Basketball: Thrilling semifinal on cards

By Cameron Leslie

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Resting players wasn't an option for Muriwhenua against Full Blooded Whangaruru, as they squeaked through to the semifinals of the Super 6.

However, for Muriwhenua they'll have to do it all again this weekend if they want to make the grand final as they face Whangaruru in the semifinals.

On Saturday, Muriwhenua knocked over Whangaruru 75-73 thanks to some strong shooting from star players Pocko Still (24 points) and Atama O'Donnell (22), who combined to score 46 points.

Muriwhenua began strongly, catching Whangaruru unawares to grab an early lead before Muriwhenua's maturity kicked in.

Muriwhenua showed patience to create and hold the lead. Tumoana Halkyard controlled the point well for Muriwhenua, and good slick passing from PJ Christensen meant Still was able to secure many points for his team.

In other Super 6 matches, a three-way tie for fourth place, between Raumanga, Maunu and City, was created after the table-topping Portland Blazers downed the Maunu Lights by 68-59, and the City Hawks upset Raumanga Royals 83-76.

Maunu's fourth-quarter comeback, where Portland were outscored by 15 points, wasn't enough to knock Portland over. Ethan Penney led from the front for Maunu with a match-high 22 points, assisted nicely by Justin Friedrich with 15.

For the Blazers it was Harlyn Clunie and Louis Davis who did the damage with 19 and 14 points respectively.

In the final Super 6 match, it was the City Hawks who caused a jam for the final play-off berth with their 83-76 win over Raumanga. Despite losing, Raumanga still held on for the fourth spot.

City's Klay Rouse played hard and contested for the ball at all times, resulting in a top score of 28 for his team. Rouse was well supported by player-coach Warrick Siddall with 17.

In the TTT Classic there also was a tie for the final play-off spot between Phoenix Takahiwai and Bucks, with the spot going to Takahiwai.

In Takahiwai's match, they demolished Pipiwai on Thursday by 88-15 with top scorers Jayde Rakich-Tuhiwa and Sue Reed-Thomas scoring 19 and 15 points respectively.

In the weekend's other TTT Classic matches, Whangaruru proved too strong for Muriwhenua, winning by 70-56 and the Portland Flames rubbed salt into the wounds as the Bucks missed out on the play-offs.

This weekend's semifinals sees Muriwhenua women's team take on the Portland Flames at 6pm on Friday; on Saturday Whangaruru Tukaiaia will be up against Phoenix Takahiwai at 12pm.

A rematch from last weekend will take place at 2pm between Full Blooded Whangaruru and Muriwhenua before the Portland Blazers take on Raumanga Royals at 4pm.

All matches will be at Kensington Stadium.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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