Harbour Men finish seventh at U23 Nationals
Harbour Under 23 Men finished a seventh at the 2017 Under 23 Nationals in Porirua. The defending champions cruised through pool play before being undone by Otago going down 88-85 in a quarter-final tie.
In the opening pool game Harbour defeated local rivals Auckland 92-75. Liam Thornton was in good form scoring a game high 21 points ably supported by Jaylen Gerrand (17pts), Nick Brophy (14pts) and Denhym Brooke (13pts).
The decisive period was the second as Harbour moved from a 21-19 first quarter lead to a 48-36 half-time advantage with Gerrand, Thornton, Brooke and Ben Castle all landing triples.
Six points each in the third from Brophy and Brooke ensure there would be no way back for Auckland as Harbour led 73-52 with 10 minutes to play – cruising home in the final period.
Harbour also had four players in double figures in game two easily accounting for Tauranga 110-62.
Logan Hunt and Brooke top scored with 17 points apiece with Thornton (14pts) and Gerrand (13pts) the other key contributors.
The quarter-final tie with Otago was a tight affair but it was the Southerners that prevailed 88-85.
Harbour led for most of the contest but were run down by a fast finishing Otago.
Gerrand carried the team on his shoulders with 28 points and although he received support from Brophy (14pts), Brooke (10pts) and Thornton (9pts) it wasn’t enough to get the win.
Josh Aitcheson, recently returned from the FIBA Under 19 World Cup with the Junior Tall Blacks in Cairo was outstanding for Otago notching 25 points.
The quarter-final loss meant the team were playing for places 5-8, their first classification game being a high scoring encounter unfortunately lost 106-100 to Taranaki.
Nick Brophy (24 points) was the fulcrum of the Harbour offence in this one, receiving good support from Thornton (18 points), Brooke (16pts), Gerrand (12pts) and Ryan Mounsey (10pts).
On the final day Harbour defeated Waitakere West 102-80 to claim seventh spot. Named in the Tournament Team after averaging 19 points per game Jaylen Gerrand was once again to the fore scoring 25 points. Brooke nabbed 18 points and there were also double figure efforts from Hunt, Thornton, Brophy and Ugo Pierantoni.