Basketball: Auckland takes 3x3 basketball title

Team Auckland winners of the World Tour Qualifier Final. Photo / Photosport
Team Auckland winners of the World Tour Qualifier Final. Photo / Photosport

Auckland win the Burger King 3X3 Quest Tour and secure trip to The World Masters in China.

It will be Auckland that will represent New Zealand at The World Masters in Beijing later in the year after the Karl Noyer led team won a nail biting local derby final against West Auckland 13-12.

Auckland had won comfortably in pool play, 15-8, against their near neighbours but Noyer admitted fatigue was a factor in the final played at ASB stadium in Auckland on Saturday.

"The two teams were tired having already played seven hard games but with a little bit of luck and skill we were able to hang on for the win. We were ahead by two points entering the last minute and then gave up a basket. It was pretty tough day so good to get the win"

Both teams had scoring opportunities in the final minute but it was the Auckland team of Noyer, Rory Fannon, John Harrisson and James McLeod that prevailed and will now head to China.

Noyer was then asked how he felt about his team representing New Zealand on the world stage.

"We won the World Tour Qualifier last year so went to the Philippines but our progression wasn't as good as we wanted it to be so this year we get a chance to work up to it for 5-6 months"

Teammate James McLeod really enjoys the 3x3 format.

"It's a bit more physical. Being a sharp shooter it can pretty much make or break a team. It is fast paced and anyone's game out there which we saw today," said James McLeod

Earlier Tauranga, Wellington, Auckland and West Auckland had graduated from round robin play at the expense of Palmerston North, Queenstown and Waitakere.
Auckland beat Tauranga 21-15 in one semi final and West Auckland edged Wellington 13-12 in the other semi. The scores were locked at 12 apiece in the dying seconds but Patrich Bolstad calmly slotted home a free throw after the full time buzzer to take West Auckland into the final.

Event Director David Huxford says the weekend's concluding Tour event had showcased some of the best teams from the tour.

"We've travelled throughout New Zealand and had record numbers at almost every event. There was a lot on the line today with an all-expenses paid trip to China, to compete at the FIBA World Masters in Beijing in September.

New Zealand has already proven more than adept in the abbreviated and exciting format of the game, twice winning FIBA World Championships (U18 Men) in 2011 and 2015). That success helped propel the likes of Isaac Fotu, Reuben Te Rangi and Tai Webster on to successful US College or pro careers while three of the 2015 team have confirmed USA Division 1 College scholarships.

Noyer's team will now represent Auckland at the World Tour Masters in Beijing 16-17 September 2016. The FIBA World Tour culminates in the World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi in October 2016. If team Auckland win at the World Tour masters in Beijing then they get a ticket to play in the World Tour Masters Final.

- NZ Herald

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