4pm.

- Northern Advocate

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