Basketball: The going gets tough

By Cameron Leslie

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Looking for something to do either tomorrow night or Saturday?


Head along to ASB Stadium and check out Northland's top basketballers battle it out in the semifinals of the Super 6 and TTT Classic.

After 10 rounds, the top four men's and women's teams have finally reached the business end of the season, with the game to watch being a rematch from last weekend as Full Blooded Whangaruru take on Muriwhenua's men's team on Saturday at 2pm.

However, the play-offs' first order of business will be tomorrow night with Muriwhenua's women's team taking on the Portland Flames at 7pm in the first of the TTT Classic semifinals.

Portland will look to use their experience to knock over the second placed Muriwhenua team. Lead floor marshall Carol Clunie said Muriwhenua are a team which combines well and is being dubbed a bit of a dark horse.

Saturday sees the action tip-off at 12pm with the top TTT Classic team, Whangaruru Tukaiaia, take of the fourth-ranked side, Phoenix Takahiwai.

Clunie said Whangaruru are known for their ball pressure which causes opposition to turn the ball over. However, she also noted Takahiwai's strong rebound ability and the energetic development players they possess could make for an interesting match-up.

Following the TTT Classic matches come the weekend's marque match, between the Super 6's Full Blooded Whangaruru and Muriwhenua.

Both teams have had a win and a loss this season and will be looking to have the last say in their do-or-die encounter.

Muriwhenua, who placed third, will have to dig deep this weekend as Whangaruru, placed second, will be out to secure a win after going down to Muriwhenua last weekend during the last game of the round.

Whangaruru will need to use their full court press defence to out-energise their opponents who are known for their energy and enthusiasm.

The weekend's final match-up at ASB Stadium is between the Portland Blazers and the Raumanga Royals, who scrapped in after a jam for the final play-off berth. Portland will look to use their mixture of youth and experience to outplay and contain the Royals who are known for their breakaway scores.

Clunie said running the Super 6 with the TTT Classic had exceeded her expectations.

"The performances of the players has surpassed all others," said Clunie. There is an entry fee of $2 for 16-years and older with under-16s having free entry.


Match-ups

Friday: 7pm: Portland Flames v Muriwhenua.

Saturday: 12pm: Phoenix Takahiwai v Whangaruru Tukaiaia; 2pm: Full Blooded Whangaruru v Muriwhenua; 4pm: Portland Blazers v Raumanga Royals.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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