Heat Reserves to Meet AUT in CBL Final
As expected AUT and Harbour Heat Reserves both won their Conference Basketball League Zone 1 semi finals although the circumstances were rather different.
AUT cruised to victory over Auckland Rivets, leading by 23 points with five minutes remaining before eventually winning 93-80. The high pressure defence of AUT combined with a more than handy 48% (36 from 75) shooting from the field was too much for Auckland who to their credit never gave up. Mike Townsend with a double double of 21 points and 12 rebounds was the best for Auckland but he and his colleagues had no answer to the all round scoring ability of AUT who had 11 scorers in the game led by Houston O’Riley with 28 points.
In the second semi final Harbour Heat also appeared to be heading to a comfortable victory as they shot out to a 25-18 quarter time advantage which had been extended to 53-35 by half time.
However the Breakers Academy scored the first eight points of the third quarter and when Brad Anderson scored six consecutive points midway through the quarter the deficit was in single figures, 60-52. Hayden Allen replied with consecutive baskets for the Heat but when Morgan Nathan made a basket and a free throw to close the quarter the Breakers were still in the hunt as they trailed 58-66.
Heat Reserves, with baskets from Allen, Michael Dawson and player coach Dan Ryan stretched their lead to 14 but some excellent defence from the Breakers big men and penetration from Marco Alexander gave the Breakers some momentum and with 4:05 remaining the Breakers Academy sniffed an upset as they clawed their way back to within six points, 69-75.
However, the Harbour Heat was having none of it and used all their experience to expertly close out the game in the final minutes. Allen and Ryan scored some crucial free throws and Karl Noyer iced the game with the last four points to give Heat Reserves a deserved 89-78 victory. Hayden Allen finished with 33 points, 5 steals and 5 rebounds for Heat Reserves and player coach Dan Ryan had a double double of 18 point and 10 rebounds whilst shooting guard Karl Noyer had 19 points.
Brad Anderson, 20 points, led the scoring for the Breakers who were also well served by Marco Alexander 14 points and Sam King 13 points. (MIke Lacey)
AUT 93 (Houston O’Riley 28, Jarrod Kenny14, Josh Tuaiti 12, Makavilitogia 12) Auckland Rivets 80 (Mike Townsend 21, Simon Mesritz 17, Linden Simmons 12)
Harbour Heat Reserves 89 (Hayden Allen 33, Karl Noya 19, Dan Ryan 18) Breakers Academy 78 (Brad Anderson 20, Marco Alexander 14, Sam King 13)