Rapid Wrap – Round 15

Photo credit: Katrina Parish

With NBS Nelson Giants already crowned Sky Broadband Rapid League champions Round 15 was all about teams jockeying to elevate their positions for the minor placings on the ladder.

The Canterbury Rams and Taranaki Airs are locked in a battle for the runners-up spot – take a look below on how many points the Rams scored in 16 minutes!

We also join the rest of the New Zealand basketball community in applauding the efforts of the NZ U17 Men’s team in finishing fourth at the FIBA U17 World Cup in Turkey - more on that and everything else that you need to know from across the Rapid League action as Mike Lacey takes you through the Rapid Wrap below.

BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams 60 Southland Sharks 27

In the final game of the Round BBQ’s Direct Canterbury Rams set a new Rapid League single game score in defeating the Southland Sharks 60-27 at Cowles Stadium on Sunday night.

The Rams shot a sizzling 61% (11/18) from beyond the arc and enjoyed season best contributions from Mac Stodart (17 points) and Josh Nickel (13 points) as well as 10 points and 10 rebounds from Aiden Tonge.

Bringing up a century of points this season Scott Telfer scored 13 points in a losing cause but strangely the Sharks leading scorer, and most efficient shooter, Connor Coll took just two shots in 15 minutes on the floor.

Taki Fahrensohn had 5 early points as the Rams established a 14-4 opening quarter advantage.

The Rams charged away in the second stanza adding 15 points whilst conceding just a solitary basket from Telfer.

Southlander Stodart scored 9 points in the third for his adopted Rams but the Sharks had slightly the better of things in the period with Andrew Wheeler and Quake Webster making triples.

41-22 ahead at three-quarter time the Rams changed gear in the fourth amassing 19 points and obliterating the previous record of 53 points.

Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints 39 Tauranga Whai 41

In the opening game of the round Mills Albert Pathways Wellington Saints were defeated at home 41-39 by Tauranga Whai on Wednesday night.

Whai were led by shooting guard Te Tuhi Lewis as he bettered his season best for the second time in as many games in making 19 points.

Leading 28-26 at three-quarter time Carter Hopoi extended the Whai advantage with a deep three.

Rangimarie Dougall-Mita nailed his second three of the contest and with Sam Gold adding points the Saints tied the scores at 35 apiece.

A series of Lewis free-throws and a slicing drive from Jayden Boucher took the visitors to a 41-35 lead inside the final 20 seconds to secure a fifth road win of the season.

Earlier Kazlo Evans Jnr (14 points) scored the first and last points of the opening quarter, one won by the Saints 11-8.

A couple of threes in the second period moved Lewis into double figures and with Evans Jr also up to 10 points himself the Saints were 21-15 to the good at half-time.

The Whai dominated the third stanza 13-5 thanks to threes from Lewis and Xanda Marsters plus 7 points from Hopoi – the Whai with the all-important impetus headed into the fourth.

Franklin Bulls 36 Napier RSA Hawke's Bay Hawks 22 

Both teams entered the contest having lost four of the last five games but it was the Franklin Bulls that improved their record beating the Napier RSA Hawks 36-22 in Pukekohe on Thursday night.

The Rapid League’s leading scorer Dru Leusogi-Ape led the way for the Bulls with 14 points and it was he that opened the scoring.

Jacob Murphy, another high volume scorer, was first on the board for the Hawks though the Bulls, after a couple of transition baskets from Corey Perry, led 8-3 at quarter time.

2024 New Zealand U17 representative Kahu Treacher made 5 points in the second spell for the Hawks but Harri Cocker-Grey caught the Hawke’s Bay defence napping with an uncontested make before a three from Christian Vano helped the Bulls to a 20-13 half-time lead.

Leusogi-Ape tallied 9 points in the third as the hosts increased their advantage to 31-18.

Treacher (11 points) scored in double figures for a fourth straight game but the Bulls had little trouble closing out the win.

NBS Nelson Giants 30 Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 31 

Crowned Rapid League champions last week and on a five game winning streak NBS Nelson Giants were upset by Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets at the Trafalgar Centre on Friday night going down 31-30.

Ahead 26-24 at three-quarter time the Giants only managed four points in the final period – all from leading scorer Nick Davison (11 points). The Nuggets were hardly prolific either but Joe Ahie made the scores that mattered with the former Onslow College standout making back-to-back threes to secure the come from behind victory.

A Kaleb Chamberlain three got the scoring underway and that was the difference at quarter time with the Giants ahead 9-6.

It was Chamberlain again with the final play of the first half – a fall away jump shot taking the hosts to an 18-11 half-time lead.

The Nuggets roared back into the contest in the third period outscoring the hosts 13-8. Josh Aitcheson (10 points), Matt Pyper and Caleb Smiler carried Otago into the lead only for Ernest Kerr to give the Giants a narrow 26-24 advantage with a quarter to play.

In the end it was Ahie’s threes that proved decisive!

Napier RSA Hawke's Bay Hawks 37 Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 34

Having lost to the Bulls at the Stockyard 48 hours earlier Napier RSA Hawks bounced back with a 37-34 home win against Property Brokers Manawatu Jets at Rodney Green Arena on Saturday evening.

Trailing 19-14 at half-time the Hawks got home on the back of a 23-15 second half with their leading scorer Jacob Murphy tallying 16 points and recent signings Denim Tuala-Fata and Kahu Treacher posting 9 and 7 respectively.

All seven Jets players got on the scoresheet with Jonty Kells scoring 8 and point guard Campbell Scott 7 points.

Four points from Hikaia Lambert helped the Jets to a 12-10 early lead and with a Scott three assisting their cause the Green Machine led 19-14 at half-time.

Murphy led the Hawks revival on the resumption, his 8 points carrying the hosts to a 24-19 lead. The Jets drew level in the final 30 seconds of the period as a Lambert make and a Scott trey made it 24 points apiece.

Kade Cartwright’s triple put the Hawks back in the lead and after Murphy also drilled a three Hawks led 32-26.

Kells and Stent would pull the Jets to within a single score but as has happened regularly this season they were unable to close out a tight one.

Taranaki Steeelformers Airs 43 Auckland Tuatara 36

The Taranaki Steeelformers Airs moved to joint second on the Rapid League ladder after a 43-36 win against Auckland Tuatara in New Plymouth on Sunday afternoon.

After Will and Josh Leger (9 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists) made the early running Aaron Sievert sunk a corner three to give the Tuatara an 11-6 quarter time advantage.

Reuben Fitzgerald extended the Tuatara lead before a pair of Nico Hill mid-range jumpers pulled the hosts to within three points (16-13) at half-time.

The Airs flew to 28 points by three-quarter time and a lead of 8 points as Dane Bertinshaw and Cameron Quinnell (11 points) connected from deep.

Sievert made 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter but triples number two and three from Morgan Trott and 7 points from Nico Hill (13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists) carried the Airs to victory.

Rapid Success

The Sky Broadband Rapid League has played its part in the historic run the New Zealand team enjoyed at the FIBA U17 Men’s World Cup in Turkey.

Becoming the first New Zealand team to finish in the top-four at a FIBA age-group World Cup the NZ U17’s boasted 11 of its 12 players on NBL rosters with 10 of those players suiting up in the Rapid League.

NZ Men’s U17 Squad at FIBA U17 World Cup

Jackson Ball, Basketball Hawkes Bay/ Hawkes Bay Hawks=

Ihaka Cate, Canterbury Basketball Association/ Canterbury Rams

Lachlan Crate, Basketball Manawatu / Manawatu Jets

Gus Dallow, Harbour Basketball Association / Auckland Tuatara

Oscar Goodman, Basketball Taranaki / NBA Global Academy

Hayden Jones, Nelson Basketball Association / Nelson Giants

Jackson Kiss, Basketball Auckland / Auckland Tuatara

Mana Martin, Canterbury Basketball Association/ Canterbury Rams

James Matthews, Nelson Basketball Association / Nelson Giants

Troy Plumtree, Wellington Basketball Association /Wellington Saints

Jameer Reed, Harbour Basketball Association / Auckland Tuatara

Hunter Te Ratana, Waitakere West Auckland Basketball / Auckland Tuatara

Rapid Regulars

With 15 rounds completed and one to go just 7 players have played every game of the season for their respective teams. Still in the peloton and headed for the finish line are

Nick Barrow (Tuatara), Halasiale Maile (Bulls), Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai), Nico Hill (Airs), Jackson Stent (Jets), Tyson Thata (Saints) and Robbie Coman (Nuggets).

Simply Rapid

The Rams became the first team to score 60 points in a single game when demolishing the Sharks 60-27. Three players scored in double figures but it was the extra gear they found from beyond the arc – making 11 from 16 at 61% - that accelerated the scoring.

Rapid Fire

Dru Leusogi-Ape scored 14 points against the Hawks to further extend his lead at the top of the points scoring leader board.

With the Bulls having two games in the final round of the season this week DL-A looks highly likely to top 200 points for the season.

Top scorers (100pts+):

186 Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls)

177 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

170 Nico Hill (Airs)

157 Josh Aitcheson (Nuggets)

144 Connor Coll (Sharks)

140 Ben Hall (Sharks)

137 Kaia Isaac (Rams)

136 Jacob Murphy (Hawks)

136 Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints)

135 Nick Davidson (Giants)

132 Tobias Cameron (Airs)

127 Tama Isaac (Rams)

127 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)

125 Tyson Thata (Saints)

118 Hayden Jones (Giants)

109 Matt Bardsley (Nuggets)

109 Scott Telfer (Sharks)

109 Kobe Kara (Hawks)

105 Tom Ingham (Saints)

104 Lachie Crate (Jets)

102 Robbie Coman (Nuggets)

100 Jett Thompson (Whai)

100 Mac Stodart (Rams)

Josh Aitcheson has taken the lead in the MVP voting and it would appear that only Kazlo Evans Jr and Dru Leusogi-Ape are in a position to knock the Otago wing off the top perch.

Top MVP Vote Gatherers:

100 Josh Aitcheson (Nuggets)

97 Kazlo Evans Jr (Saints)

86 Kaia Isaac (Rams)

81 Dru Leusogi-Ape (Bulls)

80 Robbie Coman (Nuggets)

80 Nick Davidson (Giants)

78 Connor Coll (Sharks)

76 Hayden Jones (Giants)

69 Ben Hall (Sharks)

67 Aston Inwood (Giants)

67 Nico Hill (Airs)

66 Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai)

66 Tama Isaac (Rams)

Sky Broadband Rapid League Standings

15-4 Nelson Giants

13-6 Taranaki Airs, Canterbury Rams

12-7 Wellington Saints

11-8 Otago Nuggets

10-9 Hawkes Bay Hawks

9-10 Auckland Tuatara

7-11 Franklin Bulls

7-12 Tauranga Whai

3-15 Southland Sharks, Manawatu Jets


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