National Titles Headline Outstanding Month for Harbour Basketball
July was an incredibly successful month for Harbour Basketball both in terms of team performances and individual achievements.
A major highlight, in a month of outstanding accomplishments, was the double success our teams achieved in Wellington as both the Boys A team and Girls team won Aon Under 17 National titles. In the finals the Boys team, coached by Tony Pompallier, eased past Manawatu 102-77 and the Girls, guided by Bronwen Davidson, beat Auckland 91-76.
Both titles were based around team effort but special mention needs to be given to Mitchell Dance and Tayla Dalton voted Tournament MVP’s in their respective competitions.
Jared Thornton was named alongside Dance in the Boys Tournament Team and Jordyn Maddix accompanied Dalton in the Girls Tournament Team.
Harbour B Boys coached by Chris Simpson finished 17th and Karl Noyer’s Harbour C squad rounded out a fine season by finishing a creditable 14th. All bottom age players the C squad were not expected to even qualify for the National Championships and should benefit greatly from the experience gained this year – special mention to Campbell Atkinson and Logan Gibb for their performances.
It wasn’t quite such good news from the Aon Under 15 Nationals held in storm battered Dunedin where the Boys A team lost in the quarter-finals and the Girls A team was defeated in semi-final action.
The girls recovered well to crush Tauranga 77-40 in the bronze medal game - Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu was selected in the Tournament Team.
Liam Spencer and Tawhiao Kaitapu performed well for the A Boys as they closed out the tournament in equal seventh spot - their final day fixture against Tauranga unable to be played due to wet court conditions.
The Boys B team finished in 12th spot with Jack Donnelly and George De Felice enjoying impressive moments.
In other tournament action Harbour Breeze won the Women’s Basketball Championship Plate Trophy in Christchurch defeating Waikato in the final.
The trophy was secured despite the absence of three players away on Tall Ferns duty. Ella Fotu was in good form during the three days of the play-offs averaging 18 points per game. Katie Diakhaby was also prominent snaring 10 rebounds per outing.
As mentioned before Harbour Breeze were without their international players – Deena Franklin, Georgia Agnew and Zara Jillings all playing for the Tall Ferns at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in India - Agnew and Jillings were making their senior international debuts.
Another to make a senior international debut is Isaac Letoa who is currently playing for the Tall Blacks at the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon
A posse of Harbour hopefuls shone recently as they performed with distinction for various age group teams across the globe, many no doubt having aspirations to pull on a Tall Blacks or Tall Ferns jersey one day
Pride of place goes Letoa and Sam Waardenburg who helped the Junior Tall Blacks finish 11th at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo. Waardenburg finished with 10.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, Letoa 8.4 points and 4.6 assists per game.
Letoa’s composed performances at point guard earned him his Tall Blacks call up.
Both the NZ Men’s and Women’s teams had to settle for silver behind Australia at the FIBA Oceania U17 Championships in Guam.
Finishing second has punched both teams a ticket for the Asia Cup in 2018. Keeley Tini averaged 9.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game for the Women.
For the Men Kruz Perrott-Hunt averaged 10.2 points per outing and Peter Jenkins 3.0 points in each game.
The NZ Under 16 Men and Women attended the Australian U16 State Championships in Perth and both teams performed with distinction.
The Women were ousted in the quarter-final by eventual champions Victoria Metro but recovered to win their final two games to finish a creditable fifth. The Harbour trio of Emme Shearer (12.8ppg, 5.7rpg), Jess Moors (4.9ppg, 9.4rpg) and Jazzmyne Kailahi-Fulu (7.3ppg, 6.6rpg) all performed well.
The Men went down to Vic Metro in the 3rd/4th play-off game after being beaten in the semis by Queensland South. Reihana Maxwell-Topia had a fine tournament averaging 7.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Cian Emery and Taine Murray (7.7ppg) also performed solidly.
The NZ Under 17 Men headed to the Philippines for a tour ahead of the Asia Cup to be played later in the year. The team, that contained Harbour players Mitch Dance and Hayden Druce, won two of the four games they played.
Mention should also be given to the following Harbour coaches and administrators who played their part in the recent success of the NZ international teams:
Junior Tall Blacks – Charles Maaka (Manager)
NZ U18 Women – Jody Cameron (Head Coach), Kate Lacey (Manager)
NZ U16 Women – Justine Reed (Assistant Coach)
NZ U16 Men – Morgan Maskell (Assistant Coach)