Canterbury Takes Gold at the U23 Nationals
Under 23 National BBall championships in Porirua
Canterbury Men’s Under 23 basketball team, under long-term coach, former Tall-Black and Canterbury Ram Dave Langrell, regained the National championship when it edged Waikato Country 98-96 in the Grand final played in the Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua on Saturday.
Canterbury has a proud record at the championship having made the grand final in four successive years, beating Hutt Valley 84-82 in the 2015 Grand final and finished runner-ups to Harbour in 2016 and Counties-Manukau in 2014.
James Cawthorn (Lincoln University) has been an anchor man for Canterbury for all four team, and made the tournament team along with another former LU, and current Wolverines player, Sam Smith; while for his consistent efforts all week Taylor Britt (Wolverines) won the coveted MVP award.
In pool play Canterbury played well, led by Cawthorn, Britt, Ben Bowie and Nate Campbell. No team was able to match the speed of the team. In the Quarter-final against Waitakere-West Britt (29) came out after half time and hit three consecutive 3's to put the nail in the WW coffin and Canterbury pulled away to win 104-75. It was unique to see Canterbury’s Ben and Josiah Williams to play against their younger brother Elijah for WW.
In the semi-finals Canterbury met Hutt Valley in a replay of the 2015 final, with both sides evenly matched. Hutt took a 26-22 first-quarter lead while Britt and the Williams brothers, Ben and Josiah, pulled Canterbury back to level the game 42-42 by half-time break. The game was tied 54-54 in the third quarter before Canterbury started to pull away to a three-quarter lead of 68-61 and eventually take the game 92-79. Britt topped the scoresheet with 29, Smith (14) and Bowie (17) were strong about the court.
The Men’s Grand-final continually changed with Waikato Country, led by the tall Hyrum Harris (26 and 17 rebounds) challenged an unsettled Canterbury. Waikato Country which had earlier disposed of Otago 106-81 in the semi, pulled to a 26-22 first-quarter lead. Britt drew fouls on Harris who was rested and Canterbury, through the efforts of Joe Cook-Green, Josiah Williams and Smith edged ahead 50-48 at the turn-around. Baskets were repeatedly traded in the third session with Waikato going to the break ahead 76-71.
Cook-Green pulled Canterbury back early in the fourth to take the lead 83-81 but just as quickly Waikato found space to push ahead 91-83 with 5.40 remaining. Cook-Green with a Man-of-the-final effort splashed in several triples to give Canterbury a 95-92 lead with two remaining. Waikato missed several vital chances in the last 60 seconds while a triple to Smith put Canterbury in the lead again 98-96 with 8 seconds remaining. Waikato then failed with a missed lay-up on the buzzer for Canterbury to take the Grand-Final.
The Canterbury women scraped into semi-final play, having edged Porirua 61-60 in Round-robin play on Friday to finish in fourth place and were rewarded with a tough semi-final matchup against Waikato. Earlier Canterbury had been drubbed 83-57 by Waikato in pool play but gave Waikato a strong run in the Semi-final, before eventually going down 91-65, through the efforts of teenage wonder Charlisse Leger-Walker (40 points). Lucy Brown 18; Caitlin Grice 14, 10;, Kendal Hastie 12 ;and Tessa Stewart-Morrison 11 points were the main contributors for Canterbury.
In the third-place play-off Otago with a powerful 30 points to Jeanie Pattison proved too strong for the Canterbury women, winning 76-56. Stewart-Morrison replied with 19 points for Canterbury. Waikato remained unbeaten thumping Tauranga 83-46 in the Grand-Final
Men’s U23: Pool play: Canterbury 108 (James Cawthorn 33, 10R; Nate Campbell 17; Sam Smith 14; Joe Cook-Green 13) Taranaki 63 (Beauden Giddey 14), Canterbury 86 (Ben Bowie 16; Taylor Britt 15; Ben Williams 13) Te Tai Tokerau 52 (Jackson Harvey 15).
Quarter-final: Canterbury 104 (Britt 29; Cawthorn 17, Bowie 12, 10R) Waitakere West 75 (Judson Seumanu 16). HT: 53-27.
Semi-finals: Canterbury 92 (Britt 30; Bowie 17; Smith 14) Hutt Valley 79 (Jackson Stubbins 15). HT: 42-42, Waikato Country 106 (Hyrum Harris 26) Otago 81 (Josh Aitcheson 22).
Grand Final: Canterbury 98 (Smith 24; Cook-Green 19, 10A, 7R,;Britt 12, Bowie 10, 7R; Cawthorn 10) Waikato Country 96 (Jayden Bezzant 27, 8A, 5S; Hyrum Harris 26, 17R; Jethro Taylor 22; Te Rerenga Wetere 12). HT: 50-48.
MVP: Taylor Britt (Canterbury). Tournament team: James Cawthorn and Samuel Smith (Canterbury).
Women’s U23: Round robin play: Tauranga 80 Canterbury 77; Canterbury 78 Manawatu 65; Waikato 83 Canterbury 57; Otago 74 Canterbury 59; Canterbury 61 Porirua 60.
Semi-finals: Waikato 91 (Charlisse Leger-Walker 40) Canterbury 65 (Lucy Brown 18; Caitlin Grice 14, 10R; Kendal Hastie 12, Tessa Stewart-Morrison 11). HT: 45-30, Tauranga 82 (Briarley Rogers 30; Makayla Daysh 25) Otago 56 (Jeanie Pattison 21).
Play-off 3rd place: Otago 76 (Jeanie Pattison 30) Canterbury 56 (Stewart-Morrison 19; Hastie 10). Grand Final: Waikato 83 (Alyssa Hirawani 29, Leger-Walker 16, 10R) Tauranga 46 (Makayla Daysh 12). HT: 38-17.
MVP: Charlesse Leger-Walker. Tournament team: Tessa Stewart-Morrison (Canterbury).