Rapid League Wrap: Round 4

Photo credit: Masanori Udagawa/Photo Wellington

Round 4 of the Sky Broadband Rapid League began on Wednesday with the NBS Nelson Giants preserving their unbeaten record.

The Southland Sharks, the only team with two games in the round, came up empty handed on their trip north losing to both the Tuatara and Whai.

NBS Nelson Giants 37, Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 33

The match-up between the bottom and top team's on the Rapid League ladder went to form but the Nelson Giants were pushed all the way before eventually beating the Manawatu Jets 37-33 at the Trafalgar Centre on Wednesday.

The Jets trailed 29-25 at three-quarter time but when Lachie Crate (8 points) tied the game (31-31) and then Jonty Kells knotted the contest at 33’s with 1:24 to play an upset looked on the cards. However a jump shot in rhythm from Tom Ingham (9 points) and a pair of free-throws from Kaleb Chamberlain got the job done.

Manawatu’s Hikaia Lambert had 10 of his game high 12 points in the first half but the experienced duo of Sam Dempster (8 points), on debut, and Ingham kept the Giants ahead – although only just – 21-20 at the interval.

2023 New Zealand U16 teammates Hayden Jones and Lachie Crate exchanged baskets in the third, a quarter shaded by the hosts 8-5.

Zavier Pearn (6 points) trimmed the margin in the final quarter but the Giants did just enough to prevail for a fifth straight victory.

Franklin Bulls 25, Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 29

The Bulls welcomed back Dom Kelman-Poto from his 3x3 Tall Blacks commitments but his inclusion couldn’t inspire a home victory as the Otago Nuggets claimed a 29-25 victory – their second of the season - in Pukekohe on Thursday night.

Isaac Davidson and Josh Aitcheson scored all but two of the points in the opening quarter, a frame won 9-7 by the home team. There were 7 points apiece from the experienced duo although strangely neither could add to their personal tally through the remainder of the game.

A low scoring second period ensued with the highlight being a two handed flush from Matt Bardsley (8 points) to tie proceedings at 13-all.

The Bulls were kept to just four points in the third with the Matt’s - Bardsley and Pyper (7 points) - taking advantage to set up a 24-17 lead ahead of the final four minutes.

Young Bulls Brody Perry and Harri Coker-Grey trimmed the margin to three points early in the fourth before Robbie Coman (5 points and 5 rebounds) and Bardsley provided the scoring ammunition to secure a Nuggets win.

Auckland Tuatara 26, Southland Sharks 20

The Auckland Tuatara (4-2) moved to outright second on the Rapid ladder with a hard fought 26-20 home win against the Southland Sharks.

Nick Barrow added 7 rebounds to 8 points and Connor Coll totalled 10 points as the opposing big men shared the limelight.

The lowest scoring opening quarter of the season, won 5-4 by the visitors, was illuminated by a brace of impressive blocks by Riley Snow.

Despite a couple of scores from Tuatara’s 16-year old debutant Jackson Kiss, the Sharks still held a single point advantage at half-time (13-12) thanks to a  pair of threes from Coll.

The Tuatara upped the defensive intensity after the break holding the Sharks to just a single basket and that from former Westlake Boys High forward Scott Telfer. Barrow and Josh Leger (6 points and 9 rebounds) provided the necessary offensive clout to edge the Tuatara out to a 20-15 three-quarter time lead.

A Quake Webster triple made it a two-point game with 1:15 to play but Reuben Fitzgerald (5 points) ensured the hosts would claim a fourth win of the season.

Napier RSA Hawks 42, BBQ Factory Rams 33

 Another 16-year old Jackson, namely Jackson Ball, paced the young Hawks outfit to a convincing 42-33 victory over the Canterbury Rams in Napier on Saturday. Ball finished with a season high 15 points on 6 from 9 shooting including 3 from 6 from beyond the arc.

One of those triples came in the opening quarter and with Jacob Murphy (8 points) also landing from deep the Hawks established a 12-6 first quarter lead.

Tommy Fergusson (6 points and 5 rebounds) took a heavy fall but got up to make the first points of the second, a period the Hawks totally dominated outscoring the Rams 11-2 with Ball scoring a further five points.

The Isaac brothers, Kai (13 points) and Tama (8 points and 4 assists), scored all of the Rams 10 points in the third period although Murphy and Ball ensured the hosts were still in control at the last break leading 32-18.

The Rams had the better of the fourth frame but Ryder Moore’s late three capped a fine Hawks performance and a third straight win.

Whai 40, Southland Sharks 31

The Whai made 9 from 17 three-pointers (52%) on their way to a 40-31 win against Southland Sharks in Tauranga on Sunday afternoon.

With new signing Denhym Brooke (8 points) scoring with his first touch and Te Tuhi Lewis (12 points) dropping a couple of threes Whai were out to an 11-6 lead in the first quarter.

Another Whai debutant, Harlan Roudon, scored on the resumption and with Adam Dunstan (7 points) and Maioro Greensill (9 points) chipping in with buckets the home side were out to an 11-point lead.

Scott Telfer (6 points) and Riley Snow (9 points and 8 rebounds) took advantage of multiple trips to the foul line to pull the Sharks to within single digits (24-15) at half-time.

Connor Coll made a couple of inside baskets but the Whai traded only in threes in the spell – one each for Lewis, Greensill and Brooke gave them a 33-21 lead.

The Sharks finished the stronger with Matariki Kapea (8 points) and Snow doing damage in the paint but a fourth three of the contest from Lewis, from just five attempts, ensured the Whai would claim their second win of the season.

Mills Albert Wellington Saints 36, Taranaki Steeelformers Airs 34

A banked short range shot by Josh Tutagalevao with 17 seconds to play proved to be the game winner as Wellington Saints beat Taranaki Airs 36-34 in the final game of the round in Wellington on Sunday evening. Tutagalevao finished with a game high 13 points as the Saints won a third straight game.

Leading 34-25 early in the final quarter the hosts appeared to be headed to a straightforward victory.

However the Airs struck back through Nico Hill (11 points) and Geordie Hoeata (8 points) to level the tie at 34 points apiece with 30 seconds to play - then up stepped Tutagalevao with the game winner.

The experienced duo of Derone Raukawa and Quinton Bailey had got the Airs off to a quick start before Tyson Thata (8 points) led a second quarter scoring surge to put the home team ahead 22-20 at half-time.

Threes from Kazlo Evans Jnr and Rangimarie Dougall-Mita took the Saints to a 32-24 three-quarter time lead ahead of those rousing final minutes.

Rapid MVP Rankings

Ben Hall remains the number one ranked player despite not playing in Round 4 after being promoted to the Sharks starting five.

Top 10 MVP vote gatherers:

31 Ben Hall (Sharks)

30 Tommy Fergusson (Hawks)

28 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

27 Lachie Crate (Jets)

27 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)

26 Reuben Fitzgerald (Tuatara)

26 Nico Hill (Airs)

24 Matt Bardsley (Nuggets)

23 Nick Barrow (Tuatara)

22 Jackson Ball (Hawks)

Rapid Success

The New Zealand Secondary Schools 3x3 National Championships were held in Wellington recently and all three medaling schools in the Boy’s Tournament had Rapid League players involved.

Aquinas College were crowned champions with CJ Flavell (Whai) in their ranks.

Rotorua Boys High finished runners-up and had Xanda Marsters and Mahnaya Heke (both Whai players) in their line-up while bronze medalists Rosmini College had Josh Wyllie (Auckland Tuatara) to the fore. 

In addition Wylie and Marsters were both named to the Tournament’s All-Star Four.

NB – The Aquinas College victory was the first National Title in any sport for the school and also the first Boy’s National Basketball Championship by any Tauranga school.

Rapid Express

Hawks teenage guard Jackson Ball topped the single game scoring in Round 4 with an impressive display in the victory against the Rams. The Napier Boys High School standout scored 15 points on 6 from 9 shooting including 3 from 6 from downtown.

Rapid Fire

The leading overall points scorer this season is the Manawatu Jets 17 year-old guard Lachie Crate with 58 points. Ben Hall didn’t play Rapid League in Round 4 but remains the only other player to have raised a half century of points.

Top 10 scorers:

58 Lachie Crate (Jets)

51 Ben Hall (Sharks)

44 Tommy Fergusson (Hawks)

44 Nico Hill (Airs)

42 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

38 Connor Coll (Sharks)

38 Tyson Thata (Saints)

38 Jackson Ball (Hawks)

36 Josh Tutagalevao (Saints)

36 Josh Leger (Tuatara)

Rapid Arrivals

Our Rapid League debutants in Round 4 were:

Sam Dempster (Giants)

Dom Kelman-Poto and Isaac Davidson (Bulls)

Jackson Kiss (Tuatara)

Taki Fahrensohn and Kaia Isaac (Rams)

Harlan Roudon and Denhym Brooke (Whai)

Cooper Ohlson (Airs)

Sky Broadband Rapid League Standings after Round 4

5-0 NBS Nelson Giants

4-2 Auckland Tuatara

3-1 Hawkes Bay Hawks

3-2 Wellington Saints

2-2 Otago Nuggets, Canterbury Rams, Whai, Taranaki Airs

2-4 Southland Sharks

1-3 Franklin Bulls

0-6 Manawatu Jets


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