Former Hawks player Alonzo Burton has ignited the fuse of the new Basketball Hawke's Bay competition with a 35-point serving for his Toro Atu team.
Burton, who was the captain of the Taranaki Mountainairs in the National Basketball League this winter, helped spearhead his team to 105-80 victory over Hastings Old Boys in the opening round of the Trial Media Elite League in Napier yesterday. However, high school teams also are among the early favourites in the men's and women's matches staged at the Pettigrew-Green Arena, Taradale.
Only a single point separated Toro Atu from Hastings Old Boys in the first quarter. Toro Atu forward Joshua Anderson set the pace with nine points. The opposition kept Ravi Mani on a leash but the Toro Atu skipper chimed in with 15 points in the second spell for a 49-38 halftime lead.
Reece Tuala-Fata stood out for Hastings Old Boys, chipping in with 12 first half points.
Burton had exploded in the third quarter with four three-pointers to add to 14 first-half points.
■ Toro Atu 105 (A Burton 35, J Anderson 24, R Mani 21) Hastings Old Boys 80 (R Tuala-Fata 19, D Miller 15, M Edwards 14).
A youthful Napier Boys' High School had too much class for an older, slower Napier Tech Sweepers in their 115-66 win.
NBHS pair Jacob Murphy and YuQing Jiang were clinical after most of the schoolboys' starting line up rested after they had played Palmerston North Boys' High on the road earlier in the day.
Tech Sweepers held led 10-9 led on the back of Ex-Hawks Ben Hill and Clifton Bush Jr II after four minutes but couldn't maintain the intensity when they went to their bench. NBHS went 56-26 up at halftime.
Hawks co-assistant coach Morgan Maskell replied with five consecutive points, including one from downtown, but that energy didn't last for the Sweepers.
■ NBHS 115 (J Murphy 42, Y Jiang 24, K Tihi 17) Sweepers 66 (M Maskell 13, B Hill 12, C Bush Jr II 11).
Hastings Boys' High School had to dig themselves out of a 27-6 hole in the first quarter but it wasn't fast and furious enough to overhaul Kings who posted a 97-53 win.
Former Hawks Dee Davies and Kareem Johnson showed no mercy before HBHS clinched the second quarter 24-17 thanks to Lamour Spooner and Te Paera Makea. The third was even as HBHS trailed 69-44.
Johnson scored 13 fourth-quarter points for a game-high 37.
HBHS coach Curtis Wooten would have been his inexperienced youngsters had adjusted to the speed and physicality of the league before they face Tech Sweepers in the next round. Kings will gauge their worth against Toro Atu.
■ Kings 97 (K Johnson 37, D Davies 13, T Poto 10) HBHS 53 (T Makea 12, O Clinton & L Spooner 9).
Napier Girls' High School look like the side to beat in the women's competition despite some hiccups in the 84-55 victory over Bridge Pa.
NGHS linchpin Melika Samia could only manage a point in the first quarter as coach Maskell called a timeout when Raedeen Blake spoon-fed a basket on defence, reducing the schoolgirls' lead to 24-22 midway through the second quarter.
The schoolgirls took the pep talk to heart, going on a 17-7 run after the timeout for a 41-29 halftime lead on the back of Samia's 10 points. Blake and Kahlia Awa were the toast of Bridge Pa, mustering close to half the team's points.
NGHS year 9 pair of Aliyah King and Madison Cunningham put their hand up considering the side were without four of their starters.
■ NGHS 84 (M Samia, K Burgess 20; M Cunningham 17) Bridge Pa 55 (K Awa, R Blake 11).
The Flyers overcame the Ravens 48-38 in a low-scoring, defensive affair after the former led 21-16 at halftime.
Domonique O'Brien and Kaya Lord called the shots for Flyers while Julie Fergusson spearheaded the Ravens with five first-half points and the first four in the second spell.
However, the Flyers won the third quarter by three for a 36-28 lead before Taradale High pupil Tayler Clare combined with Madison King to muster 19 of the 27 points in the final quarter despite Alisha Makea's 10 second-half points for the Ravens.
■ Flyers 48 (T Clare 15, K Lord & M King 6) Ravens 38 (A Makea 11, J Fergusson 10).
RD 1 DETAILS
■ Men's top 10 scorers: 1. Jacob Murphy (NBHS) 42pts, 2. Kareem Johnson (Kings) 37, 3. Alonzo Burton (Toro Atu) 35, 4. Josh Anderson (Toro Atu) 24, 4. YuQing Jiang (NBHS) 24, 6. Ravi Mani (Toro Atu) 21, 7. Reece Tuala-Fata (Hastings OB) 19, 8. Kyle Tihi (NBHS) 17, 9. Devante Miller (Hastings OB) 15, 10. Marcos Edwards (Hastings OB) 14.
Women: 1. Kelarney Burgess (NGHS) 20pts, 1. Melika Samia (NGHS) 20, 3. Madison Cunningham (NGHS) 17, 4. Tayler Clare (Flyers) 15, 5. Aliyah King (NGHS) 14, 6= Kahlia Awa (Bridge Pa), Raedeen Blake (Bridge Pa), Alisha Makea (Ravens), all 11; 9. Julie Fergusson (Ravens) 10; 10. Passion Te Amo (Bridge Pa) 9.
Rd 2 at the Rodney Green Entertainment Centre, Napier:
7pm: NBHS v Hastings Old Boys.
7.30pm: Napier Tech Sweepers v HBHS.
8.30pm: Toro Atu v Kings.
6pm: Ravens v Napier GHS.
7.30pm: Bridge Pa v Flyers.