Whai vs. Tuatara: Auckland Win Big in Tauranga

The Auckland Tuatara have gone 2-0 in Round Two of the 2024 Sal’s NBL following a big win in Tauranga over the Whai.

In just their second game in franchise history – another big crowd packed Baypark Arena to see their squad go toe-to-toe with the star-studded Tuatara line up, and they weren’t disappointed.

In a back and forth opening quarter, it was the bigs from both teams putting on a show! Vance Jackson Junior showing his elite touch from outside the arc by knocking down a pair of triples enroute to 10 first quarter points, as savvy veteran and reigning MVP of the league Rob Loe added seven for the visitors.

The Tuatara came out with a hiss and a roar in the second, starting the quarter on a huge 14-0 run to flip the script. Veteran Reuben Te Rangi fuelling the visitors with 14 second quarter points, in a masterclass in how to get to the rim. Despite Whai import forward Vance Jackson Jr pulling the home side back into the game with another pair of threes – it was the Aucklanders who went into the sheds at halftime up ten. 

The pace of the game slowed up considerably in the third quarter – as the Whai looked to grind their way back into the game. East Carolina product Vance Jackson Jr showing his scoring ability again, as he and Phillip Carr combined for 13 third quarter points. But the Tuatara were able to keep the Whai at arms length, and went into the final period up eight.

The Tuatara really lay it on in the fourth –  continuing to get to their spots with ease and blowing the lead out in the late stages of the game.

The young Whai squad will be left to rue a big foul count and some poor defensive lapses during the game, as they fall short of getting their second win.


Result: Whai 72 lost to Tuatara 92

Leading Players

[Whai]: Vance Jackson Jr (22 pts, 7 reb, 4 3PM), Kruz Perrott-Hunt (15 pts, 3 stl)

[Tuatara]: Reuben Te Rangi (23 pts, 9-16 FG), Corey Webster (22 pts, 4 ast, 4 reb), Rob Loe (16 pts, 13 reb)

MVP Votes:

Reuben Te Rangi (Tuatara) - 10 votes

Corey Webster (Tuatara) - 8 votes

Vance Jackson Jr. (Whai) - 6 votes

Rob Loe (Tuatara) - 4 votes

Kruz Perrott-Hunt (Whai) - 1 vote

Demarcus Holland (Whai) - 1 vote


In the earlier Sky Broadband Rapid League game:

The Tuatara young guns keep rolling in the Sky Broadbrand Rapid League notching up their third win in as many games, defeating the Whai in Tauranga.

A tight first half saw the Whai lead it at the half by three, however Tuatara guard Reuben Fitzgerald (9 pts, 3-5 FG) put the Aucklanders on his back as they outscored the Whai 19-10 in the second half to pull away.

Te Tuhi Lewis (10 pts, 2 3PM) led the way for the Whai, and the ever-active Jett Thompson showed plenty of fight in the loss.  


Result: Whai (24) lost to Tuatara (30)

Leading Players

[Whai]: Te Tuhi Lewis (10 pts, 2 3PM), Carter Hopoi (4 pts, 2-2 FG)

[Tuatara]: Reuben Fitzgerald (9 pts), Jameer Reed (6 pts, 4 reb), Nick Barrow (5 pts, 6 reb)

MVP Votes:

Reuben Fitzgerald (Tuatara) - 10 votes

Nick Barrow (Tuatara) - 6 votes

Te Tuhi Lewis (Whai) - 6 votes

Will Leger (Tuatara) - 4 votes

Jameer Reed (Tuatara) - 2 votes

Jayden Boucher (Whai) - 1 vote

Carter Hopoi (Whai) - 1 vote


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